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Topics: Information Technology, Scheduling
PM Interview question - Schedule
During IT PM interview you are asked the following question:

How do you plan your schedule for example to install 100 modems on top of 100 poles?

How would you respond?
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I think you'd start by determining the appropriate life cycle approach based on the project context as that would dictate the scheduling approach.

First of all, if you need the job, I will make research about the place and what they are working for. After that, I will decide if I will answer what they will expect as an answer or not. In my case, I always answer what I firmly believe on the matter and I can demonstrate why but I was somebody without job too. In this case, forgetting about my prologue, the situation, my answer will be : Finding the right people who will help me working as subject matter experts.
The way the question is formulated seems to indicate that they would like to hear PM jargon like parametric or analogous estimation. Thus, a potential answer could be to estimate the effort and duration of one of these one hundred, and plan the sequencing of all 100 depending on resource availability and budgetary constraints.

I think that the right answer has to prove that you are acquainted with the basic concepts of project scheduling.
What are the project objectives? Time effective? Cost effective? Quality effective? Is there a delivery date? Are the installations to be integrated on completion or independently functional? Why do the modems have to be on poles? Why not existing structures?

There are 100 more questions before an answer becomes available, let alone valid.
The answer is to approach it like every other project. Find out everything that is currently known about the project. Find out who is the SME. Ask SME for a resource (it may be the SME or another team member) to help you breakdown the tasks that will be required. Do the WBS to get a feel for the work so you can forecast. Find out if you need to procure? Start building a charter and meet with key stakeholders to find out what they expect to have delivered. The basic answer in my thinking is you begin the same way you would for any project.

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- Groucho Marx



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