Question forms part of
Project Manager Question & Answer Sheet
Other interview questions that are similar
What do you know about risk management?
What steps do you take to understand the risks within your project?
What can happen if a project does not monitor its risks?
Do you know what a RAID log is?
What the interviewer is looking for by asking this question
Bread and butter project based question this one is.
This is a question you will find in a lot of junior or graduate positions. Once you move into a more intermediate or senior project management role you can expect a lot fewer textbook questions like this. However do be prepared for the question anyway as it could be the case that the interviewer asks the question with a slight twist (e.g. “Tell me about a time risk was not adequately scoped…”).
So what is the interviewer looking for exactly here? Basically do you know your stuff. Do you understand the principles of project management and can you explain that back to the interviewer to show that you appreciate the importance of Risk Assessment and Monitoring within a project.
As simple as that.
The best approach to answering this question
As mentioned this is a fairly textbook question and should prove no issue if you have the required knowledge or qualifications. If you do not have any formal education in project management it might be worth reading the PMBOK prior to your interview just to get yourself accustomed to some of the terminology.
While this is a ‘textbook question’ that does not mean you should give a ‘textbook answer’. The best answers will expand on the textbook answer by providing your insights and backing up your answer with relevant examples from your experience.
How NOT to answer this question
Do not say you have no experience. This question is not asking you to explain your history with projects and how you have assessed and monitored risk in the past. This question can be answered easily in the hypothetical. Even if you have no experience in the subject matter at hand talk about how you would approach risk in a future project.
Do not say you do not manage risk. Whenever an interviewer asks you “How do you…”, it is never a good idea to say you don’t do what they were asking about. The interviewer is clearly asking the question in that manner as it is expected for you do what is being asked. In this instance managing risk is a fundamental part of the project management process and saying that you do not think about risk during a project will not be taken well by the interviewer.
How Do You Assess And Monitor Risk Within A Project? – Example answer
“Managing risk is one of the most important tasks that I undertake as a project manager. It is crucial to success that risks are appropriately identified, assessed and monitored throughout the project lifecycle.
In order to achieve this one of the first project artefacts that I create when forming a new project is the RAID log. Within this log I record all potential risks to the project (as identified by the project team and stakeholders).
Within the log risks are assessed as to the likelihood and severity and an appropriate plan is put in place, usually looking to reduce or eliminate the risk or to mitigate the impacts should the risk crystallise.
Within the log I include a date for review. When this date comes around the item is re-examined to determine if all the underlying logic still holds true.
I have found that the on-going monitoring of the risks is the most difficult to get people engaged with. It is easy to explain the need for the initial session but slightly more persuading is needed to get people involved in continually updating the risks.“
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