Interview Questions for a Planning Engineer - Part I
Interview Questions for a Planning Engineer contain versatility of information regarding all the project management fields.
Question 1: What is a Base Project Schedule?
Answer: A baseline is an approved program by both parties which is used as a bench mark to measure progress of a project.
Question 2: What is a Main Driver of a Project and how you will get it?
Answer: A main driver consist of the major activities that are driving the project at critical path. To get it just go to last activity and check its driving activity, then go to that driving activity and mark its driving also, same goes until you reach the first activity. This is normally done through scheduling software like Primavera P6, Microsoft Project etc.
Question 3: How many baselines are allowed in any project and which baseline decides the success or failure of the project?
Answer: A project must have minimum one project baseline & that number can go to unlimited. But if you find more number of baselines that means the planning team is quite inefficient – Avoid it! The latest baseline defines the success & failure of any project.
Question 4: What are the Key Performance Indicators – KPI’s?
Answer: A KPI is type performance measurement on a particular activity where engaged. KPI’s are defined by keeping a factor “What matter the most”. A careful study and analysis is required to define because it differs from organization to organization like a critical KPI for you may not be of nay interest of other same type organization. It is really a diverse area. Examples Rubber lining, Concrete Work, Machine Failures in a Specific Duration, Plantation, Number of hiring/firings, Training etc. etc.
Question 5: What you normally need to develop a plan?
Answer: I need the Contract documents to understand the scope, the schedule drawings to know about areas, Bill of Quantity-BOQ including cost, scheduling software access. Yes, I need to meet my project team to know about a little productivity rates if I don’t know in case of any specific activity.
Question 6: How do you define a critical path?
Answer: The longest path & the minimum time required to complete a project. A combination of activities with total float as zero are included all.
Question 7: How much duration a milestone activity normally has?
Answer: Well, there are different types of milestones are there like start milestone, finish milestone etc. but all have ZERO duration.
Question 8: What is the difference between Free Float & Total Float?
Answer: Free Float – amount of time we can delay an activity without effecting the early start date of its successor activity. Total Float – amount of time we can delay an activity from its early start date without delaying the whole project finish.
Free float may affect the start of any activity but total float may affect the duration of overall project.
Question 9: What is the difference between Change order & Variation order Request?
Answer: Technically there is no such a difference. Change order or Variation request is a change in scope from contract but as per contract. If you are much curious which term should be used the better refer your contract documents. Personally, I have heard the term Variation Order but never seen any documentation for. Everywhere they write a Change Order Request.
Question 10: How to measure progress of a project?
Answer: Normally there are three ways to measure the progress 1)-Man-hours, 2)-Cost & 3)-Quantity
My preferred method is through Man-hours as It is more logical but I have to comply as per contractual obligations as most of the companies prefer through Cost.
By the way, sometimes we have to use all three methods on a single project to get more intensive project updated status.