Earned Value Management Interview Questions
If you’re looking to augment your team with someone who can effectively use Earned Value Management techniques? It’s important to thoroughly test their abilities during the recruitment phase so you are confident they’ll be able to do the job. Whether they’re joining your team as a project controller, a control account manager or a program manager, you need confidence that they’ll be able to use the appropriate tools and techniques.
Here are 10 Earned Value Management interview questions that you can use for hiring a fantastic candidate for your team.
Tip: If you are getting ready to be interviewed for a role that includes earned value, use these Earned Value Management interview questions as part of your prep so you’re ready for whatever the hiring manager asks!
- Tell me about your experience with Earned Value.
Start with something easy to answer! This question lets the candidate talk broadly about their past experience using EV techniques on previous projects.
Prompt them to talk about exactly what they did and how they contributed. You’re testing whether they worked hands-on with EV, or whether they simply worked in an environment where EV was used.
The depth of their past experience will help you assess their suitability for the role. It might be perfectly fine that someone has no hands-on experience but does understand the concepts. After all, if they are a good candidate in every other sense, EV can be taught.
- How do you think Earned Value contributes to the organization? Why do we do it?
This is a good question for making sure the candidate really understands the point of EV – and not simply the technical aspects. If they understand the benefits and the rationale behind doing all the work required, they should be able to talk about compliance with contract standards, accurate project tracking and forecasting, cashflow management and resource management and other benefits.
Bonus points if they can relate those concepts back to tangible examples in their previous roles.
- What role have you played in past RFP submissions where EVMS has been a requirement?
Candidates for leadership roles can talk about their past experience in preparing RFPs. Remember, not all companies want to invest a lot of time in understanding the submission requirements for the EVMS sections, preferring instead to focus on the commercial and technical aspects that help elevate their proposal above all others. They may have outsourced the EVMS part of the response.
In that case, prompt the candidate to talk about how they worked with specialist contractors to ensure the finished RFP was of a suitable standard across all sections.
Candidates for other roles may only have been involved in providing data or undertaking interviews as part of EVMS validation. However, that might be perfectly appropriate for the role, and it does show an understanding of the rigours of the RFP process.
- What would you prepare for an Integrated Baseline Review?
Experienced candidates can talk about how they got ready and supported their teams for the IBR. If they’ve worked in a company that has gone through a government audit, they’ll probably have plenty of examples to share!
You’re looking for responses that show thought-through responses and the application of lessons learned.
- Here’s an earned value management example problem. Can you work through it?
Providing examples and case studies in earned value interview settings gives you the chance to see exactly how the candidate approaches real-world problems.
For example, you could:
- Ask them to create schedule items from a control account description
- Give them a software test so they can demonstrate their skills in the tools you use
- Provide CPI, SPI and VAC figures and ask them to interpret the data.
Use the same test for every candidate and give them enough time to work through the problem – preferably while you are not in the room. It’s off-putting to have someone sitting watching you complete a test, and you might not get the best answers from candidates! If you are worried about cheating, say that an invigilator will sit quietly in the corner – but don’t try to get the candidate to do tests while being faced across the desk by two interviewers.
- What makes a high quality schedule?
Earned value is all about the quality of the schedule, so you want staff to be able to identify what a good schedule looks like. They should be able to talk about how to determine dates on the schedule, making sure there is confident and collaborative work with control account managers, identifying the critical path, having relevant milestones and resources allocated efficiently.
- How would you (or do you) communicate schedule analysis?
Earned value data can be difficult to interpret if you aren’t used to it – and many execs outside of the immediate project stakeholder community are not used to reading earned value reports.
Listen to how the candidate talks about sharing analysis in a way that makes sure it is understood. Ideally, they should talk about tailoring the communication to different audiences and making sure that any data that informs decisions is easy to understand and clear.
Schedule analysis is more than simply reporting what’s happened. A good candidate will talk about how they highlight issues flagged up by their analysis to make it easy for people to see where management attention is required.
- Tell me about a time where you’ve had to work with project managers or functional managers who don’t understand the value of EV?
Earned value can feel like a bit of a mystery to people who haven’t used it before. Many roles that use EV require the individual to work with a wide group of stakeholders – some of whom won’t have a clue about what is being asked for and why it’s needed.
That’s fine; you don’t need everyone in the business to have a deep knowledge of the inner workings of EV. But they do need to get on board with the data required, and track their projects in a way that provides that information to people who are doing the EV analysis.
This question will tell you about the candidate’s interpersonal skills and how they engage and educate people within the business.
- Can you share an example of when you’ve helped a team create an effective Work Breakdown Structure?
The WBS is a fundamental part of an integrated EVMS. This question lets the candidate talk about their facilitation skills. If they try to focus too much on the technical aspects of documenting the WBS in a tool, steer them back to how they interacted with colleagues to elicit the data in the first place. You’re listening for responses that show you this person can engage with others and successfully facilitate a discussion.
- Describe a time when you had to pick up someone else’s EV analysis or schedule. What did you do to get up to speed? What did you look for?
You’re looking for answers that show someone can act on their own initiative. They should be able to talk about taking over a project (or role within a project) and how they approach that situation. It’s a positive thing if they mention asking for help with areas where they are less experienced. It’s always good to know your personal strengths and weakness, and have the confidence to ask for support if it’s needed.
These Earned Value Management interview questions will help you prepare for interview – whether you are the hiring manager or the candidate. Good luck!