20+ Interview Questions for a Planning Engineer

planning engineering interview questions
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Most Asked Interview Question For a Planning

what kind of questions a planning engineer has to face in an interview Listed Below

Question-1: What is a Base Project Schedule?

Answer: A baseline is an approved program by both parties which is used as a benchmark to measure the progress of a project.

Question-2: What is the Main Driver of a Project and how you will get it?

Answer: The main driver consists of the significant activities that are driving the project on the critical path. To get it just go to the last activity and check its driving activity, then go to that driving activity and mark its driving also, the same goes until you reach the first activity. This is typically 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 a minimum one project baseline & that number can go to unlimited. But if you find a number of baselines that means the planning team is quite inefficient – Avoid it! The latest baseline defines the success or failure of any project.

Question-4: What are the Key Performance Indicators – KPI’s?

Answer: A KPI is a type of performance measurement on a particular activity where engaged. KPI’s are defined by keeping a factor “What matters the most”. A careful study and analysis are required to define because it differs from organization to organization like a critical KPI for you may not be of any interest to other same type organizations. 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 rate 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 the 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 that 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 – the amount of time we can delay an activity without affecting the early start date of its successor activity. Total Float – the amount of time we can delay an activity from its early start date without delaying the whole project finish.

The free float may affect the start of any activity but total float may affect the duration of the overall project.

Question-9: What is the difference between Change order & Variation order Request?

Answer: Technically there is no such difference. Change order or Variation request is a change in scope from the contract but as per contract. If you are much curious about 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 it. Everywhere they write a Change Order Request.

Question-10: How to measure the 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 many clients also prefer through Cost The quantity we use where we need to track material availability like in rubber lining of steel tanks, coatings project, etc. By the way, sometimes we have to use all three methods on a single project to get more intensive project updated status.

Question-11: Have you heard about the Kick of Meeting?

Answer: Yes, I have handled a number of Kick of Meetings on different projects & companies.  the kick-off meeting is normally the first meeting of all major Stakeholders including the Project Manager with his team and Owner’s representatives. Here, we discuss high-level overall plans, things like how we are going to execute and once things get clearer as project go forward then we do rolling wave planning. These meetings can be conducted at the new phase that starts during the execution of the project also.

You can read more about the Project Kick-Off Meeting

Question-12: What certification & qualification you have?

Answer: I am a Project Management Professional- PMP certified from Project Management Institute – PMI. I am a Graduate Engineer & perusing a Master’s in Project Management.

Question-13: Do you know about CPI?

Answer: Yes, it’s a Cost Performance Indicator and it evaluates the performance in the sense if the project is under-budget, over-budgeted or on track. The formula is for CPI is the ratio of earned value – EV over actual costs – AC that is CPI =EV/AC

You can read more here Earned Value Management

Question-14: What do you know about SPI?

Answer: It is the Schedule Performance Indicator and indicates the performance of project work is completed to the baseline schedule. It is calculated by dividing the earned value by the planned value that is SPI = EV/PV

Question-15: What you know about Triple Constraints?

Answer: Cost, Time and Scope with quality as the fundamental theme.

Question-16: What are undesirable in any plan?

Answer: Constraints, SF (Start to Finish) relationship, Long lags or leads, Negative Float, etc.

Question-17: How to avoid Negative Float in a Baseline Schedule?

Answer: Negative float indicates that the activity is already delayed. Normally, a constraint is the culprit of it. Remove all the constraints or use proper logic -relationships to deal with it.  Also, check dangling or out of sequence activities.

During updating a schedule, a negative float for some activities is very common. You cannot avoid it unless is going as planned.

Question-18: If you are reported 5 SPI, what it means? – Real Question was Asked to me!

Answer: They planner has made a blunder during calculations.

Question-19: What is an S Curve?

Answer: Graphical representation of ‘anything’ like Manhours, Cost, etc. plotted against time.

Question-20: What do you know about the Reflection Schedule?

Answer: Reflection function is always underestimated but it is a really great feature in Primavera P6 Professional.  A Reflection program is just a copy of the program to have a look at different scenarios after making desirable changes. Once satisfied just merge in the native program.

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