NB: I strongly advise you to read the PMBOK before your PM interview, as it presents all the concepts you need to know about project and program management.
The tools of a project manager depend on the project phases. So, I will first tell you about these phases and then I will cover the tools.
What are the phases of a project?
The five phases of a project are:
- the initiation,
- the planning,
- the execution,
- the monitoring / controlling, and
- the closing.
In the figure below, you see an iterative project process where the project goes through several rounds of re-specification and execution before closing. For instance, first phase could be a fast track screening that permits to refine the objectives for the second phase of the project.
|Project phases (image from Wikipedia)|
The top-8 tools for project managementIf you are asked to list the tools you have used in a project, do not answer with the name of the piece of software such as Microsoft Project! The tools used vary for every phase of a project. Globally, as a project manager, you will use the following tools:
- Expert judgment: skills from inside and outside the project team, including consultants, analysts, publications...
- Facilitation techniques: brainstorming, meeting management, problem solving...
- Project management information system
- Analytic techniques
- Change control tools: to keep track of the modifications requested by the customer and if they are approved or not.
- Product analysis
- Alternative generation
If the project has complex requirements, you may also need:
All these techniques require some experience to bring full results. To understand their pro and cons, I advise you to read the PMBOK