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Avanade Interview
Questions

30 Questions and Answers by Kelly Burlison

Published February 6th, 2019 | Kelly Burlison, MPH, is an experienced professional
with over ten years of experience interviewing in the health care field.
Question 1 of 30
What strategies do you use in preparing for and mitigating risk in the project management process?
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How to Answer
In project management, it is important to monitor risk and develop risk mitigation strategies throughout the project lifecycle. Preparation for risk begins in the project development phase and continues as the project is executed. There are many ways to mitigate risk throughout the lifecycle of a project, including but not limited to: clarifying project scope, assembling the appropriate project team, assessing project feasibility, maintaining open lines of communication, ensuring the project plan is followed, and developing contingency plans. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how well the candidate can articulate their ability to prepare for and mitigate risk in a project, which will effectively determine how well their assets will be protected through the project management process at Avanade. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should provide a specific method that they use to prepare for and mitigate risk and integrating a specific example from their professional experience can strengthen their response.
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1.
What strategies do you use in preparing for and mitigating risk in the project management process?
In project management, it is important to monitor risk and develop risk mitigation strategies throughout the project lifecycle. Preparation for risk begins in the project development phase and continues as the project is executed. There are many ways to mitigate risk throughout the lifecycle of a project, including but not limited to: clarifying project scope, assembling the appropriate project team, assessing project feasibility, maintaining open lines of communication, ensuring the project plan is followed, and developing contingency plans. The interviewer is asking this question to determine how well the candidate can articulate their ability to prepare for and mitigate risk in a project, which will effectively determine how well their assets will be protected through the project management process at Avanade. To successfully answer this question, the candidate should provide a specific method that they use to prepare for and mitigate risk and integrating a specific example from their professional experience can strengthen their response.

Kelly's Answer #1
"Identifying potential risk and developing mitigation strategies is something I am always sure to do when first assigned a project, and I continuously analyze risk during the project lifecycle to ensure that no additional mitigation strategies need to be developed or executed. While I have used various risk mitigation strategies over the years, the strategies I find myself using the most, and what I find most successful in mitigating risk, is assessing project feasibility and developing contingency plans. I feel that the feasibility study is an extremely important risk mitigation strategy, as it allows me to identify issues in the project scope early in the process, before too many resources have been invested; and contingency plans are extremely helpful because when something starts to go wrong in the project, I usually already have the risk and solution identified, so not much additional time is lost. Since I have been so successful using these risk mitigation strategies in my career, I will be able to continue to use them to successfully manage projects at Avanade."
Kelly's Answer #2
"I just worked on an IT informatics project where I had to use multiple risk mitigation strategies, in order to keep the timeline, budget, and deliverables on track. When I first received the project from my PMO, the requirements of the project were not particularly clear, so instead of proceeding with defining the scope on the ambiguous direction I received, I scheduled a meeting with project leadership to clarify project requirements so I could adequately define the scope of the project. However, once the scope was defined based on clarified project requirements, I realized the project team I was initially assigned by the PMO did not include individuals with the correct skill sets. Instead of proceeding with the team I was initially assigned, and completing project tasks using best efforts, I outlined the skill sets needed and approached the PMO with the rationale for why I needed different individuals on the project team, and the team was reassigned based on the rationale I provided. Because I used these risk mitigation approaches, the project is now running smoothly, and we are meeting our weekly tasks deliverables on schedule."
2.
How do you assess a clients' current technology systems and solutions?
Walk the interviewer through your process when it comes to discovering, and correctly assessing, the tech systems in place, when you take on a new client. Show that you have a process in place, are methodical, and use logic when making assessments.

Kelly's Answer #1
"The first step that I take when assessing a clients' current technology is to poll the existing employees, asking them to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their existing hardware and software. I ask them if the technology currently affects their workflow, and which issues they identify on a regular basis. Next, if the conclusion shows that a new system is needed, I put into consideration the financial resources of the client, as well as the available timeframe. Then, I consider the tech options, weighing the pros and cons of each. Is this similar to the processes in place at Avanade?"
Kelly's Answer #2
"Step one is always to assess what is existing, and what is working just fine. This information usually comes from polling the current employees and spending a few days in their offices to try the tech in person. Then, I tap into the support services offered by the current tech providers. If a solution is not workable from there, I will create a list of the items we need to change and start researching the best viable options."
3.
How can Avanade motivate you on the job?
Every employer should know how each staff member is best motivated. Talk to the interviewer about the variety of ways in which you find motivation on the job.

Kelly's Answer #1
"I am best motivated through words of praise and recognition for a job well done. I do like to know that my efforts are noticed. In my current position, we have a leaderboard and I do like that concept because it creates a healthy bit of personal competition for me as well."
Kelly's Answer #2
"I am very much self-driven and self-motivated. As long as I am being treated with respect and feel appreciated, you will get the best work from me."
4.
Have you ever created a user manual or book of operational procedures?
Creating a user manual, or operational book takes a high level of industry knowledge, technical writing skills, and a great deal of vision and organization. If you have created documents of this sort, it's a great idea to bring them with you to your interview, to show the hiring authority your work first hand. If you do not have experience, perhaps you have contributed to a similar project. Or, maybe you have taken a technical writing course, helping you to feel confident that you can take on a task such as this.

Kelly's Answer #1
"I have created three manuals in the past. One was for my internal team, as a reference guide related to processes and operational procedures. The second, was a troubleshooting shortcut document for my client, after a major tech implementation. The third was related to resources and tools for my clients and their employees to utilize at their discretion. I enjoy technical writing and found these projects to be very satisfying."
Kelly's Answer #2
"I have not directly created any user manuals or operational procedure books; however, I have contributed to a couple of client manuals that my supervisor created. I helped to research the data that she included, and I also performed some proofreading tasks."
5.
The way we approach clients in our business is we identify client needs and recommend solutions to their needs. Tell me about a time when your knowledge and expertise allowed you to make a recommendation to resolve a problem or address a pain point?
The is a classic example of the hiring manager asking you to role play your response. The way it works is the hiring manager asks you to role play as the consultant, and he/she is the client who asks you to give them a pitch about why your company is a firm that they need to work with. There are a few ways to make this role play work in your favor. Here are a few examples you can use in a response. 1. Act as a problem solving adviser that can find and recommend solutions quickly, 2. Tell the client they have accessibility to you and other team members as needed, 3. Point out the benefits that they will get when they hire your company, 4. Share some examples of successes from companies of a similar industry, size or market.

Kelly's Answer #1
"I've been a firm believer that the customer is always our highest priority and that I need to be the eyes and ears of the customer. With that said, there some examples I can share that will hopefully resonate with you. I typically ask what solutions have been proposed in the past, and how they have worked. Are there metrics to track the success or failure of past efforts? Having data to review helps me understand the process and approach previously used. Knowing the team makeup, and what methodology they used will also give me a deeper insight into what they were thinking. I like to conduct a voice of the customer survey, which I believe adds tremendous value to this campaign. Lastly, it's important for me to analyze the cause & effect relationships from the customer surveys, because It reveals a lot of underlying issues like task failures, root cause problems, and how good or bad the data is."
Kelly's Answer #2
"My recommendations would be based on what the customer wants and how well they articulated the deliverable. If, for example, the client wanted something that resembles a ketchup bottle, but the team delivered a salt shaker, that would indicate a miscommunication of what the client requested. My approach would be to closely dissect the customer requirements, then build a mock-up of what they requested, and have them review for approval before going to the next phase of development. After this phase is approved, I would do testing and debugging before presenting it to the customer. Mapping the customer journey is a visualization process a customer goes through and tracks each step along the way with the vendor, so everyone is on the same page."
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