Asking the Right Questions as a Project Manager

Asking the right questions is the cornerstone of ensuring project success. If the right questions aren’t asked, then it is unlikely to get the information you need to make good decisions. Questions need to be asked throughout the project, not just at the beginning when outlining the project. There are many questions that come to mind to guarantee achievement on a project. At the inception of a project crucial questions are asked for various reasons. Executives, managers and team members must have key questions answered in order to even start work on the project.

Why are we doing this project? Describe the framework of the project and the justification for doing it. Are there any tactical, outfitted improvement or dogmatic reasons why this project must be done? This is the kind of information that tells stakeholders the why of the project and engages people to step up and deliver. What is the range of this project? Record the major items of work to be done on this project at a high level. Also, list the major items of work that should be excluded from this project.

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This ensures clarity around the scope and prevents incorrect assumptions about what is included in scope. What are the project deliverables? List the deliverables to be executed within the capacity of this project. Deliverables are usually tangible items such as the end result or end product of your project. For example, if you were doing a project to create a new employee benefits package the final deliverable might be the policy document. What are the potential benefits and the associated costs of this project?

Assess the benefits of this project, including things like increased revenue, customer preservation and satisfaction, internal cost-reduction, employee retention, expenses and impact on the overall budget. What are limitations and the theories associated with this project? Identify the notions and constraints that need to be taken into consideration when establishing the detailed plan. What are the major risks associated with undertaking this project at this time? Identify the potential risks with the implementation of the project.

Risks could be things like new software not being available when required, thereby delaying project implementation. How will project changes be managed? Determine and document how changes will be managed. Be sure to identify who has authority to approve changes to the project. Having this process in place will discourage unnecessary changes to the project and ensure that necessary changes are handled effectively. Leaders don’t have all the answers and no one should expect them to. There will always be questions and someone other than the leader may have the answer to them.

A leader knows when the right questions have been asked when they themselves feel confident about the outcome of the project and how their team is going to get there. Every mission, team and leader is different so questions will change based on the factors of the environment for the project. It is important to remember that there are no dim-witted questions, and if you are unsure it is best to ask. It is much easier to slow down and ask before beginning a task then doing it wrong and having to go back and start over.

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