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Topics: Communications Management, Leadership, Talent Management
Ask or Answer?
When relating to your team members, which strategy is most appropriate?
- Ask questions "forcing" team members to find answers and / or solutions?
- Give answers and indicate solutions according to what you consider most appropriate?
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Nov 18, 2019 8:36 AM
Replying to Abolfazl Yousefi Darestani
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It depends. Both may apply.
Dear Abolfazl
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Can you share your point of view with us?

That is, under what circumstances to ask questions and under what circumstances to provide answers?
Good question. To me, the answer to everything PM is "it depends". How much time do you have to make a decision/answer? Is the decision/answer already a given (meaning that someone already knows the answer? I tend to really like the collaborative nature of questioning an giving open-ended questions. By asking forcing questions, they might be phrased in a way that you are biasing the answer.

Depending on how time critical the solution is, I have also just stated what we are doing to do and why.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 19, 2019 12:03 PM
Luis Branco
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Dear Valerie
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Generally speaking (regardless of whether we know the best solution) which approach do you consider most appropriate?
Ask or Answer?
Nov 19, 2019 11:29 AM
Replying to Valerie Denney
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Good question. To me, the answer to everything PM is "it depends". How much time do you have to make a decision/answer? Is the decision/answer already a given (meaning that someone already knows the answer? I tend to really like the collaborative nature of questioning an giving open-ended questions. By asking forcing questions, they might be phrased in a way that you are biasing the answer.

Depending on how time critical the solution is, I have also just stated what we are doing to do and why.
Dear Valerie
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Generally speaking (regardless of whether we know the best solution) which approach do you consider most appropriate?
Ask or Answer?
...
1 reply by Valerie Denney
Nov 19, 2019 2:48 PM
Valerie Denney
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In a single word.... ask
Nov 19, 2019 12:03 PM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Valerie
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Generally speaking (regardless of whether we know the best solution) which approach do you consider most appropriate?
Ask or Answer?
In a single word.... ask
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 19, 2019 3:10 PM
Luis Branco
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Dear Valerie
Thanks for your opinion, I will say, interesting opinion
Nov 19, 2019 2:48 PM
Replying to Valerie Denney
...
In a single word.... ask
Dear Valerie
Thanks for your opinion, I will say, interesting opinion
Sometimes, just sometimes, teams are need of the gentle nudge to get communications, ideas and solutions flowing. In my experience, I have found it weirdly helpful to suggest something banal, off-beat or even completely wrong which opens the door to people talking; either because it loosens the tension, or because it provides them with an opportunity to share their thoughts. In the process, it helps support or re-inforce my own knowledge, and/or educate me further on a topic. Another tactic I like to use is to ask "what would you do if you were me (or the customer) (or the boss)?" The question helps take the team out of their security zone, and put them into the position of potentially being the receipient of their own advice or solution.
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1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 20, 2019 3:41 PM
Luis Branco
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Dear Melissa
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Very interesting the exercise proposal: "What if you were the customer?" "What if you were your boss?"

How have you been with these questions?
Nov 20, 2019 3:17 PM
Replying to Melissa Antoniano
...
Sometimes, just sometimes, teams are need of the gentle nudge to get communications, ideas and solutions flowing. In my experience, I have found it weirdly helpful to suggest something banal, off-beat or even completely wrong which opens the door to people talking; either because it loosens the tension, or because it provides them with an opportunity to share their thoughts. In the process, it helps support or re-inforce my own knowledge, and/or educate me further on a topic. Another tactic I like to use is to ask "what would you do if you were me (or the customer) (or the boss)?" The question helps take the team out of their security zone, and put them into the position of potentially being the receipient of their own advice or solution.
Dear Melissa
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Very interesting the exercise proposal: "What if you were the customer?" "What if you were your boss?"

How have you been with these questions?
...
1 reply by Melissa Antoniano
Nov 21, 2019 10:07 AM
Melissa Antoniano
...
Thank you Luis. Asking the questions does provide mixed results of course! When asking the team what they would do if they were their own boss typically results in answers such as "allow me to focus only on project, provide me with specific tools, etc" which is great feedback for the management team and speaks to the quality the team wants to provide on the project. Asking them to think from the customer's side allows them to see what actions they are taking would have an effect (positive or negative) as a user, and therefore perhaps streamline or innovate a new method that is more graceful to the user. Asking what they'd do if they were me typically results in the humorous responses like "Run!" :) But in the asking they realize that I'm a good resource for them in that I can take their concerns and incorporate their answers and use that as a guideline to help us all take the next step. The point of it is to give them a chance to vent, play off each others thoughts, and be part of the decision for the solution.

As a personal aside, I used this tactic when my son and fiancee where planning their wedding. They were all over the place on what they wanted to do, where, when, etc etc. and just couldn't seem to stop spinning with their plans. I started making suggestions about venues, foods, decorations and such and each time they answered "no". That exercise helped them realize what they really wanted for their wedding, and made the rest of the party planning simple. Regards,
Nov 20, 2019 3:41 PM
Replying to Luis Branco
...
Dear Melissa
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Very interesting the exercise proposal: "What if you were the customer?" "What if you were your boss?"

How have you been with these questions?
Thank you Luis. Asking the questions does provide mixed results of course! When asking the team what they would do if they were their own boss typically results in answers such as "allow me to focus only on project, provide me with specific tools, etc" which is great feedback for the management team and speaks to the quality the team wants to provide on the project. Asking them to think from the customer's side allows them to see what actions they are taking would have an effect (positive or negative) as a user, and therefore perhaps streamline or innovate a new method that is more graceful to the user. Asking what they'd do if they were me typically results in the humorous responses like "Run!" :) But in the asking they realize that I'm a good resource for them in that I can take their concerns and incorporate their answers and use that as a guideline to help us all take the next step. The point of it is to give them a chance to vent, play off each others thoughts, and be part of the decision for the solution.

As a personal aside, I used this tactic when my son and fiancee where planning their wedding. They were all over the place on what they wanted to do, where, when, etc etc. and just couldn't seem to stop spinning with their plans. I started making suggestions about venues, foods, decorations and such and each time they answered "no". That exercise helped them realize what they really wanted for their wedding, and made the rest of the party planning simple. Regards,
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Nov 21, 2019 10:36 AM
Luis Branco
...
Dear Melissa
Thank you for such an interesting comment.
It will certainly contribute to our future approaches to working with our project teams.
Nov 21, 2019 10:07 AM
Replying to Melissa Antoniano
...
Thank you Luis. Asking the questions does provide mixed results of course! When asking the team what they would do if they were their own boss typically results in answers such as "allow me to focus only on project, provide me with specific tools, etc" which is great feedback for the management team and speaks to the quality the team wants to provide on the project. Asking them to think from the customer's side allows them to see what actions they are taking would have an effect (positive or negative) as a user, and therefore perhaps streamline or innovate a new method that is more graceful to the user. Asking what they'd do if they were me typically results in the humorous responses like "Run!" :) But in the asking they realize that I'm a good resource for them in that I can take their concerns and incorporate their answers and use that as a guideline to help us all take the next step. The point of it is to give them a chance to vent, play off each others thoughts, and be part of the decision for the solution.

As a personal aside, I used this tactic when my son and fiancee where planning their wedding. They were all over the place on what they wanted to do, where, when, etc etc. and just couldn't seem to stop spinning with their plans. I started making suggestions about venues, foods, decorations and such and each time they answered "no". That exercise helped them realize what they really wanted for their wedding, and made the rest of the party planning simple. Regards,
Dear Melissa
Thank you for such an interesting comment.
It will certainly contribute to our future approaches to working with our project teams.
...
1 reply by Melissa Antoniano
Nov 21, 2019 9:21 PM
Melissa Antoniano
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And so now Luis, I turn the question to you. How do you manage this situation... as if you are the team member, customer, PM, manager? I'm very interested. :)
Hi Luis,
In my opinion, you should work with the team and promote their contribution to find the best decision, instead of giving instructions or forcing the team to find the answers you have in mind.
I like to suggest an action and get the assignee's feedback because it also helps me to identify risks and opportunities as well. I get the chance to make a more informed decision and also more commitment from the assignee.
Of course you will always have to consider the culture and personalities within the team, but my impression is that most of the times is possible to find a way to bring the different interests towards the same purpose.
...
1 reply by Luis Branco
Dec 27, 2019 12:12 PM
Luis Branco
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Dear Tiago
Thank you for participating in this reflection and for your opinion.

Very interesting what he wrote: "Of course you will always have to consider the culture and personalities within the team, but my impression is that most of the times is possible to find a way to bring the different interests towards the same purpose."

I take the opportunity to wish your year 2020 to bring everything you wish
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