Home » 14 Important Questions Project Managers Should Ask the Team

14 Important Questions Project Managers Should Ask the Team

project-management.com content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners.

Effective communication is at the center of successful project project management. Having a culture where information exchange is constant between you, your stakeholders, and your team is an excellent way to keep everyone on the same page.

Contrary to what many believe, project managers don’t have all the answers. So to foster a culture of collaboration, you’ll need to master the art of asking thoughtful questions and encouraging your project teams to request information when they need to as well. This is especially important when you’re working with a remote team.

Here are the important questions you and your team should be aligned with to ensure project success, broken down by project phase.

14 Important Questions Project Managers Should Ask the Team

Project Initiation Phase

The outcome of your initiation phase dictates the fate of your entire project. At this stage, communications should be directed towards understanding and addressing relevant issues for your stakeholders.

Q1: Who is the client, and what are we trying to help them achieve?

Look into your client’s business or organization. What are their business priorities, and what issues are they itching to solve? Understanding these things will give you insight into what your project’s objectives and success criteria should be.

Q2: What internal and external factors affect our client’s problem?

Do your homework and study your client’s problem comprehensively. Gather data and conduct interviews if needed. Projects rarely exist in a bubble. Diving into this early can help you manage expectations and anticipate factors that may affect your project’s effectiveness.

Read more: How to Successfully Host a Project Kickoff Meeting

Project Planning Phase

Once expectations are clear, the planning phase helps ensure you and your team have all the necessary skills, resources, and knowledge to achieve them.

Q3: Do we have existing skill sets and resources that can help us with this project?

To maximize existing resources, check for projects or research your clients may have done in the past. Check existing skill sets from your team as well. Do you have seasoned members with insight and experience on certain aspects of your project? Inventorying what’s available to you can help you avoid redundant and unnecessary tasks moving forward.

Q4: What parts of the plan and estimates are we confident and not confident about?

Data points are more important than feelings, but you shouldn’t completely discount what your gut is telling you and your team. Taking the initiative to encourage transparency at this juncture builds trust in your approach, and with each other.

Q5: What is your comfort level on our planned workflow and communication channels?

Communication and alignment with your team throughout the following stages will be crucial. But before you iron out your communication plan, ensure that you get everyone’s buy-in. The last thing you want is for them to hold a grudge every time you call them in on meetings.

Q6: What are the worst-case scenarios we might have to anticipate and prepare for?

Be sure to consider contingencies when planning. Things rarely go as planned. And the bigger your project is, the more blockers are likely to show up.

Read more: Best Project Management Software for 2021

Project Execution Phase

As you start doing the dirty work of project management, stay on top of new and relevant information that comes up. This will help you foresee issues and spot opportunities for improvement.

Q7: Did you encounter anything unexpected you’d like to share with the team?

Unexpected situations can either be beneficial or detrimental to your success. Encourage your team to bring new findings and experiences to light. This will help you assess how you can manage them, or use them to your advantage.

Q8: How are you feeling?

When the going gets tough, it’s normal to start zeroing in on the looming deadlines and increasing pressure. But as a project manager, you’ll need to exert a conscious effort to check on your team. Remember that you’re working with people. The success of your project is entirely dependent on them.

Q9: What are your recent wins?

While it’s essential to address problems, it’s equally vital to affirm accomplishments. Recognize successful deliverables and milestones. Acknowledge team members who have done exceptional work. This can be a good incentive for them to maintain their performance and encourage others to follow suit.

Read more: What Are Milestones in Project Management?

Project Monitoring & Control Phase

Q10: Are we on track?

While your team is hard at work, keep track of their progress to evaluate if you’re using your time and resources wisely. Everyone will be focused on their respective roles, so it will be important for you to keep tabs on the bigger picture.

Q11: What support or additional resources do we need?

As you discover friction points in your work and processes, encourage your team to be vocal if they need additional support or resources. Odd as it may seem, asking for assistance isn’t always the first instinct. Normalizing this can go a long way in building a culture of open communication and collaboration.

Q12: How will the new requests affect the success, scope, and timeline?

Change requests might come as situations change. Before injecting them into your plans, evaluate the effort that it will require and compare it with the impact you’re expecting it to contribute to see if it’s worth doing. It’s your job to stop scope creep.

Read more: Deliverables in Project Management

Project Phase

Q13: What did we do well? What did we not do well? What can we improve?

Taking the time to regroup and evaluate how you took on your project is an excellent way to recognize accomplishments, address issues, learn from experience, and strategize for improvement.

Q14: What impact did our project contribute to our client’s goals?

Do an objective assessment of your project’s success. Did you meet all your project objectives? How did achieving them improve your client’s business and organization? Affirm your project team members’ efforts by helping them see how their work has helped an important cause.

As a project manager, making sure that your team communicates is one of your core responsibilities. Asking questions will require leadership skills, patience, tact, and humility. But done right, it can have massive effect in fostering a healthy culture that will pave the way to project management success.

Read next: What Are Lessons Learned in Project Management?

Featured Partners: Project Management Software

1 Wrike

Visit website

Wrike is the most powerful work management platform on the market, enabling teams to plan projects and collaborate in real time. Our award-winning software is trusted by 20,000+ companies across the globe, including Sony, Estée Lauder, and Siemens.

Wrike’s customizable features include Gantt charts, request forms, dashboards, cross-tagging, time tracking, and proofing. Integrate with 400+ apps from the likes of Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce. Automate repetitive tasks and achieve 50% faster planning. Work from anywhere with 100% access to your files via our mobile and desktop apps.

Whether you’re a small startup or an established brand, Wrike has the solution for you. Paid plans start at $9.80/user/month. Join our community of 2.3 million — start your free two-week trial today.

Learn more about Wrike

2 monday.com

Visit website

monday.com Work OS is an award-winning no-code work management platform that helps teams manage projects and workflows more efficiently.

Used by 152,000+ customers worldwide, this fully customizable software lets you plan, manage, and track every project in one place. monday.com offers time-saving and easy-to-use features such as automations, time tracking, document sharing, and real-time collaboration. Multiple board views such as Gantt and Kanban help you structure and navigate tasks and projects the way you prefer, and dashboards give a high-level overview of your progress.

In addition, integrations with apps such as Outlook, Microsoft Teams, Gmail, and Excel, allow you to easily continue working with your favorite tools from within the platform. monday.com also offers dedicated solutions, such as monday dev and monday sales CRM, designed to answer the needs of specific industries.

Learn more about monday.com

3 Smartsheet

Visit website

Smartsheet is a leading work execution platform that has real-time work management features, collaboration and automation tools. Users are presented with a familiar and easy-to-use spreadsheet-like interface. However, it has enterprise-grade capabilities that even Fortune 500 companies like Cisco, Bayer, HP, and PayPal are confident to adopt in their business. Strong project management features enable teams to utilize different views of real-time data, and switch easily from Gantt, card, grid and calendar views. Smartsheet has automatic update requests, and can be used for waterfall and agile projects, product launch, sprint planning, and more. The resource management feature provides users the visibility who is busy, and who is not, in real-time. They can also attach files, share sheets, get notified, view the activity log, export, email, and print.

Learn more about Smartsheet

Share Article

Hannah Donato Avatar