Posted by: kerrywills | March 29, 2013

Asking questions to facilitate outcomes


Beyond my spreadsheets and project plans I find that the most important tool that I use is asking questions. During the course of a week I get several escalated issues or decisions that need to get made. Team members are constantly escalating items and looking to Project Management to make decisions. The irony is that the people in the meeting, escalating the issues and asking for decisions are usually the same ones that have the answers to them. Therefore I go to these meetings, listen to the team members, and then ask questions…

  • What is the impact of the problem/issue/decision?
  • What happens if we don’t fix it/solve it?
  • Who needs to be involved in solving it?
  • What are the possible solutions?
  • When can the solution be implemented?
  • What is the impact of the solutions?
Ask the right questions for successful outcomes

The end result is that the team walks away from the meeting thanking me for helping to push the work, when in reality they are the ones who determined the answers. All I did was facilitate them. This is known in the consulting world as “looking at someone else’s watch to tell them what time it is.”

I would suggest that anyone in the Project Management profession look into strengthening their facilitation skills. This can also include observing others who are good facilitators to see their techniques and results.

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