Posted by: kerrywills | June 7, 2013

Anticipate questions

PMI states that Project Management is 80% communication so this means a lot of meetings and a lot of presentations. I find it fascinating the number of times that I am in a meeting and the presenter can’t explain the content that they are presenting, let alone respond to specific questions. PMs (and any professional for that matter) can not just go into a meeting to report on information – they need to plan and prepare for the meeting just like as if it was a small project. This includes thinking about the types of questions that will be asked and considering possible responses.

There are several examples where a PM should anticipate questions

  • Looking at the content and if there are lots of acronyms or jargon you can definitely expect someone to say “what does ABC mean?”
  • If something is yellow or red status but does not have an explanation of what is driving it to be that color
  • If a status item is at risk or has an issue but does not have a clear path to resolution with dates and action owners


The next evolution in communication planning is instead of anticipating questions, you can avoid some of them altogether. For example instead of having an answer for what “ABC means” you can spell it out and avoid that question altogether. When having detailed status bullets for items that may not be important to the audience you may want to take them out altogether to not go ‘down a rat hole’ on something that is not important. I do not mean hide information or exclude them so much as focus on what is important and do not get the audience distracted with things that are not.

While writing this blog I have already anticipated all of your questions and here are my answers…

  • Yes, I enjoy writing these postings
  • Yes, I write these postings at 4am
  • Yes, you should buy both of my books

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