questions mcAre we there yet? What's for dinner? Have you seen my keys? These questions fill my days. When I step into the project manager role, I have another set of questions that quickly come to mind: who is your target audience, what is your need, where will this be delivered, when is your deadline, why is this important, how do you use it currently.

While these questions are vitally important to every project, I find the most successful projects have another set of questions that we ask.

1.  Who else on your team can be a resource for information? Additional resources can be critical to keeping a project on time and on budget. If a project owner is unavailable, an additional resource can quickly step in keeping the project momentum moving forward.

2.  What are some good examples? We tend to narrow our focus to what is going wrong and what behaviors or skills need change. However, if we can find ways in which knowledge, behavior or skills are already being used correctly then we can build upon that foundation making learning comprehension faster.

3.  Where would you like this material to be used? By going a step beyond the initial where will this be used, new opportunities to tailor project content and specifications may be discovered to help make a project even more effective. While projects do need to fill immediate gaps, many times for the same effort a project can surpass the initial need.

4.  When was this last addressed? History can teach us many lessons. By knowing when the project was last worked on can help you build your project plan to ensure future needs are incorporated.

5.  Why do we do this? Understanding a project in a broader context is important. Examining why this knowledge, skill or behavior is important to other elements of a company or job may highlight opportunities for a project to slightly change course in order to create bridge between other working elements. Knowing these changes at the beginning of a project can save valuable time and money in rework later.

How could this change? Being able to adapt is critical in our fast paced world. Anticipating any changes in the initial project plan is critical to success of keeping a project on task, on budget and on time.

It is easy to get the "big things" in a project: the problem, the budget and the deadline, but stopping to ask a few additional questions can ensure even greater success.

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