What questions to ask for starting project managers


How to get in control when you’ve tried everything already and nothing seems to work?

Project management handbooks typically are over 500 pages. It takes about 10 years to become a senior project manager. The easy way out is asking the right questions!

The other day a friend of mine called. What to do? How to get started?


Being a project manager puts you in a leadership position. But that doesn’t imply you now are the one that needs to answer every question. More important it is that you know the right questions to ask! There are others who can give the answers you need!

Project Success

Let me tell a secret: To complete a project successfully, only 4 basic needs must be fulfilled all the time. When these basic needs go unfulfilled, your project will run into problems. And the other way around is also true. When your project runs into problems, then it is because these basic needs went unfulfilled.

4 Basic Needs

These are the 4 basic needs for completing projects successfully:

  1. There must be sufficient resources to get all the work done.
  2. There must be sufficient collaboration to align the work, overcome obstacles, and solve problems.
  3. There must be clarity for everybody about what and how.
  4. And finally, there must be adaptability because everything is going to change.

In a pyramid it looks like the Maslow Pyramid.

The task of a project manager

Your task as a project manager is to take care that the basic needs are fulfilled. Because then your project will be completed successfully. And when they go unfulfilled you run into problems.

Say for yourself, when people have the time, when they collaborate, and when everything is clear to them, completing projects and staying out of problems will be much easier.

When getting started, you’ll probably need to pay the most attention to getting clarity. The best way to get clarity is by asking questions. Question. Questions. Questions. Creating clarity is not about telling everybody, but asking everybody. They are smarter than you!

How to get in control again?

When later, during project execution your project runs into problems, it can only be that these 4 Basic Needs has gone unfulfilled. The first thing to do is to get clarity on what exactly is needed. Ask your team. They’ll know.

Free download

Asking the right questions is just common sense. But if you like to have some examples of what to ask depending on the status your project is in, or when your project starts to delay, then you may be interested to download these slides I put together for you.

It covers enough to get you started, and to get you moving again when you’ve tried everything and nothing seems to work!