Giving answers and suggestions is very tempting especially when you join a team temporarily as there is obvious time constraint and normally you are there for a reason. Answers can be easily misunderstood because of established behavior, knowledge and etc.
I prefer questions first and typically focus on a couple of areas:
- How do you make decisions?
- What are your dependencies?
- How do you deliver?
- What ?
Why these questions?
Question #1 leads to a conversation who decides what to do (business, technical), how critical situations are solved if any, what information or KPIs decisions are based on.
Question #2 leads to understanding roadblocks: technical, organizational, business, knowledge
Question #3 gives an understanding of current team’s process, how the plan, how/if collect feedback, how they deploy, ensure quality and etc.
Question #4 leads to a conversation about end users and what services/products/components are delivered to them.
– What are your responsibilities?
– Who are your stakeholders? What techniques would you use to balance to balance out needs?
– How these are different: urgent and important?
– How will you roll out in Thailand?
– How and what to measure?
– What is success?
– What is value?
– How to ensure quality of a product?
– With whom and how are you going to communicate about the product?
– What is mutual-dependency? Why it is important in a development of a big product?
– Problem statement and Feature. What is the difference?
There are tons of books where you can read about power of questions – how they are important, how they can help. Questions are powerful for following reasons:
- demand answers
- stimulate thinking
- give us valuable information
- put us in control
- get people to open up
- lead to quality listening
- get people to sell themselves
Questions also allow you to challenge the status quo and challenge the team. That’s why it is so widely used in Retrospectives by Scrum Masters.
Judge a man by his questions rather than his answers. ~ Voltaire
But wait… But should you really question everything? Isn’t there a risk to reach highest level of absurd? “Asking Questions” is the most powerful tool to encourage, challenge and affect people. Be careful!
What would be you answers to these questions if you colleague would ask you?
- What decisions are difficult for you?
- Do you have enough information?
- What’s going well?
- What’s not going well?
- What do you want me to do more of?
- What do you want me to do less of?
Here are some questions that keep bothering me:
- Do you need managers or management?
- Do you need testers or testing?
- Do you need technical writer or documentation?
- Do you need process or solution?
- Do you need support tester or feedback from clients?
Decisions really depend on answers. And we often fall into creating a bottleneck…