Questions every project manager should ask at the beginning of a project

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Posted on Friday, 19th January, 2018 - 12:16

You are at a presentation for a new project your company is going to start. Many slides have passed by and some people at the meeting are just nodding along. When the meeting finishes, you don’t fully understand what your potential responsibilities for this new project are and how it will affect you or the company.

This is when a good project manager jumps in. You have to be the person asking all the questions. Being proactive is a great way to make a good impression with your superiors and will, potentially, land you the opportunity to manage your own project in the near future.

At PMQ, we have listed 10 questions every great project manager should ask at the beginning of any project.

  1. What is the goal of the project?

The goal of any project is to achieve the desired outcome. The outcome has to be clearly and concisely defined, with a specific end date and resource amount. The goal will also help you devise a strategy to ensure that you meet the goal you’ve set up.

  1. What’s the budget for the project?

This is a very simple, yet complicated question. How much money are you going to need to successfully deliver the project? You will also need to identify and secure all the equipment, facilities, services, supplies and funds that you need for your project.

  1. When does it need to be completed?

Basically it means when your manager or your client wants the project to be finalised and delivered. Deadlines are important, as they will help you organise your tasks and meet your goals.

  1. What are the project milestones?

It might seem simple and obvious, but it is a very important element. Know your schedule and make sure you stick with it while maintaining some flexibility. Have the project final deadline as a guide, but take in consideration that it can always change. Also, anticipate any possible setbacks when setting a date: that way, if everything runs smoothly, you and your team can dedicate your time to fine-tuning the project.

  1. How are you going to define the success of the project?

The success criteria are the standards by which the project is going to be judged at the end to decide how successful it was. You will need to identify what success looks like for you and the stakeholders.

  1. What will make the project successful?

Setting goals with your client will help you determine what will make the project a success. Simple questions can help set your team for success within the schedule, budget and satisfying the key stakeholders.

  1. Who are the key stakeholders of the project?

Identify who you need to report to, who is relevant to the project. These people tend to be: managers, clients and team members.

  1. Who else needs to be involved with the project?

Knowing who will perform each task and how much effort they will have to put in. This will allow you to plan their availability and estimate the overall time and budget for the project.

  1. What are the main risks of the project?

We all want to complete a successful project, but that doesn’t always happen. You will need to measure the outcome of the project, whether it means increased sales, physical deliveries or something else. You will need to develop an honest assessment of your project’s impact on the organisation as whole.

  1. Who will be the main point of contact?

As a project manager, you will be the main point of contact. You will serve as the primary liaison with both your team and your client when they have a question. You will also be responsible for reporting to the client and managers and giving the up-to-date information to your team.

These 10 questions will help you get the project information you need. So, what questions do you feel are the most important to ask a project manager?

If you are looking to become a project manager, the ILX  group offers training on all the programmes relevant for the role and with 30 years of experience,  they are the  market leaders for learning and consulting solutions within the project management sector.  ILX offer online and face-to-face courses with teachers who have years of experience in teaching and on the field they are training.

For more information about how to become a certified project manager click here or call us on +44 1270 611 600 to request a quote.