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Resist the Temptation in Q & A…

Q & A is an opportunity to showcase the team’s wisdom, talent and chemistry beyond the prepared presentation.  It is not a quiz show where the aim is for the Project Manager (PM) to rack up as many personal points as possible.

The PM should field the questions and may have the capacity to answer a large majority of the questions asked.  However, the PM should resist the temptation to answer all of the questions posed because:

  1. He/she comes across looking like a control freak.
  2. He/she demonstrates little faith in the team.
  3. In a Design-Build scenario, it is important for the designers to explain the design and the builder to explain how it will be built.
  4. He/she does not have to be the expert in all things but the manager of a wealth of team expertise.

If you are, or know of a PM with a tendency to attempt to answer most questions, here are things you can do:

  1. Get a list of sample questions that have been asked in the past and for each one, identify who on the team should respond to that question.  Then share your list with the team so that you can discuss and practice.
  2. During practice, after a question is asked, have the questioner say aloud, “Play or Pass.” This will prompt the PM to make that choice before responding him/herself.
  3. Also during practice, if the PM inappropriately jumps on a question, do not let him or her attempt to complete the answer.  Stop them immediately.  Redirect them quickly so they don’t imprint in their mind that this is a question they should be answering.
  4. Practice, practice, practice.
  5. During the interview, hear the question fully and before saying a word, think to yourself “Play or pass?”

Remember, Q & A is about showcasing the Project Manager and his or her team of specialists.   A PM looks good when good people surround him or her.

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