Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Questions… Projects… - my two cents

A few years back, I happened to hear a glorified programmer advising his self-proclaimed sidekick how important it is to ask lesser questions to technical stakeholders/business users about the project or technology that they are working on.

I couldn’t disagree more! He was arguing that one should ask “smart” questions and should never let the other person think we do not know anything about the business by asking "stupid" questions.

Let me put this straight - There is nothing called as a stupid question. People get annoyed only when they get repeat questions. It would make them nervous on whether you are really on top of things.

For the benefit of the developer and for the benefit of the project, one should ask as many questions as possible. I am sure that clients who want the project done successfully would love to give you the answers. Even if they don’t have it with them immediately, it would kick start the thinking process and will make them revisit the requirements.

It helps to clarify a lot of things and verifies your assumptions. I strongly believe in this – “Assumption is the mother of all mess-ups”. It is wise to put forward your assumptions and sort it out. Nothing wrong in asking something basic about the business, after all you are going to be held responsible for the project you are build, aren’t you? The client would also be expecting you to know what you are doing.

Asking a lot of questions make you smart.
Asking only smart questions could leave even you in a lot of doubt.

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