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A group has been working together for a month. During the daily meetings, one team member continues to report problems completing his/her tasks. What should a project manager do?

A: Start discussions with all team members to help resolve these issues.

B: Wait for the team to independently discover and fix the problem.

The question's answer is B.

Why is the answer not A? I think one of the PM's roles is to help resolve problems.

2 Answers 2

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The proper intervention by a PM depends on a lot of variables that are absent in your question. Several variables that come to mind are 1) how new is the team; 2) how long has this person been struggling with the problem; and 3) is the team conflict-filled?

A more important role for a PM than facilitating problem-solving is getting your team to behave in a mature, high-performing way. That involves letting your team struggle a bit but then intervening when necessary. Think of the stages of teaming: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Teams at the last two stages ought to be able to resolve the issue with little to no intervention by the PM and that is the real solution you want and likely the reason the answer is B for this question. To get to B, I agree with your confusion because you have to use a lot of assumptions. But I think they are safe assumptions because, if the other variables were present, then the question would likely indicate that.

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The answer to this sort of test questions depends a lot on the context that the supporting study material has introduced. In a real work setting, both answers could be correct, or even both be wrong.

As David Espina mentions in the other answer, the proper action taken by the project manager depends on a lot of variables that are absent in the question (thus, the context that the study material has put forth should fill in the assumptions).

Based on the way the question is worded, and from B being the selected answer, it seems to be asked in an Agile context of some sort, and Agile relies a lot on self-organizing and self-managing teams. The team figures out how to handle things by inspecting and adapting.

Answer B implies giving the team room to figure it out on their own. Answer A seems to imply toward a more traditional command and control approach.

So that's my assumption for selecting B as the answer. Is that supported by the material of the course?

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