You love your site and we love your site, but there is a whole world of people out there who might not even know it exists. When they do find it, their first impression will either scare them away or keep them around. Given this, let's take a hard look at the questions and answers here and make sure newcomers see the site at its best!

Below you'll find ten questions randomly selected from this site. What do you think about each of them and their answers? Are they the best they can be or can they be improved? Would they look interesting and inviting to an outsider or are they a little embarrassing?

Upvote the corresponding post here on meta when we're awesome. Downvote when our content just isn't quite up to par.

Oh, and do comment to let everyone know your thoughts and take part in this conversation. :)


Wow. Thank you, everybody, for taking part and leaving lots of comments. :) It is really encouraging to see the involvement, the discussion, and the edits.

It looks to me like you guys have a pretty firm grasp on your scope. There are a few things to iron out, and I'm happy to see additional meta discussions popping up.

By the numbers, your stats look pretty good. Questions per day could use some improvement, but at the end of the day it's better to have fewer good questions rather than more bad questions.

I'd say keep doing what you're doing in terms of quality. Figure out the lingering bits of scope issues that were brought up from this evaluation. We'll do this again eventually to see how you're progressing.

Till next time...

  • The variety of question types you posted here is pretty small - many of the questions fall under the same categories (e.g. PM tools). – Danny Varod Jun 15 '12 at 1:33
  • Also, there seems to be too much overlapping between PM.SE and Programmers.SE e.g. programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/127854/… – Danny Varod Jun 15 '12 at 1:35
  • 1
    @DannyVarod - As the SE network grows, the scope of many sites will overlap somewhat. Many questions asked on the SE network could have a home on more than one site. If a question could be on topic in 2 places, I suggest asking in the community based on the perspective you seek in the answers. Of course, the question would still need to be on topic in that particular community ;) – jmort253 Jun 15 '12 at 3:10
  • @DannyVarod - The questions were randomly selected, according to the community managers. We do get a lot of PM Tools questions. I'm beginning to think we need to take a more quality-driven approach to PM-tools questions, especially when there is no background problem that needs to be solved. Some pm-tools questions just poll the community for their favorite software and then attract spammers. Of course, we've seen some great PM Tools questions as well, where there is a clear problem, and the answers involve using tools that specifically address the problem at hand. – jmort253 Jun 15 '12 at 3:13
  • Anna, thanks for the feedback! This is very encouraging! :) – jmort253 Jul 4 '12 at 1:14

10 Answers 10


Do I Need to Match-up the Functional Spec with the Spec in the Contract

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • Good detailed question and well-written answers. OP asked something that other PMs may face in the future too. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 14 '12 at 6:32
  • I think this is a great Q/A example. Solid. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:31

How to handle CEO "priority" requests that affect existing client deadlines?

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • The op clearly has a problem that's directly related to project management. It's subjective, as in there is really no answer out of a book that can solve this problem, and there could be different ways to solve the problem. The question is a borderline poll, but the answers were really thorough, which in my opinion is better than having a list of one-liner "me too" answers. While the original poster was surely helped by this, I'm not sure if it will help future visitors because of the number of different answers. Because effort was shown both in questions and answers, I lean towards a +1 – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 1:01
  • OP has posted what happens in practical life. Question is about alternatives to tackle this situation. Usually, in management there is no 'one right answer' as opposed to programming. Answers are good and looking at the votes it is evident that they attracted a good number of visitors. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 13 '12 at 12:22
  • I agree with the comments already indicated; this is a quite common question that falls to PMs to answer/deal with, and the answers are quite good. I might have edited the question to tighten it up and make it less poll-like. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:26
  • For me, it was a great PM question. I'm getting questions like this during work hours. They are context dependent and the diversity of the answers can help the OP consider the different possible outcomes of the answers and pick the right one for his problem/question. – Zsolt Jun 17 '12 at 20:03

Should Summary Tasks or Detail Tasks be Predecessors?

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • I just Googled this real quick and found a similar question from 2007. Richard Tucker's answer in this forum. The 2 answers in our question and the one on Project Management IT Toolbox are in agreement, but the PM IT toolbox answer cites a source, which means the answer could be easily verified. Both Trevor and David explain their reasoning, but if one or both could cite a source, I'd say this is a +1 example that would stand up to the information in IT Toolbox. – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 1:11
  • Not a bad question as it hits something which a PM comes across in normal planning activity. Both the answer are good and well explained, specially these two lines: "I only group them by like kind (summary to summary, detail to detail)" and "If you mix your predecessor-successor logic between levels, you will, not may, lose sight of accrued variances". – Aziz Shaikh Jun 13 '12 at 12:13
  • The basis of the question is one that fits here, but I would have asked/edited into it more behind the question to flesh it out and set the stage more. The answers, though brief, are helpful. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:28
  • +1 for the brief answer. The question could have been formulated a bit different, but it contained all the necessary information. – Zsolt Jun 17 '12 at 19:58

Project schedule reviews

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • This is a situation specific question but PMs can learn something from the great answers if they face similar issues. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 13 '12 at 12:31
  • 1
    I just edited the question to remove the invitation for opinions. I think that if we don't edit those out quickly, the question loses focus and may accrue answers that don't fully answer all of the points in the question. In this case, I'm not 100% sure all of the answers address all of those points. I wonder if we could have mitigated this by striking fast with our close votes and edits, with the goal of eliminating the psychological impact of seeing the words "What are your thoughts"? – jmort253 Jun 14 '12 at 3:09
  • Problem with new SE sites in general and PMSE specifically is that initially you have to allow a certain degree of open-ended questions to attract visitors. If you are too strict you may scare away users. But I agree with the editing part, quick and good editing is essential anyways. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 14 '12 at 6:05
  • I agree with @jmort253's retrospective comment here -- spot on. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:31
  • @AzizShaikh - There is some truth to what you're saying; we don't want to scare anyone away! Still, it's a mistake to sacrifice quality, as that is something StackExchange looks at when evaluating a beta site. With that said, I think we can do both! We can and should be more tolerant on our site towards those who may not fully understand how to ask. Since we have lower volume than a launched site, we can devote our energies in helping make those questions really great. – jmort253 Jun 14 '12 at 19:47
  • @AzizShaikh - [cont'd] My hope would be that by showing every question some TLC, we would adhere to quality while still meeting your ideas of embracing users and making them feel welcome. In other words, let's make it really clear to users needing help that we want to help them write awesome questions that will help not just that person, but other users for years to come. I find that when we take that approach, most people are really excited to participate, knowing that their problem will also help other people. – jmort253 Jun 14 '12 at 19:49
  • I am trying to understand the notion of questions that avoid opinions and / or discussions. On one hand, we want questions with more depth but we discourage questions that may not have "an answer." This is inconsistent. Questions that are simple have answers. Questions that are complex have schools of thought, induced theoretical constructs, uncertainty, opinions, anecdotal observations, and maybe some studies that show a degree of deduced efficacy. The latter is far more interesting. For the former, pick up a PM 101 book. – David Espina Jun 18 '12 at 14:28
  • @DavidEspina - Subjective questions are perfectly okay, but they need some TLC to make sure they have a specific "goal" in mind. In this particular question, I merely edited out the part that asked "But anyhow, I would sincerely appreciate your thoughts!". It's too easy to give people a free pass to do some "soap-boxing", where information is posted that doesn't really answer the question, when words like that are used. With that part edited-out, I really feel like it highlights the 3 main questions in the bullet points, and is more likely to avoid random thoughts. – jmort253 Jun 19 '12 at 2:57
  • @DavidEspina - [contd] - The details that are included in this question is what makes it great. Also, there are lots of details about a very specific problem here. The bulleted list helps keep things in context so that when you answer it, you have a clear perspective of what the asker hopes to gain from your knowledge. Did you give your opinion here? Sure. But it's an expert opinion based on a very specific set of problem parameters and your expertise. There is a huge difference between this and "I don't like JIRA, what other software should I use?". I hope this helps. ;) – jmort253 Jun 19 '12 at 3:18
  • @DavidEspina - I posted your question here so I could answer it in greater detail. Thanks again for bringing this point up. – jmort253 Jun 19 '12 at 6:15

How can short-term product development co-exist with long-term innovation projects?

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • Quite an open-ended question, I believe. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 13 '12 at 12:52
  • I downvoted on this one as it could be polished up to fit better our Q&A expected format... – Tiago Cardoso Jun 14 '12 at 17:41
  • Ironically, I did originally upvote the question because I thought there was a good nugget in there that could be salvaged -- or brought out into a more specific/less open-ended Q&A format. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 19:01

How to export the Network Diagram View to an image in Microsoft Project 2010

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • The op clearly has a problem. I remember trying to answer this one myself back in May, and there was nothing on Google I could find to support exporting the diagram as an image. While this could also be a Superuser question, it is about a Project Management tool, and we have members of this community who are familiar with MS Project. I think this is a good question that, with more exposure via social media tools, could attract someone who could answer it. +1 – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 0:52
  • It is a valid question but tool specific and user centric. Unfortunately the community was not able to help OP in this case. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 13 '12 at 12:16
  • 1
    This is one of those types of questions that I wish were not on PM, because they are specifically about the tool and not the processes behind the tool. That's not to say tool questions are bad -- they're fine, and useful, and appropriate at times. This isn't one of those times, IMHO, because an answer could just as easily come from a non-PM (such as desktop support, etc). – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:34
  • 1
    @jcmeloni - This is a touchy subject :) Early on, some of our users wanted to include anything related to PM, which included tools. While this does overlap somewhat with Superuser, sometimes it's all about what perspective you expect in answers (as long as the question is on topic on the target site). I think the main danger in these types of questions is when there is no background info given. If the op described why he wanted to export these diagrams, perhaps Doug B could have expanded on his answer and offered applicable alternatives. That would also help include more of the PM process :) – jmort253 Jun 15 '12 at 3:25
  • See my comment on the "How do I change hours-per-day without affecting existing tasks?" question. – Zsolt Jun 17 '12 at 20:16

Project Management and sales activities

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • 1
    I can't +1 this one because the question not only looked like a discussion question, but it turned into discussions in the answers, with the op even asking another question in one of the (now-deleted) answers. With edits early on, we could have maybe asked the op to target the question better, but even then I'm not 100% sure. Other than it degrading into a discussion, the question touches on the general concept of scope in project management and how managers and even PM's themselves are unclear as to what his/her role is as a PM. – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 1:22
  • 1
    I wouldn't be embarrassed by this question though, and if someone sees a way to edit it so it looks less like a discussion question, I could upvote it. – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 1:23
  • Hi @jmort253, as I've answered this question, my perception is that the underlying question would be is it correct / valuable to have the project manager conducting also the sales activity?. In my company, this question is becoming popular, so I'd +1 on it. Would you agree that this underlying question would be enough? – Tiago Cardoso Jun 13 '12 at 17:31
  • Hi Tiago, the more specific the question, the more likely to get solid answers that apply to the wider audience of the Internet. If you wanted to make that edit, I think that would be great. (I also didn't mean to downvote this, my vote got locked in before I could change it). – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 17:39
  • I had to downvote because it is very discussion-y rather than specific Q&A, but also would note that I wouldn't be embarrassed by it either, and think it can be edited (yes, @jmort253, I'll start suggesting edits!) to bring it back in line. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:54
  • If there are questions you find you're not sure about in terms of edits, you could pose a question on meta to see if we can utilize some crowdsourcing to get some ideas as to what would and wouldn't work for specific questions. :) – jmort253 Jun 14 '12 at 19:37

How do I change hours-per-day without affecting existing tasks?

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • This is an example of a tool-use question that I'd consider perfectly fine here, because it gets to the heart of modifying the use of the tool given domain-specific knowledge. However, I think that the question could've been edited by us (or the OP, obviously!) to situate the environment and the problem. I also think the answers, while accurate, could've been more fleshed out (guided toward being so). – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:36
  • I searched Google for "ms prooject change hours per day without changing tasks", and this question is the first result. Not sure if that's due to Google's new search policy of tailoring results to me or not, but that seems promising. As for the answers, I agree with jcmeloni, but I don't know enough about MS project to expand the answers without hurting them. But maybe dlongman, RJFalconer, or David Espina could edit them further? It's not too late to fix the answers. Answers are easy to fix because there's no dependency on previously-entered content :) – jmort253 Jun 15 '12 at 3:20
  • I cannot do anything with MS Project related questions. I understand that tools are important in PM, but I just lack the necessary experience to do anything with those questions. I cannot even decide whether the question is good or not. I think there are about 2-3 members who can answer questions like this. – Zsolt Jun 17 '12 at 20:15
  • @Zsolt - On the surface, this looks like an okay question, but I found the answer here on the first page of Google on Microsoft Answers. This suggests the person who asked it may not have done enough research before asking. While a few occasional questions like this aren't bad, imagine if the entire front page were filled with trivial questions that someone with no MS Project experience could answer just using Google. To play devils advocate, the main reason I found the answer is because I knew what to look for, thanks to David's answer. So I can't +1 or -1 this one. ;) – jmort253 Jun 19 '12 at 3:51

How should I organise my podcast project?

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • 1
    Nothing directly related to Project Management. – Aziz Shaikh Jun 13 '12 at 12:56
  • I think this could be made more of a PM question, but then would probably just end up being a poll. – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 19:02
  • @jcmeloni - Good point. Although some "poll" questions can be seeds for several more specific questions. I wonder if there's a way we could catch these poll questions when they're first asked, and then encourage the op to break it up into a few separate "specific" questions. What a great way to improve quality and improve the questions per day stats! – jmort253 Jun 14 '12 at 19:34
  • this question is a good example for how to ask an interesting question in the wrong way. I think the context is PM related, but it would have been better if the OP had left out the polling and subjectivity. – Zsolt Jun 17 '12 at 20:11

Is there any online or free software to draw CPM?

What do you think about this question and its answers? Vote and comment to let everyone know.

  • 1
    While at first glance this looks like a weak question, it is in fact a bit of a challenge to locate tools specifically for drawing CPM diagrams, unless you know what you're looking for. I did edit the question to reflect some "research" prior to posting. This does appear in the top 10 for "draw CPM". The main problem with the question is that the answer may not be correct a year from now, and these questions sometimes invite additional "spam" answers. I can neither upvote nor downvote. – jmort253 Jun 13 '12 at 0:48
  • I agree with @jmort253's comment, except that for me it's a clear downvote, and could be so for a few different reasons (too localized by time, lack of research, polling). – jcmeloni Jun 14 '12 at 18:38
  • @jcmeloni - On StackOverflow, showing you've researched your problem is a hard requirement. If the answer can be found with a quick Google search, then it will get quickly downvoted and closed by the community. This has helped keep the quality of content strong and filter out useless noise. While SO folks can be a little harsh in their approach to those question askers, I often wonder if we shouldn't take a similar approach to filtering out these types of questions. – jmort253 Jun 15 '12 at 3:31
  • @jcmeloni - [cont'd] - Our community regularly demonstrates a very polite and patient approach to dealing with people, without the snarkiness and intolerance that you see on other sites. I picture us voting to close and downvoting, but our community has a lot of strong leaders who I could see taking the op's by the hand and helping them modify the question s to make them great. Afterwards, they would replace the downvotes with upvotes, and then vote to reopen. Do you think that approach would work for PMSE? Is that an idea you would support? – jmort253 Jun 15 '12 at 3:35
  • @jmort253 It's definitely an idea I support, as it's precisely what I try to do at The Workplace SE. :) – jcmeloni Jun 15 '12 at 10:36
  • I have no idea how to deal with these very specific questions. Personally, I have problem with all MS project related questions, but this is a bit worse. There might be 2-3 members who have the necessary experience to answer questions like this. – Zsolt Jun 17 '12 at 20:13
  • @Zsolt - One way to judge them is this: With your lack of MS Project experience, if you can Google the question and find the answer in the first result, then that's a sure red flag indicating it's probably not a good fit for SE. Sometimes, even without the domain knowledge, it's easy to spot a question that shows no research effort, and those questions don't make the Internet a better place. ;) – jmort253 Jun 19 '12 at 4:13

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