High Performance Questions for Agile Teams

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

High performance questions ask agile teams to think rather than tell them what to do. In this lesson, you'll learn more about how to use questioning techniques to help agile teams reflect and grow.


Nanette is just getting ready to walk her team through the project post-mortem meeting after the conclusion of a big event. Although the overall event was successful, there were some frustrations along the way, and Nanette is disappointed with the performance of some of her team members. Which question do you think will help Nanette start the meeting off on the right foot?

A. Do you know how bad this made us look?

B. What could we do better next time?

If you answered B, you may already have a basic understanding of the importance of how you ask questions to generate the best results and the type of questioning that will be most productive. That's what this lesson is all about: learning how to ask high performance questions that promote curiosity, accountability, and growth.

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  • 0:04 Questioning
  • 0:46 High Performance Questions
  • 1:13 Ask, Don't Tell
  • 2:06 Questioning for Growth
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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High Performance Questions

So you may be thinking, ''What exactly is a high performance question?'' Well, we can define a high performance question as one that encourages people to think and come to answers on their own. Impactful questions of this nature come from leaders and managers who believe more in helping their teams learn and adapt to specific situations as a group rather than simply telling them what to do or think. In essence, it's the difference between a team thinking for itself and being bossed around.

Ask, Don't Tell

One of the central tenets of the idea of asking high performance questions for agile teams is the notion of asking, rather than telling. In truth, nobody wants to be bossed around. Even if you're the manager of a team or work group, telling people what to do, instead of helping them figure out what to do, gives off the appearance of being a condescending know-it-all.

Questions that tell, like ''Did you really do your best on this project?'', insinuate that no, you don't think the individual or team did their best work. Instead, a question that asks, like ''What parts of this project gave you problems?'', gives team members an opportunity to speak freely without fear of judgment.

'Ask, don't tell' questions make no criticisms or assumptions of the person or team being asked. Rather, they give the team an opportunity to reflect on their own thoughts and share them in a constructive manner. This approach helps high-performing teams to flourish and be more successful.

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