Understanding questions

This module will give you practice understanding colleagues' and clients' questions.

Question from a project manager (#1)

Question #1

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

What image do you associate with his question?

 

What key words do you hear in his question?

 

  • jewel
  • timeframe
  • delivery
  • sword
  • module
  • second
  • budget

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Around the middle of February"
  • "Could you repeat please?"
  • "Sorry, which module are you talking about?"
  • "If I understand, you are asking when the first module will be delivered?"
  • "I don't understand."
  • "Yes, it is."
  • "Two o'clock."
  • "Could you send me an email?"

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

delivery of the  module, what  timeframe  looking at?

What is another (simpler) way to phrase this question?

For the delivery of the first module, what sort of timeframe are we looking at?

  • Why is the first module behind schedule?
  • What assumptions should we use to estimate the delivery of the first module?
  • Approximately when will the first module be delivered?

Give your own answer to this question.

For the delivery of the first module, what sort of timeframe are we looking at?
 

Coud iou ripite pliz?

Why can't I say "Could your repeat please?"

It is a common reflex for French speakers but there are three problems with this expression.

  • It doesn't help you.

With this expression, you are asking the other person to repeat exactly what they said with the exact same words and the exact same speed. Do you really want this?

  • It sounds unprofessional.

There are more professional ways of getting the other person to "repeat" their point / question and English speakers use these expressions with each other in business. Techniques like repeating what you did understand so the other person can correct you ("Are you saying that you'll be in France on Friday?", "What did you say about the budget?"), even if you only understood one word.

  • It is annoying to the person you are talking to.

When you say, "Could you repeat that please?", you are asking the other person to repeat everything that he said before. If he just spent the last minute explaining his point, this is quite annoying (ennuyant / pénible) because you are asking him to spend another minute saying it again. However, you probably don't need him to repeat everything, just the parts that you didn't understand. This brings us back to the previous point - use an expression that communicates what you did understand so that he/she can help you fill in the blanks.

In each of the questions in this module, you have an exercise where you have to choose a professional answer to the question. If you understood the question, the professional answer is the information the speaker wants. If you didn't understand the question, use the techniques below.

 

I understood nothing

Sorry?

Sorry, what do you mean exactly?

Sorry, what exactly is your question?

Sorry, what exactly did you say?

Sorry, I didn't catch that.

 

I understood one word

Are you saying something about [Monday]?

Sorry, what about [Monday]?

Sorry, what did you say about [Monday]?

 

I understood the general idea, maybe...

So you are saying that [you need it by Monday]?

Are you saying that [you need it by Monday]?

If I understand, you are saying that [you need it by Monday]?

 

I understood everything except one word

What do you mean by [leverage]?

Question from a project manager (#2)

Question #2

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

What image do you associate with this question?

 

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • kick-off
  • awful
  • next week
  • Wednesday morning
  • last week
  • steak
  • postponed

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Could you repeat please?"
  • (Don't say anything, just hang up)
  • "Sorry, what about Wednesday morning?"
  • "Wednesday morning is good for me. What kind of dish would you like me to bring?"
  • "I'm free but most of the stakeholders will be busy with budget meetings on Wednesday. I think Thursday would be better."
  • If I understand, the kick-off has to be postponed and you are suggesting Wednesday morning?
  • Yes, OK.
  • Sorry, I didn't catch that. What is your question?

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

 the stakeholders  make it tomorrow afternoon, so I’m afraid the kick-off    be postponed to next week. What  doing on Wednesday morning?

What is a stakeholder?

  • A person who eats steak.
  • A person who owns stock in a company.
  • A person who has an interest in a project - who the business analyst needs to meet with to get their requirements for the project and who the project manager needs to keep informed about the project's progress.
  • A participant in a meeting.

Give your own answer to this question.

Not all stakeholders can make it tomorrow afternoon, so I’m afraid the kick-off  will have to be postponed to next week. What are you doing on Wednesday morning?

Question from a project manager (#3)

Question #3

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • requirements
  • quiet
  • clients
  • requests
  • change

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • Are you asking why clients change their requirements?
  • I don't know.
  • Are you asking about clients in general or specifically our clients?
  • I suspect it's because they're not well-organized.
  • No, I don't have the client's requirements yet.
  • Sure, that should be fine.

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

 why the clients  changing their requirements?

'Keep' in this question doesn't mean 'garder'. What do you think it means here?

Do you know why the clients keep changing their requirements?
 

  • conserver
  • ne cesser pas de / continuer de
  • tenir
  • laisser

Give your own answer to this question.

Do you know why the clients keep changing their requirements?

Question from a project team member (#4)

Question #4

Listen to the question above asked by a project team member.

What keywords do you hear in his question?

 

  • steak
  • stakeholders
  • informed
  • view
  • meeting
  • form

If the team member asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Yes, I have."
  • "No, not yet."
  • "I'm afraid I don't have that information right now, can I get back to you?"
  • "Could you repeat just the end of your sentence?"
  • "If I understand, you are asking if I've informed the stakeholders?"

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

 informed all the stakeholders ?

Give your own answer to this question.

Have you informed all the stakeholders about this?

Question from a stakeholder (#5)

Question #5

Listen to the question above from a stakeholder.

What image do you associate with this question?

 

What keywords do you hear in the question?

 

  • this year
  • timetable
  • offer
  • stick it up
  • delivery
  • realistic

If the stakeholder asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Pffffff...."
  • "It was when we first started, but we've had some unexpected problems."
  • "What do you mean by 'timetable'?"
  • "Around two weeks."
  • Yes, I agree.
  • "Are you asking if the schedule is realistic?"

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

 think the timetable is realistic   delivery this year?

What is a timetable?

Do you think the timetable is realistic enough for delivery this year?

  • Schedule
  • Agenda
  • Timeframe
  • Planning

Give your own answer to this question.

Do you think the timetable is realistic enough for delivery this year?

Question from a project manager (#6)

Question #6

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • water
  • risks
  • pair
  • shall
  • application
  • testing

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Sorry, what about application testing?"
  • "Are you suggesting that we not test the application?"
  • (silence)
  • "We have just finished the regression testing and it has gone very well."
  • "The application will be buggy."
  • Yes, we have.

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

OK, so  the risks of only  testing the application?

Give your own answer to this question.

OK, so what are the risks of only partially testing the application?
 

Question from a stakeholder (#7)

Question #7

Listen to the question above from a stakeholder.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • next month
  • finish
  • buy
  • away
  • schedule

If the stakeholder asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • Yes, we are.
  • No, I'm afraid I'm not.
  • I'm not really the right person to ask. You should reach out to Arnaud.
  • Just to make sure I understand, you are asking if we'll finish next month?
  • Finish what exactly?
  • Yes, I agree.
  • Arnaud asked me to write the specifications based on the requirements that we received last week.

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

Are we  schedule to finish  next month?

What could you translate "be on schedule" in this question?

Are we still on schedule to finish by next month?

  • être sur le planning
  • être dans les temps
  • être probable
  • être en retard

Give your own answer to this question.

Are we still on schedule to finish by next month?

Question from a project manager (#8)

Question #8

Listen to the question above from a new project manager.

What keywords do you  hear in this question?

 

  • donuts
  • resources
  • jest
  • schedule
  • suggest

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • What are you asking me for?
  • Sorry?
  • You should see if you can push back the go-live.
  • No, not too long.
  • 120K euros is what I heard.
  • That's a tough situation. Did you prepare contingency plans?
  • I see what you're saying...

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

 behind schedule and  resources. What do you suggest ?

What does it mean if the project is behind schedule?

We’re behind schedule and don’t have enough resources. What do you suggest we do?

  • The project is late.
  • The project is on time.
  • The project is over budget.
  • The project has made less progress at the current moment compared to what was planned in the schedule.
  • The project is under staffed.

Give your own answer to this question.

We’re behind schedule and don’t have enough resources..what do you suggest we do?

Question from a project sponsor (#26)

Question #26

Listen to the question above from a project sponsor.

What image do you associate with this question?

 

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • manday
  • Monday
  • like
  • budget
  • likely
  • soon
  • testing

If the project sponsor asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Sorry, are you asking if my team is down?"
  • "We've finished the specifications for the sales tax enhancement."
  • "My team wasn't at the meeting a month ago."
  • "Yes, most of my team was sick last week with the flu."
  • "I'm sorry, I didn't get your question."
  • (silence)
  • "You speak too fast."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

  QA finishes testing by Monday, over budget are we likely to be? 

What is another way to phrase this question?

Assuming QA finishes testing by Monday, how much over budget are we likely to be?

  • If we assume QA finishes testing by Monday as planned, how much over budget will we probably be?
  • If we assume QA finishes testing by Monday as planned, how much over budget will we definitely be?
  • If QA doesn't finish testing by Monday, how much over budget will we definitely be?

Give your own answer to this question.

Assuming QA finishes testing by Monday, how much over budget are we likely to be?

Question from a project manager (#27)

Question #27

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • down
  • team
  • done
  • quiet
  • quite
  • time
  • last

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "About 10K euros."
  • "Could you repeat please?"
  • "Sorry, what about the budget?"
  • "If I understand, you are asking about the budget if we finish testing on Monday?"
  • "Could you please articulate your words?"
  • "No, I don't."
  • "By June 8."
  • "We could but it wouldn't be easy."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

What   your team done since the last time  ?

Give your own answer to this question.

What exactly has your team done since the last time we met?

Question from a PMO (#28)

Question #28

Listen to the question above from a PMO (Project Management Officer).

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • house
  • budget
  • Gunther
  • delay
  • risk
  • pact
  • impact

If the PMO asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Yes, the delay will impact the budget."
  • "Are you asking if the delay will have an impact on the budget?"
  • "I don't understand your question."
  • "It will put us 20,000 euros over budget."
  • "Do you want the figure in K euros or mandays?"
  • "Can you send me an email?"
  • "Let me try to optimize the schedule first and get back to you."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

this delay  impact the budget?

Give your own answer to this question.

How is this delay going to impact the budget?

Question from a project sponsor (#30)

Question #30

Listen to the question above from a project sponsor.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • project
  • forecast
  • progress
  • on track
  • anybody
  • lack

If the project sponsor asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Yes, Fatima is in charge of that."
  • "Could you repeat please?"
  • "There was, but he was let go a few weeks ago."
  • "OK."
  • "Yes, we are moving forward but not fast enough."
  • "Are you asking if there has been any progress on the project?"
  • "There's not much we can do right now. The client hasn't validated the requirements."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

  anybody tracking the progress  project?

What is the French equivalent for "track" in this question?

Isn’t anybody tracking the progress on this project?

  • pister
  • être sur la bonne voie
  • suivre
  • accélérer

Give your own answer to this question.

Isn’t anybody tracking the progress on this project?

Question from a colleague (#31)

Question #31

Listen to the question above from a colleague.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • meeting
  • email
  • necessary
  • really
  • very
  • sour

If your colleague asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Yes, one hour of everyone's time now will save endless email exchanges later."
  • "Yesterday."
  • "I wouldn't have called the meeting if I didn't think it was necessary."
  • "OK."
  • "I haven't seen it yet."
  • "I'm not sure I see what you mean."
  • "What?"

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

this meeting is really necessary?

Question from a stakeholder (#32)

Question #32

Listen to the question above from a stakeholder.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • quiet
  • functionality
  • Hawaii
  • business requirements
  • software
  • Montreal

If the stakeholder asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Sure, here you go."
  • "That's a good question. You should ask Philippe, he's the business analyst."
  • "Could you repeat the first part of your question?"
  • "Sure, no problem."
  • "I don't understand."
  • "My understanding is that it was never mentioned during the workshops."
  • "I can look into it and get back to you if you like."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

Well,  the functionality in the business requirements?

Give your own answer to this question. It's a tricky one.

Why wasn’t the functionality in the business requirements?

Question from a colleague (#35)

Question #35

Listen to the question above from a colleague.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • down
  • done
  • soon
  • house
  • need
  • view

If your colleague asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "By tomorrow at 5pm."
  • "What do you mean by 'how soon'?"
  • "Yes."
  • "I don't think that is going to be an issue."
  • "Are you asking if there is a deadline?"
  • (silence)
  • "Thanks for your help, I know it's last minute."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

  do you need it ?

What is another way to phrase this question?

How soon do you need it done?

  • When do you need it to be finished?
  • How long do you need it?
  • Why do you need it?

Give your own answer to this question.

How soon do you need it done?

Question from a PMO (#40)

Question #40

Listen to the question above from a PMO.

Which image do you associate with this question?

 

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • hive
  • factory
  • cost
  • training
  • software
  • developers
  • train

If the PMO asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "12,000 euros."
  • "What do you mean by 'factory the cost'?"
  • "No, we don't usually include this in our estimates."
  • "Are you asking about the cost of training the new developers?"
  • "20 mandays."
  • "I don't understand."
  • "Could you send it to me in an email?"

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

And  factored in the cost of training the new developers?

What does "factor in" mean?

And have you factored in the cost of training the new developers?

  • manage / deal with
  • include / take into account
  • develop / create
  • communicate / inform

Give your own answer to this question.

And have you factored in the cost of training the new developers?

Question from a project manager (#41)

Question #41

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

Which image do you associate with this question?

 

Which keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • sick
  • Andrew
  • me
  • deadline
  • evening
  • meet
  • realistic

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "Probably. His work isn't on the critical path."
  • "No, I haven't heard from him."
  • "Could you repeat the end of your sentence?"
  • "Sorry, did you ask if we're going to meet the deadline?"
  • "The deadline is in two weeks."
  • "It will put us behind schedule, he's a key person for this phase of the project."
  • "Yes, it is."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

Are we still  meet the deadline  Andrew out sick?

What is the French equivalent for "meet the deadline"?

Are we still going to meet the deadline even with Andrew out sick?

  • repousser le délai
  • rencontrer des problèmes
  • respecter les délais
  • rencontrer le délai

Give your own answer to this question.

Are we still going to meet the deadline even with Andrew out sick?

Question from a project manager (#44)

Question #44

Listen to the question above from a project manager.

What keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • performance
  • vicious
  • network
  • tissue
  • shoes
  • do it
  • issues

If the project manager asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "3 months."
  • "The easiest solution would be to buy more server space."
  • "It's on schedule."
  • "What do you mean about network performance issues?"
  • "Could you repeat that more slowly please?"
  • "Why don't we look into the root cause first?"
  • "I don't think he is involved in this project."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

How are we   all the network performance issues?

What are the synonyms of "deal with"?

How are we going to deal with all the network performance issues?

Please choose both synonyms.

  • communicate
  • handle
  • do business
  • treat
  • manage

Give your own answer to this question.

How are we going to deal with all the network performance issues?

Question from a colleague (#46)

Question #46

Listen to the question above from a colleague.

Which keywords do you hear in this question?

 

  • Dave
  • view
  • dispose
  • heard
  • heard
  • back
  • buddy

If your colleague asked you this question, what would be a professional response?

 

Please choose all the correct responses.

  • "I haven't seen him."
  • "Sorry, what did you say about Dave?"
  • "I didn't catch the end of your sentence."
  • "Yes, he is."
  • "I heard he got stuck at Heathrow."
  • "He is not in charge of that."

Below is the transcription. Can you fill in the missing words?

 

  heard from Dave? He was   be back .

Give your own answer to this question.

Have you heard from Dave? He was supposed to be back today.