Best Questions to Ask Your Boss When You Get New Assignments

Your big break: Your boss has finally put you in charge of your own project. It’s your chance to distinguish yourself and start climbing the ladder for real.

Just don’t screw it up.

Now that you’ve gotten an opportunity, you need to maximize your chance to succeed. That process starts, well, at the start.

You have to set yourself up for success in the beginning by making sure you have a sound understanding of what you need to do, when you need to do it, and how it should look once it’s completed.

How do you get this information? Simple as it sounds: Just ask. But the process of asking can sometimes stray far from simple. You need to ask the right questions and you need to ask them early.

Once you’ve passed the early stages of a project, you enter “fake it to make it mode.” Asking a question too late in the process could make you look unprepared and over your head. Meanwhile, peppering your boss with too many questions might make them regret giving you the assignment in the first place.

Here’s a few simple questions you can ask when you’re assigned a project that will set you up for success.

What’s the timeline?

You need to know when the assignment is due, but don’t just ask about the eventual ending date for the completed project. Find a detailed itinerary.

Determine what the first benchmark will be so you can prepare your near-term schedule. Beyond that, pinpoint mid-term deadlines, even if they are only provisional at this point. That way, you can track whether you are meeting expectations as the project progresses.

Who is the audience for the final product?

You need to know who will ultimately review the project you’re tasked with producing. Something made for clients will have different requirements from something meant for company insiders.

By pinpointing the eventual audience, you can optimize things like tone, what data to use and what materials will make the final product most effective.

Are there any experts in the company I should consult?

You probably won’t know everything you’ll need to know to complete the project. But the old adage applies: You don’t need to know the information; you just need to know where to find it.

Make contacts early in the project for aspects that might be outside your specialty. You can then draw on their expertise to make a superb final product.

How does this fit into other ongoing projects?

Context is everything.

Your project doesn’t exist in a vacuum. It’s part of a complex web of other ongoing initiatives within the company.

Understanding how it fits into the rest of the corporate jigsaw allows you to shape your piece so it fits perfectly into the larger picture.

Are there any templates I should follow?

Get an example of a previous similar project your boss was pleased with. Having this model will allow you to shape your product into the correct form.

Rather than launching a barrage of questions about little things (structure, formatting, etc), you have a single source for all those practical concerns. It allows you to operate more independently, while still giving you confidence you’ll remain on the right track.


Getting entrusted with a meaningful project represents a potential step forward in your career. If you’re ready to maximize your long-term prospects, consider contacting a top-flight recruiter, like Qualified Staffing. They can make sure you are in a position where your talents are recognized and properly utilized.

Contact Qualified Staffing today to find out more.

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