Precision questioning: The cynical description

Raymond Chen

Precision questioning is a technique used by some senior executives at Microsoft. Although precision questioning positions itself as a toolkit for critical thinking and problem solving, its use in practice doesn’t always line up with its ostensible description. As a senior manager explained it to me,

The way precision questioning works is that executive X is going to ask you a question, and then after you answer it, you’ll be asked a follow-up question, and so on until you finally say “I don’t know.” You want to last as many rounds as possible before finally reaching the point where they asked a question you cannot answer.

I don’t know if that’s what precision questioning is really about, but that’s how some practitioners use it.


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