Interview with Steven Kass (AskAboutProjects.com)

Filed under Interviews, Tools | Posted by PMStudent

In Not the Status Report episode # 4 I talked about AskAboutProjects.com, a site similar in function to StackOverflow.com where anyone can ask questions. Answers are voted up or down and those ratings make the best answers rise to the top.

I really enjoy the site and what it offers. So, I recently interviewed Steven Kass who is one of the people behind the site.

Tell our audience a little about yourself Steven.

I am a Project Manager with 10 years experience. I have always worked in IT; mostly telecom and data network projects.

Two years ago, I passed the PMP certification and found it was a very interesting experience.

Many of the users on the site have a lot more experience than I have, and one of the things I learned already is that I still have a lot to learn 🙂

Tell me about AskAboutProjects.com – how did it come about?

AskAboutProjects.com is a site to ask questions about project management.

I am a project manager myself and during my ten years of working experience I have often searched information online that could help me do my job.

A few months ago I was doing some research to find a web application that could help my team to better manage our different projects. I stumbled upon the site StackOverflow.com, a Q&A site for programmers created by Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood. I realized that there was a major difference between their site and common Q&A sites or forums. Exchanging knowledge suddenly seemed a lot easier. The only problem for me was that it was made for programming questions only.

With a friend who shares my interest in project management, we decided to launch a ?StackOverflow for project management?. That?s how AskAboutProjects.com was started?

What can people find there?

They will find all the questions and answers posted by the users so far. Users create the content.

All content is accessible without registration, and there are already more than 200 questions answered by the users.

Why should people visit AskAboutProjects.com – both for the question-askers and for the people who answer questions.

The advantage to ask a question on the site is really that you get clear feedback: it is well structured and you quickly see the best content: what the community of users like the most will be shown at the top right next to your question. You just visit the page where you posted your question and see what the top-voted answers are.

With LinkedIn discussion, you?ll have to read every single post to be sure you don?t miss a great idea. With email discussion, you?ll have to read every single email.

It?s also a great way to search. Think of it this way: how many times have you ?googled? a question for ten minutes and then given up? I find search engines tend to return poor results. There is just so much information on the Internet.
You can ask the question on AskAboutProjects.com. One of the users might already know the answer, and if not, at least we have a structured and formatted way to document any information that is found on the question. Over time your question will get a clear feedback.

And for those who do not have questions, it is a great place to share knowledge and experience.

Note that posts are voted on. So you either get appreciation for your input, or, if no-one votes for your post it can serve as an indication that perhaps the post should be clearer or more convincing. I have noticed that I often go back and check if my posts get good rating and sometimes re-work on them to make them clearer and more useful. That?s also the power of the site: you find yourself competing to help the person who asked the question!

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