Random geekery since 2005.

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Please advise…

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So, I have interactions with people across all disciplines of software development, be it executive management, developers, architects, project managers, or graphic designers. I have found a common trend amongst one silo of these individuals.

Project Managers have a universal trend that seems to span companies, cities, and industries. I’m am not suggesting that 100% of PMs do this, but it seems to be that ONLY PMs do this.

They will compose a well-written email, full of insight, questions, and directives, only to end their message with the two words that make me throw away any credibility that their previous writings may have generated.

“Please advise.”

You asked me questions, you shared opinions. Those should indicate you would like a response. And yet, you still feel the need to end your message with “Please advise,” as if I’m not intelligent enough to understand the purpose behind a question mark.

There’s an excellent blog post proving my point here:

There are people commenting on that post about how “It absolutely conveys to my boss (I am an executive secretary) that I must have his direction before I can proceed.”

Maybe instead of a lame signoff at the end of your email, you communicate clearly in your message as to what you want the reciever to do.

“Please advise” is a lazy cop-out for effective communication. State what you need, and follow up with that person. An email is only part of getting the job done.

PMs? Let’s try being a little less passive-aggressive, and start communicating or needs and ideas effectively.


2 responses to “Please advise…”

  1. Jeff Blankenburg Avatar
    Jeff Blankenburg

    This previous post exactly proves my point…the poster is using “Please Advise” in a passive-aggressive manner, instead of saying what they mean. Instead of using the-phase-that-is-not-to-be-named, tell the target of your message that you need an answer immediately.Or even better, tell them that if you haven’t heard back from them in 48 hours, you’re gonna assume you can do whatever it was you were asking about.That’s much more effective than passive aggression.

  2. Alexei Avatar

    i can see your point, but …what about this theory:now days we get so emails, in many occasions people just glance through and not even bother replying (guilty); so what if the person with “please advise” wants a response?please do not advise 🙂

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