Don't be na´ve
Don't ask questions like
- "Who runs the XYZ department?"
- Or, "Who really makes the decisions around here?"!
Instead, make it clear
- You are trying to get your project done
- So, ask questions like
- What is the extent of responsibility of the XYZ department?
- What is the mandate of the project portfolio committee?
- What is the fastest way to get a decision on this?
- Ask questions about people's roles
- (And not how well they perform!)