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Project Managers: Don’t underestimate the importance of communication

Project Managers: Don’t underestimate the importance of communication

Bakers bake, fishermen fish, plumbers plumb, and project managers communicate.

Managing communications is vital for any project, but it’s especially important that project managers communicate effectively. It’s a fact that PM’s that communicate effectively deliver projects on time and within budget more often than those who do not. An effective project manager spends about 90% of his time communicating and 50% of that time is spent communicating with the team.

Importance of Effective Communication

Effective communication is the glue the holds a project team together. It should include a well-designed infrastructure with the ability to easily share the processes, messages, and documents among project stakeholders to keep them aligned with the project goals and informed of the project’s progress.

Improving Project Communications

The management and success of information technology projects rely on effective project communication management. The PM must ensure that essential and critical information reaches the right people at the right time. Some of the areas to be considered for improving project communications are:

  • Communication skills to resolve conflicts
  • Developing effective team communication skills
  • Using templates for project communications
  • Developing communication infrastructure

Effective project communications management includes:

  • Identify stakeholders – Identify all (people or organizations) impacted by the project and document relevant information on their interests, involvement, and impact on the success of the project. The stakeholders are identified early in the project, and their levels of interest, expectations, importance, and influence should be analyzed as critical information for project success.
  • Develop communications strategy – A best practice for a project plan is to include information on how the project will be executed, monitored, communicated, controlled, and closed. Stakeholders must provide details on how information will be shared and distributed with the team including organization process assets, lessons learned, and historical information. This provides valuable insight for decision-making and for managing issues in similar projects.
  • Process for information distribution – Implementing a reliable process and technology tools to make information available to project stakeholders is essential to project success. Project managers with proven communications experience keep the team in alignment and prepared to respond as needed when unexpected requests and issues occur.
  • Document and provide analytics on project status and team performance – Compiling and distributing performance information, including status reports, progress measurements, and forecasts, is critical to improving team performance. Status reports also provide important information on project scope, schedule, cost, and quality to manage expectations, monitor progress, and address issues. Experienced project managers are knowledgeable in reporting tools.

Benefits of effective project management communications strategy:

  • Increases the chance for project success
  • Manages stakeholders expectations
  • Improves team knowledge on the benefits and risks associated with the project, thus securing their involvement and support
  • Keeps the project on track by resolving stakeholder issues

Charter Global’s project managers include effective communications as part of their project management best practices to ensure that projects are delivered successfully.