Project Communications Management
Successful project managers take responsibility for communication. If the project manager doesn’t clearly understand the sponsor, stakeholders, or team members needs and expectations, they have failed to handle these responsibilities. Unfortunately, this failure is common, communication is not sufficiently handled, and it is intimately tied to not taking enough time to invest in building good and understanding relationships and meaningful discussions.
Ninety percent of a project managers job is communicating. The communication responsibilities include identifying the stakeholders, planning what communications will be appropriate, distributing and receiving information, managing stakeholders expectations, and providing performance reporting.
Establish a Communication Focal Point
Establish who will be providing direction and information on your project rather than allowing for the confusion regarding who to go to. During busy projects conflicting information and confusion need to be avoided and one of the keys to success is establishing the project manager as the communication focal point.
In order to be effective in this communication focal point role, the project manager must allocate time in their schedule for both planned and unplanned communications. They need to have methods for proactively reaching out to stakeholders and team members (push) and also encouraging people to come to them as needed (pull).
Do not overwhelm the team with too much information but make it very clear what their priorities are, what they should be working on currently and in the near future, what the status of the overall project is, and where they can come to at any time for all of the information they could possibly want.
Channels of Communication
This is the formula for calculating communication channels in a project, where N equals the number of people on the project.
The ‘Delphi technique’ is a commonly used tool to secure expert judgment while initiating a project. This is commonly done virtually. This is a three-step process of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. In thesis and antithesis, all present their opinion or views on a given subject, establishing views and opposing views. In synthesis, opposites are brought together to form the new thesis. All participants are then to accept ownership of the new thesis and support it, changing their own views to align with the new thesis. Through a continual process of evolution, Oneness of Mind will supposedly occur.
“Effective communication builds trust, partnership and collaboration and creates synergy in teams.” – Anonymous