Sunday, May 22, 2016, AM | Leave Comment
Many years ago, a good project manager might have gotten away with being a poor communicator. The sponsor typically didn’t like it, but as long as the project manager could deliver the goods, the sponsor may have been inclined to let him or her do his/her own thing.
In today’s world, however, projects need to be undertaken in partnership with the business, and this partnership absolutely requires solid communication.
In fact, many of the problems that surface on a project are actually the result of poor communication.
Poor communication can lead to the following trouble areas.
Differences in expectations
People are surprised
No one knows what the state of the project is
People are impacted by the project at the last minute
Team members don’t know what is expected of them.
What’s the Solution?
Some project managers are just poor communicators to begin with. If you think you are in this group, you should look for training or mentoring opportunities to become better skilled.
However, in most cases, the problem with communication is not a lack of skills, but a lack of focus. Many project managers place communication on the bottom of their priority list. When they do communicate, it tends to be short and cryptic, as if they are trying to get by with the minimum effort possible.
The key to communicating is to keep the reader as the focal point – not the sender. Try to think about what the receiver of the communication needs and the information that will be most helpful to him or her.
If you are creating a status report, put in all the information necessary for the reader to understand the true status of the project, including accomplishments, issues, risks, scope changes, etc.
If a resource is needed in the future, communicate proactively with the resource manager as early as possible. Then, keep reminding him or her of the need as the time gets closer. For the most part, surprising someone is a sign that communications are not effective. (The only exception is when the project manager is also surprised.)
The project manager should also communicate clearly with their team. If people are confused about their end-dates or if they are doing work they don’t need to do, think about whether communications are effective.
Many projects have problems. Poor communication can cause many problems and aggravate others. On the other hand, proactive communication can help overcome many other mistakes.
Don’t consider communication to be a necessary evil. Instead, use it to your advantage to help your project go smoothly with less frustration, less uncertainty and no surprises.
This column is © copyright to www.Method123.com and originally appeared in their weekly project management tip newsletter.
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