Project management practices include creating a communication plan in the initial phases of the project.
It would be quite impossible to manage a project without communication with all stakeholders. Requirements, details, and solutions must be well discussed and approved by all important people in the chain of command.
Each step requires some new task to talk about, and that task depends on another task, solution, or person. Nowadays, almost every organization has tools, such as a database and software with all employees, boards, and teams, but even the best tools will not matter without effective communication. In other words, we need to know how to talk to our people. Reference: Communication plan in project management
Improving communication in project management
So what are some of the best ways to improve our communication in project management? They are:
- Communication plan for project management
- Best communication and business skills in project management
- How project managers communicate successfully
- The project manager sets the tone for effective communication
Project management communication plan
The importance of communication in project management cannot be emphasized enough. And every good project starts with a solid communication plan. This is just a basic strategy that describes in detail what effective communication will look like in each project. A well thought out communication management plan brings trust and success to the entire team and will support your project as:
- Creates written documentation.
- Sets expectations when stakeholders will receive updates. Increases visibility for project stakeholders and their status.
- Provides an opportunity for stakeholders to provide feedback that can help the team identify problems in the beginning and reduce lost work.
- Increases productivity during meetings.
The key components for an effective communication project management plan
- Development of goals.
- Identify the main players. Which team members and stakeholders should be involved and to what extent? Who should be present at all meetings and who should participate only in terms of approval? Does everyone understand their roles?
- Discuss the dependencies of the tasks and how they will be performed (or not). Search for potential obstacles and risks along the way. On top of that, every member of the team needs to know what needs to be done before starting their work.
- We need to be realistic in time and scale. Always remember the cardinal rule of communication in project management – do not overdo it!
- Adjust when necessary. Like most things in life, a project probably won’t go according to plan. We need to be flexible and honest enough with our team to adjust on the go when needed.
Project management is not just about tools and processes. This is more for people. Good project managers develop relationships that ultimately help projects move smoothly.
This does not mean that tools such as team collaboration software are not useful. Useful project management software will help our team share ideas and make decisions together.
The resourceful project manager knows how to manage these tools, details and people through meaningful strategic conversations. They get the best out of people – making the introvert a little more outspoken while coming up with a way to make the difficult team member a little easier to handle.
We can make a communication plan about an event or about a stakeholder
Communication plan with suppliers, subcontractors and companies producing specific things, if any, may be well described in a separate communication plan. Communication is mainly by phone and e-mail, as well as drawing up and complying with contracts, urgent delivery, quality, price, etc.
Good communication skills in project management
- I’m listening. Effective project managers don’t just wait their turn to speak. We need to listen to our team – both good and bad – to really understand the problems and look for ways to fix them.
- Emphasize speed efficiency. It is good to make sure that our team knows that walking at 60 km per hour to a certain distance is much better than walking at 100 km per hour in a circle.
- Asking questions. Listening is one thing, but to get to the bottom of processes and situations, we need to ask important questions to the client.
- I respect my team. Project management is about relationships. When we treat our team well, they will (usually) treat us the same way in return.
- Keeping everyone in check. Just because a project manager knows what’s going on doesn’t mean everyone else is. Therefore, monthly, weekly or even daily project updates should be sent to ensure that all participants are informed and up to date.
We clarify with a guide on confidentiality and policy responses
What information and problems are imported or exported from the project. Which of all participants will have what information and what we can ask or receive in response.
How we communicate with customers and external parties, what information we exchange in different cases. How do we react, what actions do you take in case of various problems such as delays in time, reduction of quality, problems with the teams, lack of finances and resources, etc.
How project managers communicate successfully
Let’s think about our project management communications in terms of routine procedures. As project managers, we want to make sure that we move the flow of information in a way that is expected. This allows our teams to easily share information and demand more when needed.
Let’s look at some basic ways to make sure that project communication goes to and from the right people:
- Set project expectations
- When we start a project, we make sure that everyone – including our teams and stakeholders
- they know what is expected of them throughout the project. We also need to know what everyone else expects of us.
Some good ways to do this:
- We create a table for responsible, accountable, consult and inform (RACI matrix).
- Discussion of the goals of our project and planning.
- We discuss what forms of communication we will use during the project.
The most important thing is to get the details of the table and ask: What does the success and failure of this project look like?
When we are honest about what a project victory looks like – whether it is at the administrative end or in communications for previous project management, we will have a much easier time to set expectations at the beginning.
Discussion of the project results
This generates more confidence in what we build and will also hold the team members responsible for project decisions. Through just a brief review and discussion, we take steps to eliminate the risk that ongoing delivery will negatively affect our scope later.
Conducting status meetings
Regular meetings for the condition, which can be daily (15 minutes) or weekly (50 minutes).
Productive meetings will include:
- Written agenda
- Updated status report
- Possible next steps and goals
- Minutes after the meeting (description of all adopted decisions, responsible for implementation, deadlines, etc.), which will be sent by e-mail to all interested departments and persons to be responsible for all participants in the meeting.
- Next meeting scheduled
We inform stakeholders so that they can see progress and know where they fit into the process. Read this product management case study for a real story related to our list.
Being project managers requires us to be curious – we need to understand processes, people and results. It is likely that we will work with someone who invents a new way of working or engages in a new rotation of something we are working on. This is great! We just make sure we understand it – and that we can formulate what, why, when and how of this new thing.
Most importantly, we should never be afraid to ask questions of our teams. Ultimately, this is a win-win situation for us and our team, because the more we understand the work, the easier it is to advocate for it with stakeholders or to plan similar activities in future projects.
The project manager sets the tone for effective communication
No matter what we do, we need to be open to discussing different topics with our team. We need to know what is best for the project, while we are open and ready to adapt, this will establish positive cooperation.
We should always monitor the situation in the team, whether someone is overworked, whether our deadlines are not aggressive, whether we should hire more people, etc. All this together will lead to success.