In project management, good communication is everything, with this article even describing it as the “lifeblood” of a project, and although it may sound a little dramatic – this description is not far wrong!
Communication is Key
This is because communication weaves through every part and stage of a project timeline, but it is important to note that it starts and ends with you because – after all – the success of a project ultimately rests on your shoulders and you will be the one giving the (hopefully clear) instructions! This same article also describes how poor communication is probably behind at least a whopping 90% of any issues encountered. This may sound sobering, but it’s actually a good thing because a) it shows that most issues can be prevented in the first place and b) no matter how difficult other people may be to deal with; you can start on the road to success by firstly paying attention to your own communication style.
Clear communication channels
Successful project management is the result of a chain of command with feedback able to flow up and down this chain so that any issues can be quickly identified and dealt with. When your job involves bringing a myriad of factors together – people, resources, finances, time management to name but a few – you can see how communication is indeed the lifeblood that keeps everything moving.
Here are 4 common problems that lead to poor communication symptoms:
- Lack of a formal communications plan
Change management courses will teach you that communications need to be tailored according to whether you are dealing with team members, stakeholders or the company director. Once a plan has been decided upon, then project management software can help keep everyone on the same page.
- Lack of the human touch
Management systems and other tools such as spreadsheets certainly have their place when co-coordinating a project. However, people aren’t robots to be ordered around and actually perform at their best when supported by their manager in human form. A few supportive words of praise or a problem-solving huddle can be just as important as emails and computer updates.
- Keeping remote workers out of the loop
It can be all too easy to overlook remote workers or independent contractors when they are out of the office, but they are still a key element of your team, and they need to be filled in as to any developments or delays in “real-time” so that they remain in the loop.
- Lost in interpretation
It is important to remember that communication is open to interpretation. It cannot be taken for granted that every message will be interpreted as intended and much depends on factors such as non-verbal cues, tone and even cultural differences. Dealing with change can be difficult, but change management consultants will advise on choosing the most effective medium for the message and that requesting confirmation/feedback will go a long way to smoothing out any potentially crossed wires.