Communication: the golden rule of project management
When it comes to project management, you could be a leader within your industry with the knowledge and experience to take on any challenge but without communication, you would be completely lost and so would the rest of your team.
Updated on 28th October 2019
Clear instructions from the person in charge are essential to the success of every project. Whether you are the CEO of a global organisation or the office manager at a small start up company; communication is vital, and this is why project management is key.
Working as a unit
The efficiency and level of communication from a project manager can set the standard of their skills. Research shows that a project manager should spend 90% of their time communicating and that 1/5 of projects often fail solely due to ineffective communication.
If you’re a credible communicator and an effective networker, then you are one step ahead of the game in project management. The key here is knowing how to communicate with each member of your team. Project management involves getting the best out of an often diverse group of people, you will need to evaluate each individual and decide the leading way to communicate with them.
A big part of getting the team to listen to your message is earning their trust. If members of the team respect and believe in what you are saying, they are more likely to want to make the project work for you. The best way to earn this is through building relationships with your team and taking the time to understand them and helping them to understand you.
Consider the following four categories of working style:
Identifying how your team works and who falls into which category will help to create a strong unit. Allow your team to offer suggestions and they could communicate a new way of working that could improve the effectiveness and deliverability of the project for the whole team.
Keep up to date
A popular way to communicate is via a status meeting. These meetings involve getting the whole team together at regular intervals to go over the progress made on the project. The frequency of these meetings will all depend on many factors of the project; the most common being monthly, weekly or even daily. The project manager would need to decide the appropriate frequency and would also need to lead the meeting.
Having an agenda for meetings is essential and will help to ensure everyone has a chance to communicate their progress and also to address anything relevant. An agenda should outline any updates the team need to be aware of and then be divided into suitable areas of the project so everything can be covered. This should allow for efficient communication throughout the project and will help to make sure everyone feels invested in what is going on and what everyone else is up to.
Communication in action
The act of communication in itself can be a challenging one; you will need to know the best way to get your point across so that your team can process the information correctly. Some individuals react positively to being told how the project is going and what the next steps should be, others will gain more insights if the results are shown on a graph or flow chart. As much as verbal communication is important in project management, a picture can say a thousand words and getting the message across in a variety of ways including in a hard format and always having something there to be referred back to is an ever more popular means of leading a team.
Consider all the individuals you will need to communicate with to ensure you can deliver a full picture to your team. A project manager should communicate effectively with relevant stakeholders to obtain information and also by reporting back the progress of the team. Stakeholders will want clear and concise updates on how things are going to measure the progress against the original business case and ensure that what they want is being delivered how they want it.
Being able to communicate and to strategically understand people are 2 of the most important skills when it comes to project management.
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