It’s all about Communication…

While thinking of what topic to post about, I thought of my personal experience in project management and wondered what key concepts constantly hinders project performance. Communication is the first thing that comes to my mind. Generally speaking, we all know the importance and significance of communication when it comes to our personal relationships. It is really important to understand others and to be understood in order to maintain healthy and strong relationship ties.

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Similarly, and given that my professional job revolves around projects, I’ve come to realize that like in relationships, effective communication is key within projects. Unfortunately, communication is usually overlooked and the consequence is reflected through delays in project timelines and increase in number of failed projects. To back this notion, the plus study by PMI revealed that the most crucial success factor in project management is effective communications. The report also highlighted, on an average, one-half of those unsuccessful projects (i.e. 2 out of every 5 projects) are related to ineffective communication, illustrated in the graph below:

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When dealing with projects, communication is important at each and every level – from project initiation to closure. Thus, it is important to meticulously outline and articulate project requirements to the intended stakeholders, for example – using a daily encounter – imagine your boss delegates a work assignment to you and you are not properly briefed regarding the exact requirements. This communication gap translates into unmet project expectations and hence unsatisfactory project outcomes. How many times did you find yourself a victim of such a scenario? Now imagine the same example in a project set and on multiple task levels. Devastating, right? This highlights the significance of effective communication to project performance.

Moreover, given that the importance of communication has been established, it is crucial to identify various ways in which we can maintain effective communication within our projects. Below details few ideas that I compiled based on my experience and what we covered in class:

  • Preparing a formal communication plan and using standardized communication reporting tools – particularly within medium to large-scale projects.
  • Ensuring clarity and language of the message; meaning tailoring the message for each stakeholder as per their understanding and using the most preferred communication channel.
  • Making people understand their role and contribution to the project and getting their full buy-ins can help elevate their communication and commitment to the project.
  • Communication is two ways; hence, it is important to keep all the relevant stakeholders informed with the project’s status when necessary to ensure their responsiveness.

Thus, next time you are assigned a project I hope the first thing that comes to your mind revolves around different strategies you would adopt in order to ensure effective communication within your projects.

Remember, “a good communication process helps you to be predictive, that’s important, because if you are always reactive it’s too late. The project is already off the tracks.”

Question:

How many times did you find yourself a victim of ineffective communication? what did you do about it?

Sources:

http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Knowledge%20Center/Communications_whitepaper_v2.ashx

http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Business-Solutions/The-High-Cost-Low-Performance-The-Essential-Role-of-Communications.ashx

9 thoughts on “It’s all about Communication…

  1. I totally agree with you Mariam. Communication is the most effective tool in any assignment, without it the link will be broken. I liked that you touch based on delegating a task without proper briefing, you feel like lost and don’t know from where to start hence it raises stress and consumes more time to accomplish this task. I wish that people realize that and be more thorough when delegating a task.

  2. I completely agree with your post Mariam, communication is key for effectiveness in a project. Poor communication skills will not serve a project any good, what’s the point of working on a project if you have no idea what it may be for or what are the different aspects required to complete the project/task. Communication, I believe is the strongest skillset required by any team leader, a great communicator will most definitely lead to a successful project.

  3. I completely agree with your post Mariam, communication is the most essential total in a team project. When communication fails in a project the entire project could go for a toss, as important planning details might be forgotten, as well as documents and legal paperwork. Therefore when working in a group it is essential to ensure that your are able to communicate properly.

  4. This post comes to confirm the recent challenges we have been facing in projects execution. Having worked with two different PMs, i can but agree that communication is a key to successful projects. As a PM you should be able not only to communicate the projects requirements but also help people see beyond the short time of the project by linking your work to the corporate big picture. A PM should not be a shy person, but should have the required personality traits and competencies that, practiced through follow up and proper communication, can make things happen. When I encountered a PM who is not communicating effectively i usually ask a lot of questions and would not mind going to other team members to get clarity on the project. As they say, “at the end somebody has to do the job”

  5. I absolutely agree with the above post. Communication is the key success in project management. Lack of effective communication would hinder the project’s performance. Communication should not be limited to the planning phase but should also be used during the reviewing and closure phases. I believe that managers with good communication skills will unquestionably have successful projects.

  6. I totally agree with the post because if there is no communication between co-workers there is absolutely no chance to get the project done on time. Communication is considered one of the important steps in starting a project and managers should know that. The first example that comes to mind is when a patient goes to the doctor he has to explain to him what is wrong with him by communicating with the him otherwise the doctor will not know what exactly troubles the patient.

  7. I totally agree with your post. Communication plays a critical function in day to day life and particularly when it gets to the top-level managers- middle managers-subordinates. It is also honest to clarify anything when noting down the prerequesties which can also help in accomplishing the tasks. I firmly believe strong communication by all odds makes the project successful.

  8. i would like to thank you for your important topic about communication.
    i am working in public hospital. We use to work without any communication between doctors, nurses and management. that cause a series problem and extra load on doctors where there was some patient seeing from different doctors and different diagnoses some of them had to make the same test for several time which is more load for the nurses that was happen because of the poor communication.
    now we have our strong communication where we have a computer system engage the whole department together where you can consult any doctor anytime during the working day. there is also the history of all patient on the system where you can use it.
    this system help us to help patient to save time and effort.

  9. I totally agree. Effective communication skills are fundamental to success in many aspects of life. It’s the key interpersonal skill that some people are privileged with more than others. In corporate life, we should be clear about the messages we are sending either verbally or via any communication channel. In my opinion, we always have communication issues in our projects, therefore, good project managers have to set clear communication plan, allow their peers to address their questions clearly and always seek constructive feedback. On the other hand, they should be good listeners, perceptive to new ideas, all of this will help in understanding thus communicating effectively. Having said that, being shy or giving negative or unconstructive interpretations will not take the project further, on the contrary, it will lead to unsuccessful results, delay or even taking the person off track.

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