Did you know that one out of five projects fails due to poor communication? Though it seems very trivial, communication plays the most vital role in making a project successful. It is the project manager’s duty to make sure that the team is well-connected and communicate to remain on the same track.
The communication strategy should be well-defined in the project plan so that every team member knows who to contact whenever required.
Nowadays, the communication strategy is even more important as many of the team members connect remotely and hence, the media of communication for specific purposes also should be defined centrally.
Let us see further, why is communication as important and how you can ensure effective communication in your project.
The Importance of Effective Communication
Communication becomes effective only when it is done in a timely manner, to the right audience, and in the right way. What should be spoken to, in person, should be done so at the right time to be effective. What needs to be communicated over an email should be emailed on time to the right recipients. Further, effective communication will feature the following:
- Simple and right Language
- Catering to the audience
- Observing the audience
- Active listening
These features help to communicate the ideas clearly in a way the intended audience can understand, modified according to their reaction within the right time-span in a straightforward and simple language that will attract active listening by the audience. These features make communication effective.
Unless you are working single-handedly on a project, that too for self, you need to communicate with the team members regarding the various aspects of the project.
It is best recommended to include the communication strategy in the project plan itself so that every member is aware of it and always remains in the loop.
Here are some advantages of Communication in Project Management:
When working in a team, however small it may be, it is very important that the entire teamwork is well-synchronized with each other and with the project’s ultimate goal. Lack of synchronization will result in a lot of rework, wasted efforts, and failure of the project as a whole. Within a project, when work is synchronized, it gets completed more efficiently and much faster.
To achieve synchronization, the PM should share the schedule with the entire team and it should be saved centrally. This ensures that at any given point of time, everyone has access to the same updated schedule so that they know their individual targets and how it would affect the course of the project.
This will instill a sense of responsibility which will help in better productivity and faster completion of the project. It will also ensure better integration between the various aspects of the project.
Early Detection of Shortfalls
Effective communication will ensure early detection of any shortfalls which will help the PM to rework on the plans and schedules and still manage to complete the project on time. Efficient risk management and use of buffers will help the PM to ensure timely delivery without compromising the quality of deliverables.
Early detection of errors will help take immediate corrective action which may save a lot of rework at a later stage and make sure superior integration.
Less Risk Involved
When the Project Manager ensures effective communication, the risk involved is less as everyone understands the project’s requirements; they know their own targets and work in synchronization with other team members which results in efficient working.
Project Goals Achieved
When everything is well-synchronized and communicated, the project goals also will be achieved in a timely manner. The integration of work done by individual team members will go smoother.
The team members remain motivated and work together towards the completion of the project without compromising on the quality.
What to Communicate?
Now we know how important it is to communicate with the team. It is also important to communicate well with the various stakeholders too. So now we will see what the PM should communicate to the entire team:
The project’s goal as a whole should be known to every team member. This will make sure that their individual goals add up to the final project goal. This is important for a synchronized team effort.
Plan and Schedule
The plan and schedule should be centrally stored and accessible to the team members anytime. This ensures that everyone knows what to do and by when to complete the same to stay on track.
Every team member should know their own deliverables and how they connect with each others’. This will ensure quality and timely delivery.
The team should be updated on the project’s status in a periodic manner. This can be achieved through weekly/periodic team meetings and technology-aided meetings that happen within the organization.
This is important to instill a sense of responsibility and to motivate all team members.
If any team member has any question to ask regarding the project, they should come up asking them and clearing their doubts for the benefit of the entire project.
The PM should encourage engaging in a question-answer session that helps improve the team’s thought process that will improve their productivity.
How to Communicate?
It is not only about the why, what and when to communicate, it is also about how to communicate effectively. Today, technology plays an important role in efficient project management. It also plays an important role in effective communication for Project management.
- Team Meetings – Daily/weekly/monthly team meetings ensure that the entire team is aware of the project’s current status.
- Telephone/Video Conferencing – When there are team members working remotely, telephone or video conferencing can be utilized to ensure proper communication regularly. Important instructions can be given and doubts clarified during the same.
- Technology Aided Communication – Where it is feasible, usage of modern communication methods such as WhatsApp/Slack messengers can be used for the quick exchange of information.
- Email Updates – All important and official communications should be emailed to all stakeholders.
- Bulletin Boards – For bigger teams, bulletin boards are an effective medium of communication. Any important announcements can be made using them.
- Project Newsletter – For longer projects, periodic newsletters will help to keep everyone updated on the happenings.
- Presentation – Presentations help to clearly communicate very important features and concepts of the project.
Informal team meetings, team outings, and recreations help refresh the relations and relieve some stress on the team. These too are interesting ways of communication to motivate the employees.
When to Communicate?
This question is very important. Constant communication is important to the success of every project. That does not mean the project manager should pester every team member for reports and status every now and then. Along with the project plan, the schedule for communication can also be made.
For example, for critical projects, daily team meetings can be scheduled, or else it can be weekly or monthly also. Similarly, certain communications should happen as and when they occur, such as clarification of doubts. A detailed communication strategy will also state whom to communicate in case of specific requirements which make it flawless. When this is centrally shared among the team members, communication becomes effective.
Effective Communication is critical to the success of every project. It is only when the entire team work in sync and are aware of their targets and schedules that they will be able to perform and complete the project on time.