Communication – the Key to Project Success?
Without a doubt, no project will succeed if it has no organisation, planning or management of its costs, but even with these crucial factors in place, an overriding key to a successful outcome for any project manager is good communication. If team members don’t know who’s doing what, what corrective action needs to be taken, or what’s been done the project can fail. If key stakeholders aren’t in possession of the facts around the project status, important decisions can be missed or made incorrectly and the project can fail.
Effective project communications is all about the right people knowing what’s going on and having that information in a timely way. Stakeholders need to be informed about the parts of the project that impact them so they can act in the right way based on that information.
Be careful not to swamp people though. Targeted information and communications is essential, but too much information that is irrelevant is about as bad as not enough communications and it then can simply become ‘noise’ that recipients end up ignoring. So, it’s important to know what you are communicating, who it is going to and what the right message is.
Make sure you understand the message you need to get across and ensure it goes out in the right format. For example, you might need to update stakeholders on project progress, so a concise email summarising key points might be sufficient. Or, you might want to make team members aware of the current status of project risks and issues – online project management applications like Basecamp, Central Desktop and Wrike, allow you to upload documents and files to a central location so all involved have access to real-time up to date information. In this way, your risk & issue log can be stored and accessed centrally, ensuring that the information is never out of date.
Irrespective of how you are getting your message out there, via email, centrally accessed documents, verbal updates at meetings, make sure the meaning of what you’re communicating is clear and isn’t overly complicated with extra information that isn’t really needed.
And remember, take feedback as you progress through your project. Ask those that you’ve communicated with if it has worked for them and take the time to listen to and understand any constructive criticisms that can help you to improve your communications in future.
For more information on online project management tools that can help you manage both your projects and your communications, please see: