Project Management:

Business Communication

Project Communication

A Key Prerequisite of Getting the Right Things Done in the Right Way

 

 

Target Information Users and their Information Needs

Target Users (project stakeholders)

  • Project manager

  • Project team

  • Sponsor

  • Functional management

  • Customers

Project Information Categories

  • Authorizations (any document that represents an agreement: project plans; budgets; organization chart; responsibility matrix; product specifications, etc.)

  • Status changes (regular cost and schedule status reports; problem logs, etc.)

  • Coordination (tasks and responsibilities; relationships between groups; etc.)

Objectives of Project Communication

Types of Project Communication

  • Internal communicating within the project team

  • External communication with upper management, customers, and external players

  • Change management

  • Close-out reporting

Visibility Room

Visibility rooms are the areas displaying  key project documents for easy reference by the project stakeholders. They should contain the following kind of documents:

Your People Skills

Effective Communication

Business Communication

Great Problem Solver

4 Types of Problems

4 Levels of Problem Solving

Strategic Problem Solving

Solving People Problems

Creative Problem Solving (CPS)

Turning Problems Into Opportunities

 

References:

  1. Getting Started in Project Planning, P.Martin and K.Tate

  2. Project Manager's MBA, Cohen E. Graham

  3. ICB IPMA Competence Baseline, International Project Management Association (IPMA)

  4. The Fast Forward MBA in Project Management,  Erich Verzuh

Why Project Communication?

While cutting back on project communication can add short-term advantage and time saving, it will create long-term problems.

Constant, effective communication among all project stakeholders ranks high among the factors leading to the success of a project. It is a key prerequisite of getting the right things done in the right way. As knowledge is power, sharing knowledge empowering every project stakeholder.

Communication Plan

A project communication plan is the written strategy for getting the right information to the right project stakeholders at the right time. Each stakeholder has different requirements for information as they participate in the project in different ways.

Preplanning can reduce the work of communication. For instance, you can distribute lists for standard materials such as project updates, or set up a project "war room" with a bulletin board.

Making Information Timely

For information to be used, it has to be delivered to its target users timely. As a project manager, while developing your communication plan, you need to decide how often to contact each stakeholder and with what information.

Communicating within the Team

Internal communication within the project teams is to meet their four major communication needs4:

  1. Responsibility of each team member for different parts of the project

  2. Coordination information that enables team members to work together efficiently

  3. Status information tracking the progress, identifying problems and enabling team members to take corrective action

  4. Authorization information - decisions made by customers, sponsors, and upper management - that relates to the project and its business environment, and enables the team members to keep all project decisions synchronized.

Internal communications happen primarily through team meetings, memos, voice mail, and e-mail. Project managers need to be able to write, speak and listen well, lead meeting and resolve conflicts effectively.

Communicating with Upper Management and Customers

External stakeholders, such as sponsor, customer and resource manager, must be kept informed of progress and their inputs solicited. "The communication plan should detail the strategy not only for informing these stakeholders, but for actively managing their expectations as well4".

Answer the following questions to decide what information should be relayed to managers and customers:

  • Who needs information, why, and when?

  • What type of information will they need and in what detail?

  • What will you goal be when you communicate with customer and management and what medium will best accomplish that?

Communicating with other External Players

Every component and every stakeholder in your project, however a minor role he or she may play, is important. Even minor role players have the potential to come out large if they fall behind schedule, eventually affecting your critical path. So, don't make the mistake of assuming that all players outside your department or your company, nominated as contact persons, are already on board psychologically. Be proactive in making them a successful part of your project through making personal contact, establishing some rapport face to face, asking for their help, providing them with all necessary information timely, and sending thank-you notes acknowledging their level contribution to them personally and their supervisors.

Change Management

Set up an Escalation Procedure for rapid communication with upper management when a project begins to run over cost or schedule, or rapid decisions need to be made in response to internal or external changes. This escalation should determine which level of upper management to contact depending on the degree of variance from the project plan4.

Close-out Reporting

The deliverables from the project close-out serve two purposes. They:

  1. finalize the project in the eyes of the stakeholders, and

  2. present a learning opportunity.

Formal acceptance of the final deliverables by the customer signifies that the project is complete. The lessons-learned report presents opportunities for improvement of both your project management process and your personal skills.