Lack of communication is one of the major complaints in project management. To be a successful project manager, you must be an excellent communicator. This type of skill is hardly ever perfect and requires continuous improvement.
You can rely on communication skills to some extent, but incorrect methods can lead to collaborative failure. Communication methods are tools used to transmit different types of information between team members or stakeholders.
They don't only need to receive information, but to understand it as well. Additionally, feedback and response received from stakeholders are also necessary for successful communication. There are a couple of communication methods in project management, and we are going to examine the most important ones.
Effective communication in project management
The foundation of a successful project is effective communication. It has the power to unite the stakeholders, team members and make them focus on the project's budget, objectives, and strategy. Effective communication also helps everyone understand their roles and support the project in the right way.
On the other hand, the lack of communication leads to more risks, misunderstandings, and an inability to meet desired outcomes. If you want to achieve more effective project communication, make sure to implement the following strategies.
Communication should be your priority. Communication needs to take the central stage in your project planning. It's crucial to make an effort and engage in communication strategies and develop a communication plan.
Don't be too confident in your knowledge. Ask for help if you are struggling in some areas. Don't assume you know everything because there are likely more experienced and skilled people than you. Also, allow stakeholders to express their opinion every time the opportunity presents itself.
Be positive. We're not saying you should keep bad news from stakeholders, but you shouldn't bother them with gloom-and-boom updates, since they are probably already nervous about the project's progress. Only share things they need to know and include solutions.
Use different communication channels in project management. Even though weekly emails are great, occasional phone calls, face-to-face meetings, graphs, and new charts improve communication processes and help stakeholders and team members pay attention to details.
Provide regular updates. You shouldn't overwhelm stakeholders with too many details. Project updates should be concise, clear, and delivered in an appropriate time frame.
Impact of different communication methods in project management
Poor communication is the main reason why many projects fail. We will go through the worst and the best communication methods to see how they impact project management.
The worst communication methods
Email: ever since it appeared in the 1990s, email has been one of the most important business communication methods. However, if you are trying to convey an urgent message or send important documents, email might not be a suitable option because there are so many other faster ways.
Video conference: initially, video conferencing was introduced to bridge the gap between office and remote employees. This may be a great solution on the surface, but when too many people participate, their voices may overlap, and you won't know who is talking or wants to talk, which leads to missed crucial points.
Meetings: based on some estimates, an average worker spends nearly 23 days in meetings annually, and 56% of those meetings are generally unproductive. Also, we should mention that 32% of staff tend to fall asleep during a meeting, while 63% don't even have a planned schedule.
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The best communication methods
A platform with centralized access. Using a platform with centralized access ensures your team has control over information shared among team members or stakeholders. Communication becomes more efficient, and you don't have to waste time on details.
Transparency. It guarantees project managers maintain a good relationship with stakeholders and allows them to be honest and clear about their expectations.
Project communication tools. They offer a high level of functionality and all the features needed for successful communication in one place. So, instead of using numerous tools, you can use one that ensures all relevant pieces of information don't slip through the cracks.
How does poor communication affect a project?
Bad project leadership. Without successful communication in project management, project leadership is incomplete. If a project leader doesn't possess great communication skills, they can't have the capacity to plan into the future, think clearly, and look ahead.
Unhappy customers. If you execute poor communication skills, it can make your customers dissatisfied, even if you managed the project well and delivered everything on time. However, if your project has some failings, and you manage to communicate these issues effectively, your stakeholders and clients will understand.
Loss of confidence. Senior management always needs to be familiar with the project's status. But if a project manager fails to communicate with them, they will lose trust in both the project and project manager. Risking a senior's management disappointment can ruin your project and jeopardize your career.
Poor team engagement. Project managers can't engage and motivate their team members without excellent communication skills. Their role is to connect all employees and make them work towards a mutual goal, and this connection is only achieved through effective communication.
Bad project culture. If you want to ensure successful project delivery, you must have an excellent project culture. The lack of weekly internal meetings and weak information flow can cause bad project culture.
The importance of project communication management
Project managers have different types of roles and responsibilities as part of their day-to-day job. Everything comes down to their efforts in getting everyone involved and focused on the same goals. The project manager must be skilled at collecting relevant information and sharing it with team members.
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As we already explained, without proper communication, there is no project management. Most of the time, project managers coordinate efforts to gather information and disseminate it across all people involved in a project.
Without effective communication, some efforts might be duplicated. Team members could miss important deadlines or dislocate resources, which eventually leads to project failure. Additionally, all responsible parties won't be kept up to date or be able to follow the project's status.
Be aware that the lack of transparency can make your project suffer irreversible damage. Here are a few reasons which justify the importance of communication in project management:
- It transfers information
- Makes sure that information is received
- Ensures that all problems are discussed and resolved
- Overcomes the language gap and cultural barrier