Project Management is 1/3 planning and 2/3 communication. The greatest plan will never be successful if communication is lacking. Here are 5 ways to improve your project communication and stay better connected with your employees.
Start with the Right Goals
From the very start of a project, begin working with your employees to create expectations about what a successful project looks like. Get everyone on the same page with this. What does a successful implementation look like? What does successful issue management look like? It’s important to get agreement on how various stages of success look so you can recognize when things are not up to plan. When the whole team, sponsors and employees agree on what success looks like, then all can help keep the project on track.
Provide a way for your team to collaborate with each other on the project. Cloud computing is an easy way to create an environment where people have access to the same tools and the same data, wherever and whenever they wish. Customers and sponsors can also have access to areas of the environment to get real-time status information. Far fewer questions occur when people have access to the information they want to look at. The cloud is a better resource in which to collaborate than attempting a tradition client-server approach to application and data sharing.
Educate the Educated
Don’t assume that team members, sponsors and your employees understand all of the project management processes, data and reports. Perform targeted training of the methodology to team members. Go over the reports you will create with all the members of the team. Resist changing the method or reporting until the reasons are clearly understood and all are agreed. The goal is to implement a successful project and you won’t be focused on that if you are dealing with numerous change requests to the procedures you plan to use.
The Networked Approach
Social media gives project managers many new communication opportunities. It’s a way to easily distribute information and status. It gives the project team (and project manager) creditability for making the information visible.
Cloud computing company Rackspace maintains a Google+ account, allowing the company to leverage that social network to create conversations with co-workers and potential customers. They can address any issues while mining for data that will help them develop their products along the lines that their customers need.
Professional networks such as LinkedIn and Gantthead give you an opportunity to create forums where team members can get information and resolve potential issues.
Communication is a Team Effort
While the project manager may be the primary communication point for a project, they are not the only point. Identify the strong communicators on your team and work with them to take responsibility for the communication that comes out of their respective areas. Your effort will create a core team of people that will be the first to address any issues that may come up on the project. Challenges will often be resolved within this group without the need to escalate to higher levels.
Addressing the communication needs of a project is a task every project manager must do well. Improve your communication style and the role of project manager becomes a more successful and fulfilling function