Keep everyone in the know - Effective project communication planVarpu Jokinen
Dysfunctional project communication will most likely have an effect on the overall performance and on the end result of your project. What you need are a sender and a receiver, right? straightforward. What could go wrong? There can be many reasons why communication does not succeed. It has not been planned, there are misinterpretations, messages are lost or never send out.
This blog post will handle common challenges in project communication and offer simple solutions to improve project communication. A major part of project communication happens in written form on different platforms: e-mail, instant messenger apps, intranets etc. Sure we have the videos also, but the written form is still the main form.
What are we talking about..
Successful project communication is a sum of many different factors. When you start thinking about communication, it is a crucial part of our lives. A little bit of history never hurt anybody. So, let’s have a look at Lasswell’s 5Ws in communication (what, why, who, where, when) and one 1H (how)
You need to identify the audience for your messages. It can be any stakeholder, colleague, superior etc. You will most likely want to tailor the message according to the audience or receiver. When you are drafting your project communication plan think about your different audiences. What does each audience need to know about this project? You can divide the whole audience into smaller groups. This makes it easier to target your messages during your project.
What is it you want to tell you audience? Is it a motivational talk at the beginning of a project? Or is it a project update report with a financial summary for the board of directors?
Delivery method: How
In what channel/how will you transfer the message? It can be in a project team meeting, collaboration workshop, in a presentation, e-mail (even a traditional paper mail?), instant messenger. Here you need to think about the audience and what is the message. So we will proceed step by step.
How often the message needs to be communicated? Is it a weekly project summary, Adhoc, meeting?
What it is that you need to achieve with this message? What is the effect? Are you sending out a general message to your stakeholders on the project progress or is it something more precise? You maybe need to get feedback from your audience or task to be completed. Compose your message according to your goal.
Few words for project managers
It is good to keep in mind that communication is not a one-way street. Keeping all the right stuff going is a demanding job. You need to see that project communication is planned and serves the project goals. That all the right people are in the right loop at the right time. That the client is heard by the right person.
So, in principle, the project communication seems pretty straightforward. Of course, only a few projects are similar and completed by the same team. Modern working life is based more and more on freelance work and collaboration over company and organization borders. PMI.org describe communication as a lifeblood of a project and that success of a project depends on the efficiency of its communication network.
Effective communication pushes the project forward through its entire lifespan. You start with publishing your project plan and ensure that all understand what are the goals of your project. You communicate next steps to the stakeholders, customers or other parts of your own organization. In the end, you will most likely report your learnings, gather feedback and evaluate the outcome of your project.
Project communication, reasons why it goes wrong?
We have discussed earlier about flooded communication channels and about fragmented communication. These same issues often occur in project communication. Participants are insufficiently informed and the project manager might not be aware of that Hailer is a simple way to communicate and keep the right information available for the right people. In a bigger scale, there can arise problems that are related to politics, cultural and linguistic differences. Most important thing is that the project manager has a 360 view on the progress.
Planning of the project communication happens already in the implementation of Hailer network. When your project structures are modelled into Hailer, you can already start thinking who needs to know this information and create the workflow in a way that supports your project communication plan. Your projects can be about sales, construction, marketing, it does not matter.
You can invite even external stakeholders or important customers to participate in the project in the same project management platform and reduce unnecessary interfaces or middlemen. Also when your own organization is well organized and the data is easily available, you avoid the silo problem.
When the project structure is defined you can also decide what data you collect at each point of your project. The data is collected in the same place, where communication takes place. They are tied together seamlessly. Read how available data boosts the decision making in an organization.
This way your team can stay better informed. If you need to communicate the progress of your project or news the information for your message is easily available. If you need the keep a clear track on each communication plan task and stage you can easily build a linked workflow to manage it. We at Hailer are happy to help you to sort out any project communication-related challenges, do not hesitate to contact us.
Are you curious? You can create your own Hailer network easily: