Project Management Communication Skills

Those of you with any managerial experience have most likely learned firsthand just how devastating a lack of communication can be to the success of a project. Contrary to what you may be thinking, communication and effective communication are two very different entities; so how can you make sure you are effectively communicating?

Developing Clear Communication

Taking a little extra time to establish a clear hierarchy for projects and establishing an expectation of reporting and accountability is essential to managerial success. As the leader of a project, the overall success or failure will land directly upon your shoulders, so you will need a plan for action to say the least. Here are a few steps to streamline the process.

Determine the End Goal of Your Project

While many different theories exist on how to effectively manage a project, I am a firm believer in reverse engineering. By starting at the end, you will be able to see exactly what steps are needed to complete the project.

Plan for the Amount of Resources Required

Although you may be ready to jump in and get started, you will often find that “slow is steady, and steady is fast”. Now in this particular case, I simply mean that by carefully planning exactly what you will need ahead of time, you can save time further into a project when you are not scrambling to gather resources or manpower. As for planning, here is a favorite quote of mine: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”-Benjamin Franklin. So, keep that in mind when you are preparing for a project as well.

Delegate Tasks Based Upon Qualification

One of the biggest causes of drama and leading killers of productivity in the workplace is playing favorites. Now whether this is based upon nepotism or just who you like the most, selecting employees for a position this way is non-ethical and counterproductive. The bottom line is, do not do it.

Designate Clear Goals for Each Employee

When your supervisor sends a project to you, most likely it will come with clear expectations. Since you are the manager, it is now your job to define your expectations to each employee in regards to the project. This should include the desired end result of their work, who to communicate and collaborate with, and when the task needs to be completed. While the micro-managing of employees is often counterproductive, you will find that clearly defining goals is always beneficial.

Define Reporting Expectations and Deadlines

After you have made it clear to all team members what is to be completed, you should enable them a clear line of communication. How exactly this will work depends upon the project at hand and your preferences. Do you want every team member reporting directly to you? Would it make sense to add a point of contact within the group to organize and report to you? Remember, you know your team better than anyone else, so take the habits of each employee into consideration when deciding.

After Action Reviews

Once a project has been successfully completed, you should gather your team and review the task. This can be a formal review or just a gathering to cover what went great and what could have gone better. As the manager, it will be up to you to ensure that the meeting is organized and key points are covered. One great way to do this is use a set of forms for each after action review. If you are not sure how to make some of your own, you can find some great free management templates online.

This Project Management Communication Skills Template will help you to produce a project communications management plan. The purpose of this plan is simply to ensure all formal communications with the project stakeholders are managed properly. These recorded communications are essential for the proper management of a project ensuring its objective is achieved in a timely fashion with financial prudence whilst attaining user acceptance.

Managing a Project Team eBook
This eBook explains what makes managing people in a project environment are different from managing them in a departmental setting.
ISBN 978-1-62620-984-2 (62 Pages) PDF Format

Key Points

  • Communication is a critical skill for project success, both for keeping team members up-to-date and for winning the support of key stakeholders.
  • Projects can create a huge volume of data that needs to be collated and analyzed before being communicated to stakeholders.
  • A comprehensive communications plan can help the project manager get these tasks under control.
  • It can also help you to evaluate the different communication methods available and select those most appropriate to the project.

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