Project communication management should be straightforward and clear, yet many projects face communicative problems which often lead to project delays, assumptions and even failure. For this reason, it is essential to perfect communication management in project management to help ensure overall project success.
What is a Project Communication Plan?
A communication plan is essentially a plan that outlines the communication processes that will be used throughout the project. Communication is a two-way street. This means that everyone involved in the project should be considered in terms of communication. This can be done by involving team members and gaining feedback on how they feel communication is most effective. It is also important to clearly communicate the decided communication plan to everyone.
Different projects may require different communication plans. However, there are number of pointers that stay consistent throughout all projects communication plans. Starting with the basics of the project and its aims and how they are planned to be achieved is the first step in communicating the project to your team. Secondly the project plan should be reviewed and analysed by everyone involved in the project, so that the strengths and weaknesses of the plan can be identified and discussed. Looking back at past projects and discussing past failures or issues is an important learning process that should be applied to new projects so that the processes can be improved.
Project management communication strategies should include guidelines about how the project will be carried out that are clear and available to everybody involved with the project as well as the project schedule. Updates on project progress are also a useful communicative tool that should be included as part of the communication plan.
Project Management Communication Tools
Various project management software offer communication tools that will help to add value to the communication strategy of a team. Sinnaps, the online planning software, offers several communication tools as part of the project communication management process:
- Accessibility: The project plan itself serves as communication of what needs to be done and who is involved. For this reason, communication methods in project management should be accessible constantly to team members. Sinnaps is accessible from any platform, from anywhere in the world. This means that team members part of a project developed on that tool will have access to the plan at any time and in any place.
- Live in-chat features: There are various activities that form part of any project. Team members may have questions or issues surrounding specific activities. Sinnaps offers a live in-chat feature separate for each task or activity that team members can communicate on and resolve issues when needed
- Project Wall: The project wall serves as any other social media wall feed. This means that any changes or additions made the project are updated onto this wall where team members can clearly see them when they occur.
- Weekly progress updates: A consistent project communication strategy is essential in effective communication. Sinnaps sends weekly project progress reports to everyone involved in the project so that they can be kept up-to-date with how everything is going and if anything needs special attention.
Project Manager Communication Skills
Project managers act as the forefront of any project and project team members look to project managers for guidance. Effective project management communication strategies Involve specific project manager skills:
- Ability to listen and collaborate: Apart from being clear in communication, and important to communicate of skill that is often left to last is the ability to listen to your team and to collaborate with them. Team members will automatically feel valued and important to the development of the project process. Allowing team members to ask questions and give inputs means that they will have a clear understanding of what needs to be done.
- Clarity: It is important to avoid ambiguity in explanation. Clear communication is effective communication that is uncomplicated to understand and that can be followed easily.
- Consistency: Being clear is not enough. It is important to also practice consistency in communication so that people are not thrown off balance by unexpected swerves in the plan. It is also important to practice regular communication.
- Trust: Those with whom a project manager communicates by whom they wish to be understood should be trusting of the project manager. For this reason, before communication about the project even begins, it is key to develop trusting relationships upon which team members feel comfortable coming to the project manager with any questions or issues that they may have about the project.
Some communication and negotiation skills in this lesson…
Project Management Communication Plan Example
Let’s take an example of a communication plan for construction project, for example. The construction industry and the projects involved are typically complex. This means that effective communication project management is required if you want to complete the project on time and successfully.
The communication matrix project management should include the outline of the project and how it will be worked through should be spread among everybody involved as soon as possible and well in advance of the project beginning. The different components of the project and those who are responsible for them should be clearly outlined and there should be measures put in place where any issues can be resolved, or questions asked. Progress reports are also essential, especially in construction projects as they can highlight specific areas that need special attention so that they do not delay the overall project.
Overall, it is clear that effective communication is the backbone of any project. Many times, it is taking for granted and not devoted appropriate attention. It is essential to focus on the project communication matrix of the project you are undertaking so that it can add value to your project and help to ensure success.
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