Successful projects run on effective communication
Communication is imperative in project management. Effective communication facilitates successful projects. On the contrary, any case of miscommunication could be fatal for a project.
A study conducted by the Project Management Institute (PMI) revealed that ineffective communication is the primary contributor to project failure one-third of the time, and had a negative impact on project success more than half the time.
The real risk of ineffective communication
Let’s look at the numbers. That same study revealed that companies risk $135 million for every $1 billion spent on a project. Further research on the importance of effective communications uncovers that a startling 55 percent ($75 million of that $135 million) is at risk due to ineffective communications. This indicates a critical need for organizations to address communications deficiencies.
A communication plan is an absolute necessity!
As the project manager, you’ve already mapped out every task and deliverable to get you across the finish line. Why not do the same for project communications? After all, your project plan needs a steady stream of communication to stay on track. A communication plan plays an important role in every project by:
- Creating written documentation everyone can turn to
- Setting clear expectations for how and when updates will be shared
- Increasing visibility of the project and status
- Providing opportunities for feedback to be shared
- Boosting the productivity of team meetings
- Ensuring the project continues to align with goals
Create your project communication plan
Every successful project has one thing in common – a kickass communication plan. Ready to put your communication plan to paper? It is a simple tool that enables you to communicate effectively on a project with your client, team, and other stakeholders. It sets clear guidelines for how information will be shared, as well as who’s responsible for and needs to be looped in on each project communication. Be mindful of the following six factors when creating your communication plan:
- List your project’s communication needs.
Every project is different. Take the size of the project, the nature of work being done, and even the client’s unique preferences into account as you determine which types of communication this project needs to succeed.
- Define the purpose.
Bombarding people with too many emails or unnecessary meetings can interfere with their ability to get work done and cause them to overlook important updates. Be purposeful in your plan, and ensure every communication you include has a reason for being.
- Choose a communication method.
Do you really need a meeting to share weekly updates, or is an email enough? Think through how your team works best, so they can stay in the loop while still being productive. If your client prefers the personal touch of a meeting or phone call, build that into your plan too.
- Set a cadence for communication.
Establishing a regular frequency for communication streamlines the process by setting clear expectations from the beginning. Taking the deadline into consideration, decide if you would like to have daily, weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly meetings. This frees you from fielding random requests for status updates, and enables project members to carve out space for important meetings and reports ahead of time.
- Identify the owner and stakeholders.
Assigning ownership creates accountability so your crafted plan can reach its full potential. Decide which team members, executives, stakeholders, and clients to involve and to what extent. While you’re naming names, list the audience or stakeholders for each communication type too. That way key players come prepared to provide updates when needed.
- Be open to change.
Sometimes things don’t go as planned. Consider potential risks beforehand and be flexible enough to adjust when needed.
- List your project’s communication needs.
Summing it up
Successful projects run on effective communication. Communication is the vehicle of project management. By giving all key performers the best quality information when they need it, talented, smart people become more productive and are able to get your project across the finish line without loss of control or loss to the bottom line.