Juggling lots of projects? Don’t forget to communicate!

Overview

The most common mistake I have seen with project managers managing multiple projects is a failure to effectively communicate with team members and project sponsors. Ironically this “I don’t have time for all this touchy feely stuff” attitude could be one of the reasons your projects feel so overwhelming.

If you have inefficient or inaccurate communication with your team it could lead to misunderstanding and mistakes in project work. If you have poor communication with your project stakeholders you could end up with to different project visions. Either way miscommunication will result in project inefficiencies including, but not limited to, loss of time, loss of money, and unnecessarily high stress levels on the entire team.

Enhancing Project communications

If you suspect you might have communication issues there is a good chance you do have communication issues. The first step in resolving these issues is analyzing the situation to understand why your existing communication methods are not working.

In the end your clients and stakeholders will be the ones who coronate your project with the “success” or “fail” badge. If you are out of alignment with these key players there is a good chance you will receive a “fail”. Everything from requirements, to task progress, to budget status must be communicated in an accurate timely fashion so that alignment is maintained.

OK…We’ve got you communicating with your clients and stakeholders…were good right? Well we are in good shape if your goal is to come to the table with bad news each week! To be successful we must also be communicating with our delivery team. Promoting cooperation, monitoring progress, receiving early warnings of danger, and team motivation, all rely upon strong communication channels. Try to integrate your project communications into your planning process to make keeping schedules up-to-date easier.

Don’t forget that if your team, clients and/or stakeholders are not physically located in the same location, you need to double your efforts as the distance, time differential, and cultural differences will all have to be considered. This is one area that technology can help. In today’s world there are a plethora of tools to help with document sharing, status updates, and all other forms of project communication (BTW, we make a great one). Technology can only get us so far, we also need to make sure that communication is a two way street, we need to listen as much as we communicate.

What if I have bad news?

There is an old adage that says “the sooner you delivery bad news, the better”. The same concept applies to project communications. Nobody likes to deliver bad news. However bad things happen to projects all the time, and at some point you will need to deliver bad news. Over the years I have seen many junior PMs try to hide problems or delay sharing the information for fear of conflict with the stakeholders. DO NOT DO THIS! Your stakeholders and clients will have more respect for you if you are honest and come to the table with ideas on how to work together to resolve the problem. Hiding or delaying notification about issues gives both you and the other stakeholders less time to take corrective action.


Level 5 Partners offers mentoring and guidance to help organizations achieve project delivery excellence. In addition we offer the vPMO, a completely integrated web based solution that can be used to implement the processes discussed in this blog entry.

Please be sure to check it out: Virtual Program Management Office (vPMO)

We love sharing our knowledge and information about our offerings. If you find the vPMO interesting, contact us for a free no obligation demonstration.

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