Successful Project Management starts with an effective ‘communication plan.’

By Chris Dunne

Communications

Successful project managers start by managing the torrent of expectations welling up from team members and those C-level folks looking down from above.

As a project manager (PM), it’s simply not enough to “tell” team members that you’re expecting clear communications for the duration of the assignment.

“How Important are Communication Plans for Project Management?” a post by Shelley Frost on Demand Media, sets down a few considerations that contribute to successful Project Managementoutcomes:

 “Expectations”

At the outset, it’s up to the PM to define the “tone for all communications concerning the project,” making sure all the Team members and stakeholders are up to speed.

Furthermore, the PM might tell the team members to expect updates on the project to occur in a weekly meeting, for example, instead of through a steady stream of daily emails, memos, phone calls and meetings throughout the day. If using an Agile approach, such as Scrum, these updates may be a daily occurrence in the morning ‘stand up meeting’.

“Consistency”

It’s a cliché, but keeping everyone on the same page is vital to the project’s success. More importantly, the Team members need to keep on top of any changes made in the overall plan, and to communicate with others about those changes.

“Productivity”

It’s frustrating to be involved with a project where, too often, members are struggling to with ever-changing project information and requirements. Collaboration is more natural when all the employees know their assignments and are working together with relevant and timely information. Also, the adoption of Agile methodologies can really help teams when they encounter such dynamic project environments.

“Outcome”

From the outset, the PM takes on the leadership role and communicates clearly with everyone involved “the desired project outcome.” Part of that success comes with defining what it is the stakeholders “want and need from the project”. This is usually done through a high level scoping and planning exercise, involving all stakeholders and ensuring they are all on the same page from the very beginning.

To encourage effective communications it can help to use predefined templates for all documented communications e.g. communications plan, roles and responsibilities, status reports, scope and requirements documents etc. There is no point in reinventing these with every new project. At Daysha we have developed a portfolio of templates that we can reuse and share with our customers. These have been refined over the years and enable us to quickly get started with projects and complete deliverables.

Before you launch your next IT project, contact us to learn how our methods can help you reach the outcomes you’re striving for.

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