Managing Small Projects
Illustration by Neil Webb

Developing solid communication


From:

Managing Small Projects

with Bonnie Biafore
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lynda.com's PMI® Program
This course qualifies for 1.50 PDUs towards maintaining PMI® certification. Learn More

Video: Developing solid communication

Good communication is a big part of making a project a success. It helps work flow more smoothly and can prevent or reduce problems. On small projects, you need the right people getting the right information with a minimum of effort. First, consider who needs information about your project. With a small team, you know you'll communicate with the customer, and the people who do the work. And think about other people or groups that might need to be in the know. For example, at the Fitness Studio you'll need to inform both the post office and clients about the move.

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Watch the Online Video Course Managing Small Projects
1h 37m Beginner Jan 17, 2013

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Have you wondered how to make your small projects run as smoothly as possible—without building in so many steps that they get cumbersome? In this course, author and project manager Bonnie Biafore shows how a successful small project starts with planning: documenting goals, identifying risks, measuring success, and confirming decision makers. The course also covers organizing your files, estimating time and costs, building a solid team, scheduling work, and getting the project underway. In addition, you'll explore how to hand out and track assignments, communicate with the team, work through issues, and bring your project to a close. This course follows the relocation of a small business as the sample project, but the course's strategies apply to a wide variety of small projects, including those in marketing, business development, product development, software development, freelancing, and the like.

This course qualifies for 1.5 Category A professional development units (PDUs) through lynda.com, PMI Registered Education Provider #4101.

Topics include:
  • Defining the life cycle and scope of small projects
  • Identifying the project customer and other stakeholders
  • Determining the right level of management
  • Collaborating
  • Scheduling work
  • Managing risk
  • Keeping things moving
  • Evaluating the project
  • Getting sign-off and tying up loose ends

  • The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.
Subjects:
Business Education + Elearning
Author:
Bonnie Biafore

Developing solid communication

Good communication is a big part of making a project a success. It helps work flow more smoothly and can prevent or reduce problems. On small projects, you need the right people getting the right information with a minimum of effort. First, consider who needs information about your project. With a small team, you know you'll communicate with the customer, and the people who do the work. And think about other people or groups that might need to be in the know. For example, at the Fitness Studio you'll need to inform both the post office and clients about the move.

Second, think about who needs to know what about the project. The employees need to know when they have to pack their stuff, and how to label the boxes so they get moved to the right location. Third, you need to decide how to distribute information to people, how often you communicate, the method you use to send information, and the format you use. With the relocation, you might use several distribution methods to communicate with clients in the weeks leading up to the move.

Sending them emails about the date and location, updating the website and posting signs in the current space. On the other hand, you simply fill out an address change form to notify the post office. A lot of times, the project customer gets information more frequently with more emphasis on project performance, but with fewer details. For example, the owner of the Fitness Studio wants to meet face-to-face once a week to review progress, spending compared to the budget, and any problems that require her help.

A good way to find out your customers' communication preferences is to put together a sample message or a report, and ask for feedback. After you work out the content, frequency, and format, you can use that sample as a template for future communication. If you get resources from other managers, you first tell them the skills you need for the work and when you need people. Once team members are on board, you will want to let the managers know when assignments change such as finished dates delaying or the number of hours increasing.

Your team members need to know what they're supposed to do and when they're supposed to do it. They also need to know about changes, issues, and resolutions that affect them. You don't have to plan communication with each individual on your team. You can create groups from your team members who have the same communication needs and add the groups to your communication chart. For the relocation project, you might create a group for the personal trainers because they all need to know when to pack and how to label the boxes.

How you distribute information depends on your environment, and how people like to work. However, some methods are better than others in certain situations. Face-to-face communication is good for discussing sensitive topics, brainstorming solutions to problems, and building relationships with people. If you can make video calls, these are almost as good as being there. Phone calls are the next best thing. But, you can't see facial expressions or body language. These days, email represents a lot of the communication that occurs.

Send emails to the people who need the information, not to everyone on the project. When you reply to messages, reply to only the people who really need to know or who ask to be included in the discussion. Developing a plan for how to handle communication is an important part of making a project run smoothly.

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