Join Oliver Yarbrough for an in-depth discussion in this video Communication channel question, part of Exam Tips: Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®.
- Project managers spend upwards of 90% of their time communicating. When you really think about it, managing a project is really about managing the people and the communications that happen between them. And as your team grows, so do the number of potential communication channels. A communication channel represents the interaction that takes place between individual stakeholders. This is important because the more people you have on your project, the more difficult it is to keep track of communications, particularly between team members.
For example, if your project increases from five stakeholders to six, does this mean your communication channels increase by one? Not quite. In order to determine the number of communication channels, you have to use the communication channels formula. N times N minus one divided by two where N represents the number of stakeholders. If you have five stakeholders, including yourself, then you have 10 communication channels.
However, if you increase your stakeholders to six, then you have 15 communication channels total. That's an increase of five channels. Communication channel questions test your ability to stay on top of the changing human dynamics on your project. If you become complacent and fail to proactively manage the increase in communication channels, you increase the likelihood your project will devolve into utter chaos and possibly fail.
You have to be careful on the exam and thoroughly read through these questions. Here's an example. A project manager is engaging seven stakeholders. How many communication channels are there? It should be obvious that this is a communication channel question. And the project is most likely at the intersection of execution and communications management. Since the project manager is actually engaging stakeholders, you can assume the project has moved from planning.
There's nothing you can eliminate from the question, however, you do need to be aware of the fact there are really eight stakeholders rather than seven. Why is this? Simply stated, the project manager is a stakeholder. Therefore, the total number of stakeholders is eight. Once you realize this, you can take the total number of stakeholders and plug it into the formula to get the answer. Since there are eight stakeholders, the formula will look like this.
Eight time eight minus one divided by two equals 28 channels. The only way to eliminate answer choices is to correctly use the formula. Otherwise, you'll end up guessing. Based on the formula, you know answer choice B is the right answer. Although questions like this aren't difficult, you must pay close attention to how the question describes the project manager's relationship to the other stakeholders. You have to avoid jumping at the first answer you see.
Take the time to analyze the question so you can choose the best answer.
- What to expect on exam day
- Reviewing the fundamental aspects of project management
- Key success factors
- Navigating the CAPM® exam
- Managing your time on the exam
- Reviewing practice questions
- Establishing a solid study routine
- Reading for understanding