Learning to manage project communications is an important responsibility for a project leader. Project communications include communication by the project team within functional groups, between the project sponsor, and with the project manager. Communication mostly occurs through meetings, phone calls, and emails.
- Communications can make or break a project, so it's important to think about how communications will flow as you resolve to a course of action. In this video, we'll talk about how communications work and how to build an effective project communications strategy. Communication has three elements. There's a sender, a receiver, and a signal. Part of the project leader's job is to ensure that the right information, the signals, are sent by the right people at the right times, and that they're properly understood by the people who receive them.
As you develop your communications plan, the first question that you need to answer is what information do my team members need, and where is it coming from? In other words, who is the sender, who is the receiver, and what is the signal? Then, you should think about when they will need it and what is the most efficient way to share it. Together, these elements define your communication goal. A communications plan is a document that captures the formal communications for your project team.
It should include all of the regularly scheduled meetings, conference calls, and email updates. It can also include guidelines for when and how ad-hoc communications should occur. As you build that plan, here are some things to consider about when to use meetings versus emails or conference calls. Meetings are a useful way to communicate when the goal is to have interactive dialog. Asking questions and clarifying ideas.
But an hour spent in a meeting is an hour that is not spent doing other work for the project, and a one hour meeting with 10 people in it consumes 10 hours of time that could've been spent on project work. So if the communication goal is simply to provide an update or a download, perhaps the objective can be achieved more efficiently with an email or a phone call. Whether you use email, a conference call, or a meeting, choose the option that is the most efficient and the most effective for your communication goal, and try to include only the people who need to be involved.
It's natural to focus on communications between the project leader and the rest of the team, but there are also times when the functional team leaders need to communicate with their own teams, or with one another. So you might want to make sure that there are meetings or conference calls scheduled for this. Your team organizational chart can help you think about how information should be shared, up, down and sideways through the project team. Just think about it in terms of your communication goal. Who's the sender? Who's the receiver? What's the message? When do they need it? And what's the most efficient way to communicate it? It's a good idea to have a plan and a schedule for which groups need to communicate with each other as the project moves forward, and getting a communications schedule onto everyone's calendar from the beginning helps to set the tone and the pace for the entire project.
- Name who is responsible for approving the resources for the project.
- Recall what the spine of a fishbone diagram represents.
- List characteristics of the environment.
- Identify the tools used for mapping processes.
- Recognize what needs to be captured on the action item list.
- Recall what project metrics should be related to.