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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Chapter 39: Project Communication

Now that the project schedule is ready, the next step is to manage project communication. Every stakeholder of the project needs to be aware of what is happening in the project on a regular basis. As the project manager, it is our responsibility to do that. This is exactly what we are going to learn in this chapter.

So, lets get started!!!

Project Communication:

There is a common thread that runs through almost all activities and processes in project management, and that is communication. The project and its activities will fail without effective communication. Communication is an exchange of information among persons and groups by using an effectively common system of signs, symbols, and behavior. I used the term “effectively common” to take into account the fact that even if two communicating entities are using two different systems, the “translators” between the communicating entities produce the results as if the two entities were using a common system. For example, I might be using a Windows computer and you might be using a Macintosh, but we can exchange e-mails without having to deal with the differences between the two machines.

Communication is a common thread that runs through almost all activities and processes in project management. At no stage in the project life cycle should we stop communicating.

The importance of communication in project management cannot be overemphasized. Even a well-scheduled and well-funded project can fail in the hands of a hardworking team of experts due to the lack of proper communication. As a project manager, you may be dealing with a wide functional variety of individuals, ranging from executives, to marketing personnel, to sales folks, to technologists. You should be able to wear different communication hats depending upon who you are communicating with. For example, you will not be talking in terms of technical jargon with executives or marketing folks, and you will not speak marketing lingo to software developers. You will be speaking to different stakeholders in their language, while filling the language gap between different functional groups and eliminating misunderstandings due to miscommunication. (Remember the term Translator in the previous paragraph? You will be the Translator for the project)

The key point is that you put on the appropriate communication hat depending on which individual you are communicating with. Be able to switch communication hats quickly and avoid technical jargon and acronyms that are not understood by the person or the group you are communicating with. The goal is the clarity of the language to convey the message accurately.

In a project, you will be communicating with project stakeholders. The different components of project communication management are shown below in the image:

The major goal of communication management is to deliver the right information to the right stakeholders at the right time by using the right communication means to produce the desired impact. You, the project manager are responsible for doing that. You are in the middle of all the activities taken up by your project and you must ensure that everyone knows what he/she needs to know about the project.

Prev: Developing the Project Schedule

Next: Planning Project Communication

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