Communication is a key component in project management. In most cases, it is the sole determinant between a successful project and an unsuccessful one. Research by the PMI revealed that ineffective communication was the primary reason behind project failure in one-third of the observed cases. Also, it had a negative impact on the project’s success in half of these cases.
The project manager is responsible for constantly communicating ongoing issues, updates, and requirements to clients, sponsors, and their own team members. Therefore, it is important for project managers to share information and communicate project needs effectively. In this article, we will discuss practical tips on how to improve project communication.
Set Project Expectations
To learn how to communicate project needs effectively, you need to establish a project communication plan. A proper plan can help you establish project expectations at the beginning of the project and clarify what you want with team members and stakeholders.
For this purpose, you can utilize a Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) Chart to illustrate and explain project goals. The chart is an effective way of streamlining project expectations and communicating them effectively. If all team members and relevant stakeholders are aware of their responsibilities and deadlines, it is easier for them to work on a project.
Utilize a Milestone Tracker
A milestone tracker is a tool for monitoring progress on a particular process, project, or task. As a project manager, you always need to be aware of the progress, ongoing problems, and updates in a project. A milestone tracker can help you monitor the project effectively.
You can use a simple Excel sheet for this purpose. Try listing all the milestones in one column and organize them through project phases. At the same time, include the name and contact of the person responsible for the given task, as well as the target date and task notes.
You can also try to color-code each task entry depending on the urgency of a given task. Therefore, you have the option to track projects on their way to delivery and address management risks immediately. Although this document is extremely simple, it is a useful technique for tracking and communicating progress to stakeholders.
Utilize E-mail Templates
As a project manager, you need to constantly send e-mails to your team members and stakeholders alike. You may send several of these e-mails on a routine basis so it seems redundant to type them over and over again. Therefore, you should try to leverage template e-mails to streamline communication through e-mails.
Whenever you want to save an e-mail template, you can type it in a new message, assign a suitable subject line, and then save it as a draft without adding any recipients. After that, just copy and paste the message whenever you need to send the e-mail out. Alternatively, if you are an Outlook user, you can just press “Ctrl” and “F” simultaneously to forward the e-mail draft.
Using templates can be incredibly useful for conveying responses to frequently asked questions, outlining routine project status updates, and routine messages such as e-mails for meeting calls.
Checklists are excellent tools for keeping track of routine tasks. As a project manager, you can use checklists for hosting Project Board meetings or keeping track of important points during project kick-off. It can also be extremely effective in helping you remember things you struggle with. By doing so, you can ensure that no important point is missed out during meet-ups.
Remember to Stand Up During Phone Calls
While this may seem simple, it is a surprisingly effective tip improving communication during phone calls. Standing up during calls makes it easier for people to be mindful. Naturally, when you stand up, you use more energy than usual to communicate what you want. The change in posture can also be reflected in your voice, making it sound more confident.
Make the Most of Every Meeting with Stakeholders
You need to make a list of all face-to-face meetings with stakeholders you may have in the current year. The majority of project stakeholders are extremely busy people and it can be hard to have proper meetings with them in a routine manner. This is why it is important to prioritize all meetings with stakeholders and make the most of every single one.
At the same time, you should designate special days for routine tasks such as reporting deadlines. If you don’t allocate small tasks proper time and attention, they can quickly pile up and make your communication a lot harder.
Make a Communication Assets Register
A communications asset register is a register that enlists all communication assets that belong to a particular project. This means that the register should include important documents that define the scope and requirements of the project, as well as other documents.
Utilize E-mail Mailing Lists
Creating e-mail lists can be extremely helpful in streamlining e-mails during the course of the project. You can create separate categories, Project Board members, project team members, and other important contacts. These mailing lists are not only good at saving your time, but they also ensure that no one is left out from the e-mail delivery list.
There are various project management tools that can automate reporting and streamline the communication pipeline during a project. Project management tools such as the following can help you automate reporting on your projects:
Automating reporting can help you deliver project requirements and specifications by the click of a button. Therefore, it’s is easier to convey important components of the project immediately without missing key information. You can search for project management tools most relevant to your industry and choose the one that fits your needs the best.
As a project manager, it is necessary to always look for different ways to improve the way you interact and communicate with your team and project stakeholders. However, by using the tips listed above, you can streamline project communication effectively.