Communication is one of the most important aspects of project management. Without good communication, all of the planning that goes into a project might as well be for absolutely nothing at all. Here are some tips for communicating effectively while managing a project.
Communicate Strategic Goals
Strategy should be at the heart of all communications made during the completion of a project. All people working on a project should be regularly reminded of how their individual actions contribute towards a broader series of objectives. Although not all communications will be directly related to strategic aims, strategic aims should be woven through even the most unrelated communications like a golden thread.
Project workers need to keep strategic aims in mind as they complete their work. If they do not, they risk wasting time and resources working towards aims that do not serve the purpose of the client organization.
Choose (And Stick With) A Single Communicative Platform
One of the most commonly experienced problems experienced by teams working on projects relates to the complexity of communicating using multiple platforms. Good project managers choose one communicative platform and, most importantly, stick with it throughout the project. Project management software with built-in instant messaging tools is extremely useful for isolating all communications within one program. Before team members start work, a briefing should be given outlining the preferred communicative platforms that they are expected to use in the completion of their work.
It is important to avoid phone calls, emails and especially text messages when managing a project. Communication should be easy to access in retrospect and should be relatively transparent. Many project managers choose to prescribe the use of intranet communication during the completion of sensitive work. Intranet communication is far more secure than communication online, as access is institutionally restricted.
Put Out Fires Before They Spread
It is important to monitor employee performance so that any issues can be dealt with before they become many problems. Offering a good level of support to any team members that may be struggling to meet their deadlines can help to bring them back into the loop and increase their performance levels.
Traditionally, struggling team members have been left in the dark and have tended toward silence – only reporting their issues at the last possible moment for fear of retaliation. Instead of a reactionary environment, foster a supportive one. Make it clear that there is ample support available to help employees complete their work during a project.
One way of figuring out which areas need attention is to monitor Key Performance Indicators for each member of the team. Key Performance Indicators are integral pieces of progression data that enable the quantization of performance. Most project management tools, such as Asana and Asana alternatives, enable automated reporting – meaning that project managers can get a good look at the real-time progress of their team members.
Listen To Team Feedback
Make your team members feel heard and seen. Team feedback is absolutely crucial to the smooth and sane management of a project. Consider team members to be your eyes and ears on the ground. Any concerns that they have over budget, timeframe or key performance indicators may stem from a failure in planning and may well necessitate a rethinking of project aims and methods.
Employees that feel as if they are unable to give feedback with confidence will eventually feel neglected by their higher-ups. They will, quite understandably, become as disengaged and uninvested from their work as they perceive their managers to be in them. This is a situation that every project manager needs to avoid at all costs. Disengaged employees will produce worse work, report issues less frequently and work less hard toward deadlines.
Keep Everybody In The Loop
Project managers receive a great many communications from clients, stakeholders, and executives. It is important that these communications – and their implications – are passed on to all relevant members of the team working on the project at hand. If people are kept in the dark, they will be unable to work effectively. Think of a unit of soldiers on an ever-changing battlefield: if the situation changes and the soldiers are not told, they will be vulnerable and perform poorly.
Informed employees will not only be able to perform well: they will take on the responsibility that is implicated in the sharing of information and become more engaged with the project they are working towards the completion of. In other words, it’s a win-win.