When the project manager considers communication as just another soft tool, they run the risk of having everything fall apart around them at any given time. In my opinion, the ability to effective and efficiently communicate with your project team, your customer, your senior management and anyone else you interact with while running your projects is the #1 skill you bring to the table as a project manager. There are some things you can fake or skate along without till you gain experience and acquire more skills. Communication is not one of them. Too many things on the project rely on good, solid communication:
•Project team understanding
•Senior management confidence and buy-in
•Cohesive team performance throughout the engagement
•Etc. … the list could go on and on…
So practicing effective communication on the project is not just a ‘nice to have’ … it’s a ‘gotta have.’ And to me, being an effective communicator as a project manager involves the following:
Consistently communicating project status
Project status reports and project status meetings are more important to your customer than you realize. They are far more important that receiving an electronic copy of the revised project schedule. Even if you really don’t have much in the way of new information in a given week, still hold the meeting. Your customer loves consistency – and it certainly breeds confidence. Canceling a meeting makes it easy for team members to get out of sync. Soon you’ll find it hard to get people together for meetings because they are expecting you to cancel them. And get the status report out consistently every week – a day ahead of the weekly status call so that everyone has a chance to review it and get you an update if they see an error or omission.
Monitoring all major project communications
Starting with the development of a Project Communication Plan, the project manager must lay the groundwork for how communication is going to happen throughout the engagement. There needs to be a clear understanding that all important communication is funneled through the project manager and the team and the customer need to understand what types of formal communication will take place on the project and when. This ‘formal’ communication involves project status reports, project status meetings, adhoc status calls, internal project team meetings, quarterly and phase project meetings, etc. That all needs to be addressed in a plan that is documented and signed off – and followed throughout the project. You’ll be surprised how much customer confidence and satisfaction is realized when they are comfortable that all participants are well informed and that you’re on top of all-important communication.
Encouraging a cohesive communication environment
This one is important. For your team, it involves having weekly internal team meetings and disseminating all important project info to the team quickly – like through an email list. Be the project manager who sends your team more emails than the other project managers they work with. They’ll feel like they are on top of status – because they are.
For your customer, keep them informed, but you don’t need to give them every internal detail. Give them the important stuff. Too much of the daily detail leads to confusion and my decrease confidence when it shouldn’t. Don’t withhold important information, but they don’t need to or want to hear every detail.
Original Author : Brad Egeland
Courtesy : http://pmtips.net/