As a project manager, communication is key to the success of your team. Whether your team is working on an in-house project or one for an outside client, knowing what to communicate and when to communicate will make all the difference and keep misunderstandings to a minimum.
Effectively communicating as a project manager isn’t difficult, but it does take a little work upfront. In the long run, it will save you time and many headaches for you, your team, and your client.
Know Your Stakeholders
First, make sure you know who your stakeholders are. Whether they are in the company or outside of your company, be sure you are talking with the right people. Your stakeholders may include individuals with very different needs. Some will be looking for a high-level view while others will want to know every detail. It is important to understand who needs what and to not over or under provide information.
Understanding your stakeholders or audience may very well be the most important step in effective communication.
Secondly, don’t assume that all team members are receiving the needed information. It is easy to think because someone is attached to the project that they will get the information they need. This isn’t always true. You will want to make a plan to ensure all relevant people are copied on communication when necessary.
Stay On-Topic and Communicate Clearly
Next, keep your communications relevant and to the point. Don’t get carried away with sending emails. If you do, they won’t be read. Also, you don’t want the reputation of being long winded and a time waster. Everyone is busy, so it is important to respect that. If the information isn’t necessary or can wait, then don’t send it. This isn’t the time to try to make yourself look important.
When problems do happen, be sure to have a possible solution before you bring it to the team. This will make you look like the problem solver you are, and your team and stakeholders will thank you for it.
Timeliness Matters When Setting Expectations
Finally, you want to make sure your team members have enough time to receive your message and respond to it. They may need to do a bit of research to find the answer you are looking for or to formulate a proper response or questions to ask.
Project management communication greases the wheels of your project. When used effectively, your project will glide smoothly through all of its phases. Don’t communicate effectively and you may find your project hits the brakes unexpectedly.
This article was provided by Beth Sager at Drexel University Online, an accredited university located in Philadelphia, PA. If you are thinking about advancing your project management career check out Drexel’s online MS in Project Management.