As an eLearning project manager, is communication an issue while managing the project? Is it hampering your project success rate and outcome?
According to global PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC (PwC) survey, effective communication is associated with a 17 percent increase in finishing projects within budget.
Similarly, the Towers Watson 2011-2012 “Change and Communication ROI Study Report” shows that companies that have highly effective communications practices are 1.7 times more likely to outperform their peers financially.
These statistics prove that communication plays a key role in improving the success rates of projects. So how to foster the success of your projects with effective communication? How to communicate effectively with your stakeholders? Let us see.
According to Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), Project Communications Management Processes includes the following.
1. Identify Stakeholders:
Project Stakeholder is a person, group or organization who is actively involved in the project and whose interest may impact the project outcome either positively or negatively.
It is important for the project success that the stakeholders are identified during the early stage of the project. Also, their interest, influence and expectations on the project are analyzed and documented. A strategy for communication should be developed for each stakeholder maximizing their positive impact on the Project and mitigating their negative impact.
For example, let me share my experience working on the different projects as a Project Manager. Typically the stakeholders can be from client side and from the Organization’s side. (Project Owner, SMEs form a part of from the Customers’ end, whereas Instructional Designer, Visual designer, Courseware developer, Programmer and so on from the organization’s side.)
2. Plan Communications:
It is the process where you determine your stakeholders’ information needs and define an approach to communicate with them. In simple terms, it says about who needs what kind of information, when they need, and how it should be communicated (i.e., medium of communication).
This communication plan is critical for eLearning project management success as it helps Project Manager to document the approach to communicate effectively.
For example, having a kick-off with the client is an activity that comes under communication. It is a platform where you interact with all stakeholders understand the requirements and frame the communication plan.
3. Distribute Information:
It is the process of making relevant information available to the right people. This should be carried out throughout the project life cycle. Generally, information can be passed through emails, telephone, web conference, etc.
It often happens to me that a customer contacts me through a mobile and shares his requirements. Therefore, it becomes my duty to pass those requirements to the entire team. I always prefer to write the minutes of the call with the customer, keeping the team members in the loop. This way I make sure that the information is passed to the relevant stakeholders.
4. Manage Stakeholder Expectations:
“Manage Stakeholder Expectations is the process of communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and addressing issues as they occur.” – (PMBOK)
As an eLearning Project Manager, I believe it is important to educate your customers about the possibilities and limitations of the eLearning tools and this is a key in managing your stakeholder expectations. It is equally important to share the concerns you’re facing with the stakeholders before they turn into issues.
5. Report Performance:
It is the process of gathering and distributing information related to performance. Status reports, forecasts fall under this category.
Let me explain this to you in detail by sharing my experience. We had received a request from a customer to develop a curriculum. The duration of the project was 3 months. The curriculum had many modules under it and we had started working on all the modules in parallel. Hence there emerged a need to make the customer aware of what’s happening. I as the Project Manager made the customer aware of the project’s progress by sending the status report every week.
These are the typical steps you need to follow to manage your eLearning project communications effectively. Have anything to say? Please do share!