The Impact of Communication on Project Management

The Impact of Communication on Project Management

As a project manager you might have many successful as well as failed projects. Did you learn lessons from the failed projects and implemented those in your latest one?

Why do projects fail?

One major reason why several projects fail is poor communication with external as well as internal stakeholders. Effective communication is the key to success. Communication is said to be effective when the receiver of a message understands the message exactly the way the sender wants him to understand. If not it will be a total bedlam.

Communicating with Internal Stakeholders:

The project manager needs to be very careful in choosing the methods and channels of communication to communicate with stakeholders. There are various cultural and language differences in the workforce, and the native language of your subordinate (who is an important resource of the project) may not be the same as yours. In such cases, oral communication may not work very well.

Communicating with External Stakeholders:

Communication with your external stakeholders plays a vital role in the success of your project. Suppose you decide to communicate with your client or vendor over the telephone. There may be some problems for from both parties in comprehending unfamiliar accents or there may be some disturbance due to physical distance. In such cases, you need to take the help of written communication to support oral communication. After the call, there should be some written format or summary of the call. This is called “Minutes of the Meeting”, and it helps both parties to be on same page.

As a project manager it is your responsibility to choose the right channel and/or method to communicate effectively with the stakeholders. As a project manager your communication about planning, scope and budget should be very clear to the stakeholders and lack of proper communication will “derail” your project.

Impact of Poor Communication – an Example:

As the to specification of the technical requirements of the project your team developed some parts of a course using HTML5. Now, you come to know that client is going to run the course in Internet Explorer (IE)7. Just before the final submission,you come to know that the client needs the course to be multi-device compatible. Instead of SCORM 2004, your technical expert made it SCORM 1.2. All these were the result of poor communication at the time of preparing the scope. The scope was not clear because there was a communication gap between your team and the client’s team.

Most of the reasons of project failure (from project managers’ perspective) are somewhere connected with communication. One may say that his project failed not because of communication, but due to lack of understanding, unrealistic timelines, shortage of human resources, use of unfamiliar tools, not clear with the high level and technical requirements, etc. And, I would say that all these are connected to communication, and there was a lack of effective communication. If you communicated efficiently in the early stages of the project, you would have not said these!!! Makes sense?

Hope you find this blog useful. Do share your views.

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