Types of Project Management Communication: Part One of a Three-part Series

As with almost every business activity, the importance of communication cannot be overstated when managing projects. Examining the various phases of project management, it’s easy to see the importance of all types of communication at each phase.

By taking a closer look at the main phases of project management listed below, we will discuss strategies to obtain both internal and external customer satisfaction. In order to achieve this goal, it is important for the project management team to understand what the needs and expectations are of each stakeholder they communicate with, and the tools to assist and support that activity.

• project kickoff
• scoping and mapping
• design of project blueprint
• user acceptance testing
• implementation
• post-project support and stabilization phase

To understand what project management is, we have to think in terms of the activities that occur pre-project, during project implementation, and post-project. We must also think about communication, the tools by which we communicate, and the format of that communication.
Communication Is about Both Listening and Speaking

Those of you with teenagers can perhaps relate to my example. The other day my wife was speaking with our teenage daughter about an incident that occurred at my daughter’s school and how she felt she was unjustly treated by the librarian. My daughter arrives at school early in the morning, about 30 minutes before school begins, and she likes to use this time to read her notes and finalize any assignments she has at the library. The previous librarian would also arrive early, and she would accommodate my daughter and other students by opening the library before the school day officially begins.

The new librarian, although arriving almost at the same early time as the previous librarian, refused to open the library to the students; instead, she scolded and antagonized my daughter by threatening her with detention. This frustrated my daughter, as she didn’t understand why the new librarian refused to accommodate the students. My daughter asked the librarian why she went out of her way to impose this type of authority, but the librarian wasn’t listening.

In project management, we will encounter many types of individuals—some that embrace change, and others that are opposed to anything that will alter the way they work and the routines they follow. As well, we will encounter persons that will delay the project by either withholding information or making themselves unavailable. Then there are those whose knowledge of a process is unclear, and thus any information from them must be validated several times. And then there are the individuals in senior management who have false expectations about what the system changes will deliver and what is involved to make these changes.

My next blog (part two) will examine in detail how to develop a communication plan and how to avoid the common pitfalls that can lead to the derailment of a project. Part three will focus on the tools that support project management communication.

In the interim, please consult TEC’s homepage at http://www.technicalevaluation.com/, where you can read about project management tools and vendors that offer project portfolio management (PPM) software solutions.
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