Five Communication Considerations for Project Success
What is the number one critical factor in determining a project’s success or failure that often receives the least attention? Communication. Yes, that’s right. Communication. While schedule, scope, and budget are the project iron triangle constraints, communication is the glue that holds them together. Effective communication ensures all stakeholders are kept informed and content throughout the lifecycle of the project. Communication is a critical key to the project deliverables being what the customer wanted, expected, and received. Creating shared understanding and expectations through effective communication ensures everyone is on the same page and driving to the same end goal. Five considerations for effective communication: 1.) Who – Identify who your stakeholders are. Stakeholders can be your best champions and advocates, or your worst saboteurs. While the usual team should be included, Business Owner/client, key management, project team, client team, there may be others. Stakeholder mapping can be an effective strategy for identifying all of a project’s 2.) What – Identify what method of communication is effective for your stakeholders. Does a simple dashboard report provide enough to keep them engaged, or should this be a meeting? 3.) When – Identify when stakeholders should receive communication, or be informed. Is this a standard report cycle for milestone completion, or a business owner who needs more input? 4.) Why – Identify the reason for the stakeholder communication. Is this to receive information and provide input about the project deliverable? Or, is this client change management? 5.) How often – Identify the frequency of your communication. Some stakeholders, such as the project team, may need to have meetings daily; others may only need weekly or monthly communication. By investing the time to map and identify your stakeholders at the beginning of the project, the answers to who, what, when, why and how often will become apparent. Identifying who needs to know what, or be involved in when, will help your project from initiation to completion. How inclusive and transparent your project communication is will also have a significant impact on staying on schedule, in budget, within scope—and ensure a high-quality deliverable. Through your communication, all stakeholders should be engaged, and at some level, feel a sense of ownership for the success of the project. Laurel McDevitt is a Senior Project Manager at Dewpoint. She has worked as a project/program manager for over 17 years. In addition to her Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certifications, Laurel holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) and has worked in the government management space for more than 13 years. She utilizes Agile project management practices, and currently leads the Project Management Office for the City of Lansing, MI. Her past work for Dewpoint includes managing implementation projects for Michigan State University, Lansing School District, and managing development program teams for the University of Cincinnati ORAS application and the State of Michigan Longitudinal Data System.
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