It is very easy, and in fact necessary, to say on every project that communication is going to be the key to a successful completion of the project deliverables. But do we really give it the attention it deserves? Do we spend the time to develop a communication strategy and determine what mechanisms can be used? Do we spend the time to do a detailed stakeholder analysis to determine who the stakeholders are, what influence they have, what message they want to hear and how often? Do we then turn that information into a detailed communication plan outlining what we are going to say to whom, how often and in what format? And once we have gotten that far, do we assign responsibility to another/others to ensure that the communication plan gets executed, and then follow-up to ensure that expectations are being met? I think you can guess what my answer will be. Most projects do assign communication a high priority, but once deadlines are being pushed back and workload is increasing, communication is the first thing that falls off the radar screen.
It is one thing to communicate; it is another thing to communicate effectively. The best PMs are not the ones who communicate the most, but they are the ones who communicate the best, and get everyone else to buy in to and communicate their message.
Andrew Miller is President of ACM Consulting Inc. (www.acmconsulting.ca), a company that provides supply chain and project management solutions. Andrew is PMP certified and has led a variety of clients through complex systems implementations and organizational changes. He is an Instructor of the Procurement and Contracting course, part of the Masters Certificate in Project Management program through the Schulich School of Business Executive Education Centre (SEEC) in Toronto. Andrew has an International MBA from the Schulich School of Business with majors in Logistics and Marketing. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.