Don’t believe me yet? Let me show you!
Communication is important for project and risk management. Crucial, even. But it is not about following THE golden rules or going through pre-defined steps you found in some book that urged you to buy it because the title literally said: “BUY ME.” It’s actually simpler than that. The way to do it effectively is by understanding why it is important. Know how it works and what resources are out there to help you get a clear overview of your progress.
“The art of communication is the language of leadership.”
- James C. Humes
Be it an individual or an organization; everyone can benefit from improved communication, especially project managers. Working on a project with a tight deadline, solving customer problems, or dealing with risks are part of your everyday. Your interactions and ability to get results daily depend on the art of communicating clearly with others.
Effective communication relies mainly on psychology, the environment, and resources:
“Ultimately, leadership is not about glorious crowning acts. It's about keeping your team focused on a goal and motivated to do their best to achieve it, especially when the stakes are high, and the consequences really matter.”
- Chris Hadfield
Project management depends on psychology in the sense of how well do you know the people you’re working with? What are their personality traits? What do they respond to and what do they not? How well they work under pressure? What kind of results do they give back in response to incentives?
- As the project manager, it’s beneficial to know who can do what
- Better allocate tasks thus optimizing risk management
- Know what to do to whom in order to get better results
- Make sure that everyone is relatively at ease and are not overly stressing about a task they could not handle properly
As a PM, it is very important to make sure that the environment your team is in suits the importance of the task at hand. Meaning that, are they under constant pressure or are they working at ease? Is the aura of the workplace charged with tension or is it rather light? Is the team motivated enough? Do they feel overworked compared to what they are getting in return?
All of these questions decide what kind of atmosphere is surrounding your team. The environment greatly affects the quality of the end result, risk management, and how the work is submitted. This brings me to my final point which is, by the way, the easiest one of them all yet is still so crucial: the resources.
“The two words 'information' and 'communication' are often used interchangeably, but they signify quite different things. Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”
- Sydney J. Harris
There are ample project management resources out there. PMs get overwhelmed and underestimate the importance of using the right tools to keep track of the tasks at hand while managing risks. It is true that being a project manager is not the easiest job in the world! But it could be easier if you know what kind of resources to use in order to do the most of the job with the least amount effort.
Keeping track of all the apps, emails, feedback, and everything in between can be so overwhelming at times, no matter how small the project is! But let me make your day -more than I already have - and tell you that there are solutions out there!
Communication is the root cause for a lot of delays happening today to software development. Communication is a large frustration between technical (IT) and non-technical (Business) people. It takes much more than a project management tool to optimize communication and present it communications at different levels of complexity. We need to focus on ensuring the tech talk is translated into the non-tech talk, hence giving the right information to the business people they need to make faster decisions and remove blockers from any software projects.
Editors Note: It’s a good practice for Project Managers to put together a communication plan that clearly defines the audiences that you will need to communicate to during your project. These audiences have communication preferences around the level of technical language in the communication. Each audience also has communication preferences such as email, meetings, or presentations. To effectively ensure you are communicating well for your project, create a communication plan that includes communication preferences, the frequency of communication, communication method and level of technical expertise for all your audience types (executive or C-level, development leadership, IT leadership, non-technical business teams, and others).