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Five tips for the project manager’s communication


The higher the number of people involved in the project, the more difficult is to control the communications

According to many surveys, too many IT projects fail. The failure rate varies from 20% to 70% depending on the survey. Most interestingly, the small projects fail less than the bigger ones. There could be many reasons, but one key reason is: the higher the number of people involved in or impacted by the project, the more difficult is to control the communications.

Here are 5 essential elements the project manager should be aware of when it comes to communication:

1. The Sender: Here the sender is the project manager who should focus on a key speech that will evolve from his assignment till the project closure. That key speech should answer the following 4 questions:
What is the project about?
Why are we doing the project?
Where are we?
Where do we go?

2. The Receiver(s): Based on the situation there could be many target audience categories and usually the language is not the same. The same idea could be explained in different languages depending on the target audience which could be the IT infrastructure team, the IT development team, the business users or the executives (c-level). The key thing to bear in mind is that the common language for all the target audiences is the business language which should be considered when dealing with a variety of target audiences at once.

3. The message(s): There could be many messages within a communication, a presentation of a project status report for example. But often there is one key message to deliver or to sell. The Project Manager should identify and keep a special focus on that key message and make sure it’s delivered and understood.

4. The Feedback: The project manager should interact with the receiver(s), the target audience, to verify if the key message was understood, totally or partially accepted, or rejected.
This is also a good opportunity to allow the receiver(s) to express themselves and raise their concerns and worries that could be sometimes not directly related to the communication’s topic, but may be very helpful to better anticipate and manage upcoming risks and issues proactively.

5. The Environment & Context: Internal and external organization’s environment and context. The lack of cooperation between departments, for example, could lead to the project failure if the project manager does not practice enough negotiation so that the key stakeholders become more accountable for their engagements.

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