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You all know the drill. You are managing a project, solving problems, providing leadership to the team, and trying to get all the work done on time and within budget. However, when your manager or your client asks how the project is going, you of course reply “oh fine”.
Many project managers try to communicate with the minimum possible effort and in the fewest words. Part of this hesitancy is a lack of comfort with written and verbal communication in general. It could also be that most project managers simply do not understand the value that proactive communication provides to a project.
Status Reports Satisfy Basic Communication Requirements
Status Reports provide feedback to the key stakeholders on the current status of the project and what work has been completed since the last communication. These are also forums to discuss outstanding issues, scope change requests, risks, etc. The main purpose of the status reports is to manage expectations, and make sure there are no surprises.
Create a Communication Plan for Large Projects
On larger projects, especially those that impact a wide variety of people, the basic status report is no longer enough. The communication needs to be proactive, multifaceted and targeted. This is the time for establishing a formal Communication Plan. In a Communication Plan, you think about your major stakeholders, their information needs and the best way to satisfy those needs. Then you tailor specific types of communication to meet the particular needs of each audience.
Use Collaborative Software as Projects Get Larger
Large projects generally have a large number of stakeholders. The stakeholders also tend to be diverse and dispersed. You should consider software packages that facilitate sharing documents and enabling easy communication.
Communication - Just Do It!
You have all heard the simple saying, “communicate, communicate, communicate”. Project managers should take this to heart. There are many aspects of a project that are not totally within your hands. Communication, however, is something that is directly within your control. You might be surprised how smoothly your project progresses when you communicate proactively to the team, clients and stakeholders.
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News from Max Wideman (www.MaxWideman.com)
January 2014 - We start the year with a review of an important book for CEOs, the C-suite and aspiring project managers. It is titled: The Focused Organization - How Concentrating on a Few Key Initiatives Can Dramatically Improve Strategy Execution by Antonio Nieto-Rodriguez, with foreword by Greg Balestrero, past CEO of PMI. Antonio describes the challenge of balancing between "running-the-business" and "changing-the-business" to achieve corporate strategies. Antonio offers a new approach to strategy execution based on his experience and research. See it in Papers.