Even with the best team and a sensible timeline, a project that lacks communication (or “talking” for the purposes of the three T’s) is bound to fail. Delivering the right message to the right people at the right time should be your mantra throughout your project.
7 Tips for Effective Project Communication
1. Understanding: Make sure you understand what is being asked of you, your team and your vendor. It’s ok to ask questions, and then ask them again. You cannot be an effective communicator if you do not understand the message you need to deliver.
2. Raising Concerns: Raise your concerns early; don’t assume they’ll work out. It’s easier to make small adjustments early in the project than it is to make changes near the end of the project.
3. Advice & Consideration: Consider the advice from your vendor, implementation experts and other third parties carefully. Ask for reasoning behind their recommendations. Then make an informed decision based on your organization’s best interests. True collaboration will result in the best final product.
4. Documentation: Invest in internal documentation. Your vendor may provide you with a technical documentation of work that was done on a project (if they don’t offer, this is a more than reasonable request), but your technology project probably touched many internal processes that won’t be captured by your vendor’s documentation. Having a record of business process changes and preparing required training materials for your team is key to the ongoing success of your project.
5. Prioritize: Always prioritize your requests and have others prioritize their requests to you. Projects always include trade-offs, but without a gauge of the relative importance of issues, it is difficult to make the correct decisions. If a request would delay the project and is a low priority issue for your organization, it is easy to see that this request should be subjugated to a high priority issue.
6. Approvals: Be clear when you are signing off on deliverable and when you are not (and per “Authority & Approvals” in our Team post, who has the authority to do such). Project plans often include dates for key approvals, after which a new phase of the project can start. Without final sign-off, project delays can put your timeline at risk. Being clear about whether a deliverable is approved or not, and if not – why, can make sure everyone knows what needs to happen next.
7. Feedback: Consolidate feedback and address any inconsistencies internally before incorporating into the project. Time and resources are wasted if competing or conflicting requests are both moved into implementation.
What other tips for successful project management can you add?
Jett Winders is a Senior Project Manager for Charity Dynamics, a leading digital marketing agency for nonprofit organizations. Learn more about Charity Dynamics by visiting their website.