Yes, I’m going back to this again. Good communication is the backbone of any successful project. But how can you help ensure that this happens on your project? At the heart of any good project communication lies a good project communication plan. I’ll get into the specifics of what makes up a good communication plan in a later post but I wanted to share with you the benefits of creating an explicit communication plan for your project.
Ever have a team member wonder who they can get in touch with on the client side to ask specific technical questions? Even worse, have you had a team member email blast as many client contacts as they can think of hoping that they get the right person? The latter can cause massive confusion on the client side, especially if multiple individuals address questions in a silo. An explicitly defined communication plan will ensure that all project team members and stakeholders understand exactly who the right people are to communicate with regarding specific subject matter areas. A good communication plan will also have a failsafe – that person (usually the project manager) who can be a fallback contact in the event that there is uncertainty around who to contact for a particular message.
Right Recipients Get the Message
There is nothing worse than getting the “I don’t know, you’ll need to check with someone else” message back to a question that you need the answer to in order to keep moving forward. By having a defined communication plan that outlines who should be receiving what types of messages, you’re setting a stage where stakeholders and team members have a clear understanding of who can provide the answers they need, based on the subject. It also ensures that those responsible for making decisions that affect the project are armed with all the information they need to make an informed decision.
Nothing can spiral out of control than a poorly-worded email cc’d to the wrong person. This is one of the most common causes of ‘fires’ that project managers have to put out. Someone from your team may send a message using language that only your project team is used to (i.e. terminology, not swear words), send that message to the client who may misinterpret and respond accordingly and before you know it, you have a completely fabricated problem that you need to spend time solving. This is something that is totally preventable and not a good use of project management time to resolve. Following a communication plan will eliminate these types of problems.
Good project communications are a huge factor in driving your project over the finish line successfully. By creating and following a communication plan that is understood by all project stakeholders you are setting the stage for an engaged client, an informed team and a great project!
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