Drexel logoThis is a guest article from Drexel University by Beth Sager.

As a project manager, communication is key to the success of your team. Whether your team is working on an in-house project or one for an outside client, knowing what to communicate and when to communicate will make all the difference and keep misunderstandings to a minimum.

Effectively communicating as a project manager isn’t difficult, but it does take a little work upfront. In the long run, it will save you time and many headaches for you, your team, and your client.

Know Your Stakeholders

First, make sure you know who your stakeholders are. Whether they are in the company or outside of your company, be sure you are talking with the right people. Your stakeholders may include individuals with very different needs. Some will be looking for a high-level view while others will want to know every detail. It is important to understand who needs what and to not over or under provide information.

Understanding your stakeholders or audience may very well be the most important step in effective communication.

Secondly, don’t assume that all team members are receiving the needed information. It is easy to think because someone is attached to the project that they will get the information they need. This isn’t always true. You will want to make a plan to ensure all relevant people are copied on communication when necessary.

Stay On-Topic and Communicate Clearly

Next, keep your communications relevant and to the point. Don’t get carried away with sending emails. If you do, they won’t be read. Also, you don’t want the reputation of being long winded and a time waster. Everyone is busy, so it is important to respect that. If the information isn’t necessary or can wait, then don’t send it. This isn’t the time to try to make yourself look important.

When problems do happen, be sure to have a possible solution before you bring it to the team. This will make you look like the problem solver you are, and your team and stakeholders will thank you for it.

Timeliness Matters When Setting Expectations

Finally, you want to make sure your team members have enough time to receive your message and respond to it. They may need to do a bit of research to find the answer you are looking for or to formulate a proper response or questions to ask.

Project management communication greases the wheels of your project. When used effectively, your project will glide smoothly through all of its phases. Don’t communicate effectively and you may find your project hits the brakes unexpectedly.

This article was provided by Beth Sager at Drexel University Online, an accredited university located in Philadelphia, PA. If you are thinking about advancing your project management career check out Drexel’s online MS in Project Management.  

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View from the plane window, and me in the cabin

View from the plane window, and me in the cabin

It’s the night before I fly to Dublin to speak at a PMI Ireland Chapter event. I’m all organised and sitting relaxing with a glass of wine, my bag packed in the hall for the early morning flight.

Ha! Did you honestly think that was true?

In reality I’m sweeping 600 peas off the floor that have sat there for a couple of hours since Jack’s tea time. ‘Spoon training’ is not going well and he sees even less value in plates. I brush the peas into the bin.

“OK,” I mutter out loud. “What’s my next priority? Eyebrows. Yes, eyebrows.”

There is a guffaw from the other room which I can just about hear over the pacing footsteps and the sobbing baby. Given that there’s no meal for adults prepped yet, I can understand why. However, it’s the first time I’ve spoken live in front of an audience (i.e. not a virtual Skype-style conference) for a long time, and my first international trip since the boys were born. And as I can only fit into my suit skirt if I don’t do the zip up to the top I want to make sure I look as good as I can as that will make me feel more confident.

Brows done, bag packed, clothes hung on the back of the door (spare tights in my bag just in case). Label cut off the top I bought just this afternoon. I even dig out some make up from where it’s been languishing at the back of the cupboard and put it on the bathroom shelf, ready. Now we can do dinner.

In the morning, I do my bits of the breakfast routine in an old T-shirt and shorts just in case someone flicks Weetabix at me or is sick down my suit.

At the last minute, “pretty mummy” comes down the stairs and we load the boys into the car for a family drive to the airport.

They are both asleep when we arrive, so I don’t wake them to say goodbye. The flight is less than an hour and I’ll be back tonight, but it feels like I’m going away, properly. It’s sad.

I love my job and I love travelling but from now on it will always be like this. Won’t it?

2 brilliant comments, add yours

Thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway this month for a copy of Healthcare Project Management.

Names went into the hat and the winner was… Pamela from Somerset in the UK. Congratulations! Pamela, your book is in the post so it should be with you shortly.

The giveaway in August will be for newsletter subscribers only, so to be in with a chance of winning sign up if you’re not already on the list.


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50 carnivals

Woo hoo! This is our 50th Blog Carnival. It’s the round up of recent, interesting articles from the project management web.

Margaret Meloni presents Who ARE these people? posted at A Path to Peace, saying, “A stakeholder is a person or organization who may be positively or negatively impacted by your project. That can be a large group of people. Think about it – when you are working on a large project or program just about everyone you pass in the hallway is a stakeholder. How are you supposed to manage all of these groups and interests?”

Richard Svahn presents PM job candidate trends posted on his blog, saying, “An analysis of 300 job listings reveals what employers are looking for in project managers. A recent PMI report estimated that 6.2 million new project management jobs will be created in the US from 2010 to 2020.” Plus it’s got Dilbert. Got to love articles with Dilbert.

Kirstin Miller presents What is project portfolio management (PPM)? posted at Work Zone, saying, “For CMOs, CIOs and other management personnel Project Portfolio Management (PPM) ceases to be a simple administrative term and becomes the task they grapple with across the expanse of their career. And why not!”

Rex has an article on information security breaches at the Focus on Training blog. He reports that the 2014 Information Security Breaches Survey indicates a small reduction in the total number of incidents – but a significant increase in their scale and impact. What risk does your project face?

George Ellis offers an article called Solve, don’t Blame on The PM Hut. “Blaming tries to solve a symptom and ignores root cause. We all know this thinking doesn’t work with technical issues— you can’t blame a snippet of software or piece of steel. But how do you apply the same thinking for issues related to people? Of course, you search for root cause,” he says.

Pawel Brodzinski, on his blog, which is one of the longest running project blogs (I think). His article is called Scaling Up Is Not the Only Option and he writes, “There is one thing that seems to be present in pretty much every company strategy these days. Given the opportunity, they want to grow.” But do you have to? Pawel presents some choices.

What do you think? Leave a comment!

APM Chartered status is go: PMI’s objections are dismissed

July 19, 2014

This is going to be long, so here’s the summary: APM is applying for a Royal Charter PMI objected at the time The Privy Council decided that they were going to recommend a Royal Charter for APM PMI raised legal challenges The High Court has conducted a judicial review into the objections PMI’s objections have […]

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Case Study: Launching Microsoft Project (and other things) at UPEC, Paris

July 16, 2014

What do you do if you need staff, students and the global research community to all have access to collaborate on projects, but without making everything complicated or publicly available? If you are Gérald Morin, you implement a suite of Microsoft solutions. Gérald, Quality and Methods Manager at the Université Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), delivered a […]

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PPM Practices: A panel discussion on now and the future

July 14, 2014

At the Gartner PPM & IT Governance Summit last month I sat in on a panel discussion between Sajan Parihar who leads the project and portfolio business at Microsoft and Patrick Tickle, EVP of Products at Planview. The moderator put a question up on a slide and Sajan and Patrick had a few seconds to […]

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Giveaway: Healthcare Project Management

July 9, 2014

I have a great giveaway for you this month: a copy of Kathy Schwalbe and Dan Furlong’s book, Healthcare Project Management. At over 500 pages it’s a comprehensive guide to working in the healthcare sector, plus it includes a guide to Microsoft Project. It’s compatible with the PMBOK® Guide, Fifth Edition and it’s full of […]

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6 Reasons why networking is important

July 7, 2014

Ever wondered why you should be going to that seminar on risk management or that evening social event with a guest speaker? It’s because networking is an essential part of your job, whether you know it or not. Will Kintish expands on this in his book Business Networking: The Survival Guide. He explains the 6 […]

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Book Review: The Presentation Book

July 2, 2014

“A great presentation,” Emma Ledden writes in The Presentation Book, “ is about figuring out what questions your audience need an answer to.” In other words, it’s not about what you want to say, it’s about what they want to hear. I read this book before doing a talk to the PMI Southern Ontario (Canada) […]

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