Managing a project is difficult enough on its own. A project must be completed in a pre-set time frame and it must be completed properly. Otherwise, clients or customers and upper management won't be too happy about it. The foundation for every successful project is effective communication. Without communication, information can be lost or misplaced, mistakes can be made and the project can easily go astray. This causes additional costs, delays, frustration and perhaps even loss of business, due to a damaged reputation.
As a project manager, it's your responsibility to make sure everything doesn't fall apart. That can easily seem like the weight of the world upon your shoulders, especially if a project is a particularly complex one. However, with good organization and a bit of careful planning, you can ensure the seamless communication between departments and teams involved in the project to ensure project success. That being said, here are 6 ways project management can improve with communication.
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Respect your employees
Before you establish good lines of communication, you have to ensure that people will actually listen to you and follow your lead. Being respectful towards your colleagues is a great way to establish a good relations and ensure that your messages will be well received. Take the time to get to know your team members better.
Maintaining an open-door policy is another method you can use to build trust and respect with your team, it enables employees to talk to you if they need to clear out any unresolved issues and come to you for appropriate answers to their questions. The foundation for good communication between departments and teams lies in trust and respect. Even though many people claim that respect is earned and not given, it won't hurt you to make an exception and make the first step.
Teamwork and collaboration are essential aspects of good communication and are also crucial for the success of the project. Encourage your teams to brainstorm, as well as share ideas. That way, you encourage good communication between teams and even between individual employees.
The key to a successful project is to come up with ideas that will help everyone finish their duties in an effective and timely manner. Therefore, if anyone has any thoughts on how you can achieve that, they should be encouraged to voice their opinions. You should also encourage employees to discuss various ideas, in order to reach the best solution possible.
Ensure everyone has access to information
Information is vital in every line of communication. Having access to relevant data and information is crucial for every team member. That way, they can do their job efficiently and without unnecessary delays. This is especially true if you have both in-house and remote teams working together on the same project. Make sure everyone has access to information they need to do their job.
You could also implement a reliable document management system that will help create, sort and store any important files and make them easily accessible to everyone who needs them. That way, you ensure a seamless flow of information between teams, departments and partners working on a project. Just imagine how inefficient it would be for an employee to request access to vital information and cannot continue with their work until someone approves it. It's a waste of both time and resources.
Leverage project management tools
Project management tools are an excellent means for ensuring that everyone on the project is on the same page. Project management tools encourage collaboration and allow employees to effectively communicate with each other. Moreover, teams can have insight into the progress of other teams so that they can sync their efforts to improve overall performance.
Moreover, other employees can help each other out if any problem arises during the project's development stage. There are plenty of project management tools made available for you, just make sure you pick the one that suits your business needs the most and also ensure that the tool you've chosen has good means of communication implemented.
Meetings are essential for good communication. They allow everyone to understand the project's progress and also determine the next steps that need to be taken. Meetings are also very effective at encouraging the sharing of ideas, as well as collaboration. As a project manager, you have to decide which time is the best time to schedule a meeting. For example, meeting on a weekly basis or meeting after reaching a project's milestone.
Also, you must decide with whom to hold meetings with. Usually, team leaders are sufficient to hold a meeting, but you must make sure they'll pass relevant information to other team members. It's important to understand that as beneficial meetings can be, they can also easily become a distraction that negatively influences productivity. Therefore, you should hold meetings at regular intervals, just make sure they don't interrupt your teams too much.
Don't neglect your remote teams
Remote teams are also essential to a project's success. That's why it's important not to forget about them. When the schedule is tight and there's a lot of work to be done, it becomes easy for project managers to focus only on in-house teams and neglect remote employees.
That can be a costly mistake because, if communication fails even at a single point, the whole project can be jeopardized. Communication needs to be efficient organizational-wide and your remote teams need to be kept in the loop. You can leverage instant messaging apps to help remote teams communicate with others. In addition, you must include them into your meetings via conference or video calls.
Communication that's effective and reliable is key to the success of any project. If every team is kept isolated and kept in the dark, the project cannot be finished on time or finished successfully, for that matter. If you manage to maintain good communication and flow of information the project should stay on track.
David Webb is a Sydney-based business consultant, online marketing analyst and a writer. With six years of experience and a degree in business management, he continuously informs the public about the latest trends in the industry. He is a Senior Editor at BizzmarkBlog. You can reach him on Twitter or Facebook.