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Simple Ways On How To Combat Project Management Communication Issues

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Effective communication is the backbone of project management. It ensures project managers and team members are on the same page while working on a certain project. However, communication challenges in project management are also inevitable.

The most common root of some issues in a project team is poor communication and in worst cases, it might lead to project failure. Even the best tools won’t matter if you don’t have good communication skills.

Importance of effective communication in project management

Project management is a complex process and requires a strong combination of technical and soft skills. One of the most important skills essential for project managers is the ability to communicate effectively with their team members.

Communication is the key to successful projects. If team members don’t know what to do and how to accomplish their tasks, the entire project will be at stake. Maintaining an open and clear channel of communication between project managers and team members ensures a smooth flow of instructions.

Without communication, team members might multiply their efforts for a certain task, setting aside the other goals to be accomplished. Because of this, resources might be misallocated and the whole project plan might be destroyed.

Also, as a project manager, you need to have a clear vision of possible roadblocks during the project development process. With clear communication, you can make sure everyone is aware about the risks and contingency plans in case problems arise.

Top communication skills for project managers

To be an effective project manager, you must learn how to communicate consistently with your team members, stakeholders and clients. In this way, you can make sure everyone knows the current status of the project.

Creating an effective communication strategy can be tricky. Here are some of the communication skills you need to practice as a project manager.

Maintaining an open and clear channel of communication between project managers and team members ensures a smooth flow of instructions.

Effective listening

Project managers don’t just make their team members listen as they speak–they also need to listen to their team members as they give feedback and suggestions. This will help you understand the issues and roadblocks that hinder the successful completion of your project. YIn this way, you can come up with the most feasible solution to address the challenges.  problem.

A good leader is also a good listener. Just because you’re the project manager doesn’t mean your team members don’t have the right to voice out their thoughts and express their ideas about the project. Successful project management roots from effective communication and good teamwork.

Efficiency

Efficiency is more important than speed. As a project manager, you must ensure your team members know that they should value the quality of their output all the time while making sure to comply with the given deadline. If there’s an issue to be solved that can delay the completion of the project, consider to work on solutions rather than forcing your team to meet the deadline while compromising the quality of your deliverables.

Respect

Project management is all about building good relationships. Treat your team members well so they’ll treat you with respect too. Also, this will reflect your effectiveness as a project manager.

People are placed on projects for a reason. All team members serve a specific purpose in bringing value to the project. Regardless of your position, you should see each and everyone fairly and treat them with the same level of respect.

Making sure everyone is on the same page

One of the primary purposes of communication in project teams is to make sure all of your team members are on the same page. As a project manager, it’s your responsibility to check your people and see if they’re having troubles with their tasks. In this way, you can act on issues as they arise and avoid the delay of the project completion.

Clear and consistent communication is crucial for project success. Whether you’re working in the same office or managing your team remotely, it’s important to utilize different communication tools to track the progress of your team.

Most common communication challenges in project management

Effective communication is a powerful skill but is sometimes undervalued. Project managers and team members usually become unsuccessful in delivering quality output because of some communication issues. Here are some examples of poor communication in project management.

Communication inconsistency

Communication always starts at the top. When project managers don’t provide enough information about the project, team members can’t deliver the project goals and objectives.

Among the other project management methodologies, the agile approach mostly requires communication consistency. Agile teams work on iterations during the project development process and without proper communication, it’s easy to lose track of changes in strategies.

Also, most team members feel disconnected from their team when they are not on the same page with their project manager or clients. Most of the time, they get lost in the process since they can’t keep up with their project manager.

Improper use of tools

As industries get modernized, project teams now utilize emails and other communication platforms to reach each other and get in touch with their project managers. Project teams need to adapt to faceless and desk-less communication so they can keep track of their tasks especially when working remotely.

However, some team members might get confused and frustrated with the tools and platforms available to keep the communication up across the whole team. In this case, you might find it hard to reach them and ask how they’re doing.

Lack of feedback

Feedback is your opportunity to have a clear vision of the project development process and whether there’s any hurdles along the way. But sometimes, team members hesitate to talk to their project managers.

If so, there might be an issue between team members and the project manager or no one is confident enough to voice out problems to their project manager. This occurs when the project manager is unapproachable and it can be a big issue especially if it affects the progress of the project.

Inefficient leadership

Inconsistent communication can also lead to ineffective leadership. If you don’t communicate well, your team members might have an impression that your organizational culture doesn’t encourage conversation and exchange of ideas.

Your team looks up to you for clarity especially when having some issues with the project development process. Otherwise, it can lead to confusion and demotivation. Also, project managers who don’t lead their teams effectively and efficiently might end up facing bigger problems like misunderstandings and delayed projects.

How to communicate effectively with your project team

Project teams should have constant communication whether through email, video conferencing or face-to-face. Developing effective communication strategies will help you and your team achieve your project goals.

Here are some tips to help you overcome different communication challenges while working with your project team.

Set regular meetings with your team.

Conduct regular strategic meetings with your team to make sure everyone is informed and updated with the progress of your project. Also, this gives your team members the opportunity to be present especially when you discuss some iterations you need to work on. In this way, they can voice out their opinions and suggestions on how you can improve your processes.

A productive meeting must include:

  • A note-taker
  • Clear written agenda
  • Status report
  • Actionable steps
  • The next meeting schedule

However, if you’re working on agile or scrum projects, you need to conduct four types of meetings:

  • Sprint planning
  • Daily standup
  • Sprint review
  • Sprint retrospective

These types of meetings help agile and scrum teams to assess whether they accomplished each sprint or need to adjust something. In this way, you can ensure everything is clear and settled before proceeding to the next sprint.

Most importantly, you must ensure your stakeholders are informed as well so they can see the progress of the project and where they can fit in the process.

Create project expectations.

Your project expectations serve as your roadmap towards the project development process. Before starting on a project, make sure your team members and stakeholders know what to expect and what you should expect from them. And as a project manager, it’s also your responsibility to let them know what they should expect from you.

Discuss your project goals and objectives and set feasible ways on achieving them. Also, you need to decide what communication platforms you’ll use throughout the course of the project. In this way, you can ensure consistent and efficient communication among your team members and stakeholders.

Discuss project deliverables.

Check your deliverables from time to time and review them as a team. This can help you collaborate with your team members and build a stronger output. When working on your project plan, make sure to include time to review and discuss your project deliverables.

Discussing project deliverables can also generate more confidence in what you’re building and will set your team members accountable for their decisions. Also, the short reviews and discussions about the next deliverables can help you improve your processes and reduce the risk of having negative impacts from a previous deliverable if there’s any.

Be transparent.

Communication can sometimes be time consuming. When communicating with your team members and stakeholders, make sure to create a transparent, clear and concise message. Before answering a phone call or replying to an email, it’s important to consider the purpose of communication and your desired outcome.

If you need to call your team members back later on and provide details about your call to your other team members, let them know. Also, use the best medium of communication for certain situations. Make sure you get your message in a way that everyone in your team can easily understand.

Encourage engagement among stakeholders.

Align your communication and the overall project plan with your stakeholders. The process of identifying stakeholders starts when the project charter is approved. In this stage, you need to create a stakeholder register including communication preferences and categorize them according to power, influence and expectations.

Once you start working on the project, you must monitor and adjust stakeholders’ communication to increase support from them. Afterall, they are all part of the project and they need to be updated from time to time.

Utilize different communication and collaboration tools.

Different collaboration tools help teams to streamline everything they need to do when working on a project. Also, these are great tools for facilitating the collaboration between you, your team and your stakeholders.

As a project manager, you need to understand that you can’t roam around to check your team members from time to time. Instead, you should utilize the different tools available to ensure everyone is working on a task and whether they have productive progress or not.

Slack is great for instant messaging. Every task or every project can have its own channel and every channel has its own members, added as needed, so no one is overwhelmed by messages that don’t concern them and their responsibilities.

A lot of collaboration tools help organize and assign tasks to team members.

  • Trello
  • ClickUp
  • Asana
  • Basecamp
  • Monday

These platforms will help you manage your team easier since you no longer have to check on them one by one to know how they’re doing. They give a snapshot preview of where everyone is in their tasks, and what needs to be done.

Foster respect in your team.

While it’s natural to put a lot of weight on the opinions of people from a higher level, acknowledging your team members’ thoughts and suggestions matter. All team members should have their freedom to express their concerns without feeling inferior, and everyone in the team should function in a culture of respect and kindness.

Communication is vital towards project success. Create a clear and consistent communication strategy for your team to make sure everyone is informed about the project’s progress or if there are some iterations that need to be done. In this way, you can ensure your team members and stakeholders have a clear vision of what to expect and what should be done to complete the project successfully.

Check out GPML’s PMP exam prep course page and boost your project management skills now.

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