Eight common project communication mistakes
Philip Yazbeck, senior consultant at Bizmod highlights eight common project communication mistakes that change managers make.
Project communication is the most visible of all project deliverables. Philip Yazbeck, senior consultant, at management consulting firm Bizmod says that if the stakeholder perception is that project communication was ineffective, all the hard work that went on behind the scenes can quickly be overlooked.
"For project management to be successful the change manager needs to master project-wide communication," says Yazbeck. He highlights eight common project communication mistakes that change managers make:
1. Not knowing their audience
It's important to know who you are communicating with and to 'speak their language'. Take the time to relate your project back to the strategic intent of the organisation.
2. No proper communication strategy and plan
Project communication needs to link-in with the project plan and be associated with key project milestones. Communication plans are often not taken very seriously and can be perceived as 'fluffy' and generic. Project communication requires a well thought-out plan around communicating to the various stakeholders, which includes the key messages, the channels and the timing.
3. The budget for communications is not clear
Developing content is a costly exercise. If a budget hasn't been allocated to creatively communicate with the audience then it can undermine the importance of the project and make it seem mediocre.
4. Sign off channels have not been formalised
If a hierarchy of sign-off has not been established, a free-for-all develops which leads to conflict and a bottleneck in getting the communication delivered. The solution here is to keep it simple.
5. Lack of creativity
Sometimes saying it exactly how it is, does not get the message across effectively. Give your content an interesting and engaging spin by relating the project to a theme, creating a story and making use of analogies and even humour to get the message across. People take a keener interest in your content if it's engaging and relatable to them.
6. No communication management
Project communication requires constant management, to the point of micro management. This may sound absurd, but when the execution of communication is not in your control, it is usually not a priority for someone else.
7. A big bang... then nothing or over-communicating
It's easy to deliver a big bang and land a successful launch, but if you didn't do your homework and plan a proper approach, the communication often falls flat quickly. You'll need to schedule more meaningful messages to support the initial launch information to help your audience make the connection. On the other end of the scale, if you bombard your audience with too much information and too often, then it is equally ineffective as people get annoyed and switch off.
8. No reflection on lessons learnt
You won't really know how successful your project communication was if you don't measure it. Just because the content was sent out, does not mean it was read.
Clear communication will help to ensure that new projects are implemented successfully and that any resistance to change is effectively managed and reduced. Yazbeck concludes, "Project communication is a vital component to successful project management."