Project Management: The Importance of Communication
I have read numerous articles suggesting communication is the most important component of project management. While I believe there are other parts of that are equally important, the degree to which frequent and meaningful communication occur during a project shouldn’t be underestimated.
There are several types of communication that usually occur during a project. These may vary depending on the size of the specific project. At the highest level, they can be divided into formal and informal.
Formal communication includes things like:
- Weekly Status Meetings
- Status Reports
- Billing and Invoicing Information
- Project Plans
- Risk and Issue Matrix
Informal communication includes:
- Phone calls
- Emails (although depending on the contents of the email, this could also be considered formal communication)
- Hallway conversations
Each of these methods of communication serves an important purpose in effectively managing a project. I have found it particularly useful on larger projects to establish a formalized communication plan, as early in the project as possible. There are numerous examples and templates for a communication plan that can be found on the internet. The important criterion to consider is:
- Method of communication or device (online meeting, weekly status report, risk matrix, etc.)
- Who is responsible for creating or scheduling the meeting or document?
- How often is an update needed?
- What is the audience?
- Does the communication result in an approval of the document being produced?
When this type of plan is created upfront on a project it helps to ensure that the project teams, as well as the project stakeholders all have a common understanding and agreement related to project based communication.
-Dan Thompson, PEI