Why There Is An Importance Of Communication In Project Management
By Deepesh KotwaniJan 28, 2020
Communication is the lubrication of the bearings.
Lack of lubrication on bearings results in adhesive wear. Likewise, communication works as lubrication in project management. Absence or lack of it will have adverse results on the project.
According to a study by PMI, ineffective communications is the primary contributor to project failure one-third of the time and has a negative impact on project success more than half the time.
Poor communication results in the following:
- Delay or failure to complete the project
- Missed performance goals
- Increased stress
- Low morale
- Lost sales.
Communication gap is like a virus, once it enters the organization, it just keeps on spreading and disturbing the overall performance of the team.
Communication is the key to working together as a team. It is necessary with the team as without communication how will they know what task they have to accomplish? How will you know the progress of the project without asking the staff about the same? And on what ground will you carry your product when you are unclear of what the customers want from the project without communicating and understanding their needs and wants?
All these factors will make your project stuck.
Here are some reasons that will clear the importance of communication in project management:
According to PMI, a project manager should spend 90% of their time communicating! Communication is the pivotal skill of any project manager. All the other skills solely depend on their communication skills. However, one can never perfect the skill of communication and thus should keep working on improving it.
1. Relay Information:
The actual work in the project is done by the team members. In order to start working on the project, it is necessary that they are informed about their roles and responsibilities for the particular project.
As a project manager, it is your duty to make sure that all the members and the stakeholders are well informed about the vision statement of the project.
2. Receiving Information:
Many times, the stakeholders want to know the progress of the project and which deliverables or milestones were last accomplished. The project manager is responsible for keeping the upper management and all the stakeholders informed about all the information related to the project. i.e plan, risks, objectives, time constraints, customer needs, etc.
The project manager has to be in daily contact with the client and keep them updated and informed that everything is going as per their wants.
3. Discussing Problems:
Projects and problems come as a combo pack.
So if you are carrying out any project, do expect problems to arise. Any problem will result in either delay in the project or will have an effect on the budget. In order to avoid this, the project manager is supposed to all the problems that can arise and prepare a solution for that.
If the problem arises after that too, you have one loophole and that is communication. To solve the problem you can take the help of the team members or from the upper management or you can directly report it to the client and then you two can sort out some solution.
4. Bridging the language gap:
Here the language gap refers to understanding. It is the duty of the project manager to discuss the company’s strategic alignment and the project scope with the members.
Then only they can understand their duties and role in completing the project. This way they will have a deeper knowledge of what they are doing and why they are doing it and thus they can provide their 100% to the tasks.
5. Change in Situation:
To encounter the problems that will come during the project execution, the project manager should prepare a communication plan in the planning stage of the project. It should be specified in the communication plan that what type of communication would be used or is required for meetings, frequency of the communication, communication would be done with whom, etc.
According to statistics, 57% of employees report not being given clear directions and 69% of managers are not comfortable communicating with the employees in general. This makes it clear that there is a need for improvement in workplace communication.
Here is a list of strategies you can practice at your workplace to improve communication skills:
1. Having more Meetings:
To save time, we use software like WhatsApp or other communication tools for speedy communication, which is good for speed but what we do is we eliminate the meetings. Now, this is a serious problem, as discussing serious topics on these tools or over a phone call doesn’t clearly transmit what the person wants to say.
According to psychological researcher Albert Mehrabian, just 7% of meaning is derived from the actual words that we’re saying. The remaining 55% comes from our body language, and 38% is our tone of voice.
Humans need face to face communication to express themselves or their ideas properly. Moreover, this acts as an opportunity for the manager to interact with the members and for the members to express themselves.
2. One on one communication:
Everyone is different and so is their catchup speed. Communication is not a one size fits all tool. Range your communication strategy from person to person. One-on-one communication is useful when you have some sensitive information to share or have something personal to talk about.
It is also useful as while communicating you can focus on the person’s eyes and body language and respond when the person is not verbally communicating to you, while you are discussing something uncomfortable.
3. Organize engaging team building activities:
According to a 2017 report by Gallup, companies with engaged workers generally earn 2.5-times more in revenue. Team building activities will help in increasing the productivity of the employees and will motivate them to increase their engagement.
Team building activities take the formal environment of the office to a bit of an informal one and make space for all the members to open up. Fun is what we humans crave for and if we get to have fun within the company itself, we start loving it.
Do watch the movie THE WOLF OF THE WALL STREET, which is a place where everyone would want to work and will definitely give their 100%. Just create a 1% environment as that movie has, and you will see notable changes.
4. Requesting for feedback:
The team generally has respect for the team leader or the manager. Now, it can be out of respect or out of fear, sometimes members are not able to say what they want to say or how they feel to the leader.
You are working with skilled members, thus, you should not just order them and get the work done, but you should communicate and get the work done. Therefore, in situations where the members are not able to communicate directly to you, feedback or anonymous feedback can work as a medium to do so. They can also provide some ideas or strategies.
5. Keep a schedule:
Fix your meetings or phone calls to a time that suits all.
Respect others' time and then they will respect yours. Moreover, everyone can make to a timely and scheduled meeting and they would be more attentive and would listen to you, as listening is the first step to effective communication. Otherwise, they would be physically at the meeting and mentally they would be either cursing you or would be thinking of the work that they left off unfinished to come to your unscheduled meeting.
6. Present Information Visually:
People can remember more than 2000 pictures with at least 90 % accuracy in recognition tests over a period of several days, even with short presentation times during learning. Therefore it is clear that our picture memory is far better than our ability to remember words.
We all say A for Apple as we picture a red apple when we hear A. This is why we are able to remember this our entire life.
Verbal and Oral communication is good when we are talking about any similar or known topic. But, when there is something complex like the data regarding the change of profit in the organization from the last 10 years, a graph or diagram is the best way to explain and understand the same, as in the absence of graph even the one who is explaining would not be able to do it clearly.
7. Use the right tool:
Using this will make it easier for you to assign tasks and manage your product. Thus, you can assign the task to the team members and then you can talk with the member or you can take follow-up on a single screen.
Effective communication is very important for the success of any project. It ensures minimum risks and maximum success. To ensure the project’s success, the project manager should ensure effective communication. Effective communication with the members results in effective completion of the project and effective communication with stakeholders will result in more projects for the manager and the team.
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