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  • Ravi Sharma

Role of Communication in Project Management

Updated: Feb 11, 2022

Lot of people ask me about the most important component for managing a project. I believe all project managers would agree to the role of 'Communication' as the most important and thats exactly what I also believe in. And as I gain more experience by working on newer projects, this belief only gets stronger. There are multiple Knowledge areas which all are key components for any projects i.e. management of Scope, Time, Cost, Quality, Human Resources, Risk, Procurement and communications. Each of these components play a key role for any project, big or small. But role of communication is the key for any project.

Effective and efficient communication can change the fate of a project even if there are substantial risks in the beginning. A project manager can mitigate the risk by ensuring that all the stakeholders are very well aware of situation in advance and the ideas are flowing freely from the team. Sometimes the solutions to a problem can be very simple and can come from the youngest team members.

There are various communication methods like, phone call, emails, meetings, messenger chats or even informal discussions in cafeteria. All these mediums help the project manager to capture vital information for the project. Before getting into a formal meeting with team members, a good project manager always ensures that the agenda and outcome is well defined and shared with team members. This will ensure the meeting is short and efficient for all the attendees. Therefore for any project meeting one should ensure three items are available for all the attendees.

1. Agenda; 2. Expected Outcome; 3. Meeting Notes/Actions

These three tasks looks pretty simple but if not managed properly, can lead to chaos among the team members and can leave them with assumptions which can be fatal for the project.

One of the most important communication tool a project manager has is "Ask". Yes, its that Simple. A good project manager should always have questions about the project status, planning, concerns etc. The more questions you ask, more clarity you will have on the project. Asking questions about the future tasks in advance can help identify potential risks. Asking questions about the historical information from PMO can help take right decision for the current project. Asking customer about their expectation on a very simple task of SW release process can help in filling the gaps process/understanding.

The communication plan should be developed/available before the start of project. This plan should be well communicated/discussed with all the stakeholders with details on expectation from each team member. There is no one-size-fits-all communication plan for all the projects. It depends on team size, project duration, regional/cultural differences. Project managers should develop the communication plan that suits best for their projects. The main components of a good communication plan includes, schedule/frequency of meetings/status reports, communication medium, information sources, stakeholders. The project manager spends most the time in communication therefore its extremely important to lay focus this crucial component of project management.

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