Communication is one of the fundamental factors that contribute to the success of a project. It is a core competency that when properly executed in the context of organizational project and management of program connects members of a project team to distinct sets of strategies, actions, and goals (Cooke-Davies 2002). When project managers fail to share these components with project leads and stakeholders, the projects that they are managing will experience a jeopardized outcome and their budget would incur unnecessary risks. As noted by Muller and Turner, the success of a project depends on the communication methods that a manager has implemented (2010). When a project manager uses an efficient mode of communication, the project would ultimately be successful. However, wrong communication methods would render the project to numerous failures since the project leads and stakeholders would not be reading from the same page about the progress of the project.
The primary objective of this paper is to discuss the importance of communication in project management and the effective means of communication that project managers must adapt to achieve its success. The article also provides a four-step process for effective communication. The success of any project relies on efficient communication. Many companies are acutely aware that better project management can only be achieved when there is an effective communication method. For instance, as discussed in the Project Management Institute report, business research from Forbes, Towers Watson, and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC shows the awareness of companies on the positive impact that effective communications have on projects (2013). However, different organizations face numerous challenges in implementing it due to various factors such as the nature of the project, organizational structure, etc.
The importance of communication in project management
Communication plays an integral role in the success of any project. Relay of information is one of the fundamental facets of communication in project management. A manager should ensure that the team members and stakeholders are informed about what they expect of them about their roles and responsibilities and other factors that would hinder them from finishing their tasks in time. Managers should also keep them informed of the progress and details of the project. Relay of information calls for reception of information. Project managers must regularly access the information for a given project before transmitting it to team members. Such information would be the objectives, risks, plan, time constraints and the needs of the customers about the project (Layman et al. 2006). Regular and focused communication reduces misunderstandings and delays that would result into failure in any project (Kappelman, McKeeman & Zhang 2006). The fluidity of projects calls for managers to prepare for challenges that they would face from the beginning to the end of the project. To avoid any problems posed by the dynamics of the project, managers should have a proper plan that contains information that would be needed for during specific meetings, the recipients of the information, the frequency of information required, and the needs to be relayed to team members. Communication also helps in bridging the language gap. As discussed by Penley and Hawkins in 1985, the language gap in project management hinders understanding of business benefits. Project managers should use a language that can easily understand by team members.
The effective means of communication that project managers must adopt
The success of any project lies in the efficiency of communication process by managers. For any manager to understand a communication process, they must understand all the relevant factors. Some of these factors are; the communication process requires a sender, and a receiver, a medium to communicate the content of a message, a message, feedback between the sender and the receiver, the communication process is not always clean and the communication process is in a setting or context that influences results (Mirza, Pourzolfaghar & Shahnazari 2013). When a manager understands these factors, their method of communication would be efficient, and they would bring both stakeholders and team members on board. Most projects are usually extensive and demand proper coordination between the manager, stakeholders and project team. The factors discussed above would help any project manager to ensure that everyone is clear about they must achieve, and they also need to report to on progress to the project board.
Four-step process for effective communication
A four-step process for effective communication explains the steps that a project manager takes to ensure that the right information is relayed to team members and stakeholders. These steps are:
Identification of communication requirements
The first phase calls for identification of the needs of the stakeholders and team members. During planning, it is determined how to apply that information. For the communication to be clear and concise, it must be handled in a structured way. The information can be structured as formal written, formal verbal, informal written and informal verbal depending on the complexity of a problem (Davenport, De long & Beers 1998).
Identification and accommodation of enterprise environmental factors
Communication management processes are majorly linked to the enterprise environmental factors. Some of the enterprise environmental factors that affect project communications are; organizational culture, the project's work authorization system, the marketplace condition, the human resources that the project will depend on and interact with and standards and regulations the project must adhere to (Geoghegan & Dulewicz 2008). Project managers should identify and review these enterprise factors and align their project initiative considering all these factors.
Identification of the major obstacles in communication
A communication process may experience numerous challenges in project management. Some of these barriers are; political, cultural and linguistic challenges. A project manager must be able to identify these problems and develop proper plans for mitigating these challenges.
Sharing of communication
Communication sharing hugely contributes to the success of a project. A project manager can use different avenues in communication. These modalities of communication entail meetings, reports, emails, etc. As noted by Kendra and Tuplin, the manager should identify the most effective approved methods of communication for the project based on the nature of the message to be relayed (2004).
In summary, a project manager with practical communication skills heavily contributes to the success of the project. The manager can convey accurate information to the team members and stakeholders. They are also able to respond to the information from team members efficiently. A competent project manager in communication can identify the best communication methods and determine the challenges that might affect the relay of information.
Cooke-Davies, T., 2002. The real success factors on projects. International journal of project management, 20(3), pp.185-190.
Davenport, T.H., De Long, D.W. and Beers, M.C., 1998. Successful knowledge managementprojects. Sloan management review, 39(2), p.43.
Geoghegan, L. and Dulewicz, V., 2008. Do project managers' leadership competencies contribute to project success? Project Management Journal, 39(4), pp.58-67.
Kappelman, L.A., McKeeman, R. and Zhang, L., 2006. Early warning signs of IT project failure: The dominant dozen. Information systems management, 23(4), pp.31-36.
Kendra, K. and Taplin, L.J., 2004. Project success: A cultural framework. Project management journal, 35(1), pp.30-45.
Layman, L., Williams, L., Damian, D., and Bures, H., 2006. Essential communication practicesfor Extreme Programming in a global software development team. Information and software technology, 48(9), pp.781-794.
Mirza, M.N., Pourzolfaghar, Z. and Shahnazari, M., 2013. The significance of scope in projectsuccess. Procedia Technology, 9, pp.722-729.
Muller, R. and Turner, R., 2010. Leadership competency profiles of successful projectmanagers. International Journal of Project Management, 28(5), pp.437-448.
Penley, L.E. and Hawkins, B., 1985. Studying interpersonal communication in organizations: A leadership application. Academy of Management Journal, 28(2), pp.309-326.
Project Management Institute, Inc., 2013. The High Cost of Low Performance: The Essential Role of Communication, 31(2), pp.1-6.
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