Communication in Project Management (Project Management Institute)

July 23, 2023

6 min read

Communication in Project Management - Project Management Institute

Communication in project management is indispensable. Project Management Institute (PMI) understands the importance of sharing information and ideas between project stakeholders, including team members, managers, customers, and other interested parties. Effective communication ensures that everyone involved in the project is on the same page and working toward the same goals.

We’ll discuss the importance of communication in project management and go through some tips on how to implement effective communication processes in project management, including project management on a global scale.

The Importance of Communication in Project Management

A 2010 Project Management Institute conference paper contends that communication is the lifeblood of a project and is essential for exchanging information efficiently. A 2013 PMI report indicates that communication plays a vital role in connecting project team members and achieving success. Research shows that ineffective communication puts 56 percent of project budgets at risk. Highly effective communicators are more likely to be part of high-performing organizations.

A 2010 Project Management Institute white paper contends that highly effective communicators are more likely to meet goals as well as deliver projects on time and within budget. Lack of effective communication increases project risks and contributes to failure to meet business goals. Formal communication plans, tailored to the organization, help target messages, define responsibilities, and ensure strategic benefits are understood by stakeholders. Early conversations and stakeholder involvement in project planning can uncover unmet needs and lead to necessary adjustments.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the reasons why communication in project management is essential:

  • It helps clarify project goals and expectations. When everyone involved in the project understands the goals and expectations, they’re more likely to be aligned and working toward the same thing. This can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that the project stays on track.
  • Communication helps identify and resolve problems early. If there are any problems with the project, communication can help identify them early on and find solutions. This can help prevent the problems from escalating and causing more serious delays or disruptions down the line.
  • It helps build trust and rapport among team members. When team members communicate effectively, they’re more likely to trust and respect each other. This can help create a positive and productive work environment.
  • Communication helps to keep stakeholders informed. Stakeholders are the people who have a vested interest in the project, such as customers, investors, or government agencies. Communication with stakeholders helps keep them informed about the progress of the project and any potential risks or challenges. This increases trust and cooperation.

Tips for Effective Communication in Project Management

First, we’ll look at what PMI has to say about effective communication in project management, and then we’ll zoom in on some general tips.

Advice From the Project Management Institute

A 2010 Project Management Institute conference paper explains that the communication process requires a sender, receiver, medium, message, and feedback. To communicate effectively, project managers must have a good understanding of the communications process. An effective communication plan is key, and the project manager and team should work together to identify communication requirements, accommodate enterprise environmental factors, and identify organizational process assets.

A 2013 report from the Project Management Institute urges that, to improve communication, it’s important to close the gap around business benefits, tailor communications to different stakeholders, and recognize the value of project management. Project communication practices should be standardized. Download the report for more information on communication challenges and solutions for project success.

A 2010 Project Management Institute white paper contends that project managers and teams should focus on speaking the language of business and emphasizing project results. Communication should extend to external stakeholders and the community to gain support and address concerns. Communication plans should be formal and tailored to the organization.

A 2013 Project Management Institute conference paper argues that engaging stakeholders early on and maintaining communication throughout the project lifecycle is a best practice. In complex projects, it’s beneficial to involve other project team members in stakeholder communications based on their expertise. Also, you should involve virtual team members in planning communication processes and procedures. Regularly checking in with stakeholders to assess the effectiveness of communications is important. Different communication modes and styles should be utilized to reach a wide audience effectively.

General Tips for Communication in Project Management

Let’s look at some general advice for effective communication in project management to keep your team and stakeholders tracking together throughout the project.

Before You Communicate

Be aware of your audience’s needs and preferences. What kind of information do they need to know? How do they prefer to receive information?

Plan your communications. Before you start communicating, take some time to plan what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who you need to communicate with. This will help you ensure that your communications are clear, concise, and targeted. You might find it helpful to practice with an AI speech coach such as Yoodli.

As You Communicate

Be timely. Communicate with your team and stakeholders in a timely manner. Don’t wait until the last minute to share important information.

Be proactive. Don’t wait for problems to arise before you communicate with your team and stakeholders. Be proactive in communicating about the project’s progress and any potential challenges.

Be clear and concise. When you’re communicating, be clear about what you’re trying to say. Use simple language that your audience can understand, and avoid jargon or technical terms that they might not be familiar with.

Use the right communication channels. There are many different communication channels available, so choose the ones that are most appropriate for your audience and the message you’re trying to convey. For example, you might use email for routine updates and video conferencing for more complex discussions.

Be specific and provide details. Don’t just say, “The project is on track.” Tell your audience what specifically is on track and how.

Be positive and encouraging. Focus on the project’s successes, and highlight the progress that’s been made.

Be open and transparent. Be honest and upfront with your team and stakeholders about the project’s progress, challenges, and risks. This will help build trust and ensure that everyone’s on the same page.

After You Communicate

Be a good listener. In addition to communicating effectively, it’s also important to be a good listener. Pay attention to what your team and stakeholders are saying, and ask questions to clarify anything you’re not sure about.

Follow up. After you’ve communicated with your team and stakeholders, be sure to follow up to make sure they understood your message. This is important especially if you’re communicating about something complex or if you’re asking for their input.

Be open to feedback. Ask your team and stakeholders for their feedback on your communications. This will help you improve your communication skills and ensure that your messages are clear and effective.

Tips for Communication in Global Project Management

Project management on a global scale has unique challenges and opportunities. A 2010 Project Management Institute conference paper explains that major obstacles in communication include political, cultural, and linguistic barriers. A 2011 PMI conference paper emphasizes that global business requires effective cross-cultural communication to avoid misunderstandings and frustration. Nuances and complexities arise when working with distributed resources and different work practices.

The paper goes on to say that communication tools like email and conference calls are essential but can lead to misinterpretation and prioritization issues. A well-planned project communication strategy includes roles, meetings, standards, and transition plans. Time-zone differences pose challenges for real-time meetings and require careful coordination, but multiple time zones also can be advantageous for managing resources and meeting deadlines.

Also, the paper points out that understanding cultural norms is essential for effective collaboration on global teams. Communication styles and expectations may vary based on language, culture, and industry norms. Global project managers should be mindful of language barriers and avoid asking yes or no questions.

Wrapping Up

Communication in project management is essential because it helps ensure that everyone involved is on the same page, working towards the same goals, and resolving problems early. This can help to prevent delays, disruptions, and ultimately, project failure.

Note: This post was created in partnership with artificial intelligence.


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