Creating a Project Communication Blueprint

23 05 2014

Effective communication has been on my radar all week due to some project communication issues I am dealing with at work!  When it came to completing this week’s assignment in my project management class, I fully understood how communication in various forms can and will affect the success of a project and even so much of what you try to accomplish in your own personal life.  Portny, Mantel, Meredith, Shafer, Sutton and Kramer (2008) explain:

The key to successful project management is effective communication ̶ sharing the right message with the right people in a timely manner.  Through communication people exchange and share information with one another, and influence one’s another’s attitudes, behaviors, and understandings. (p.357)

Throughout much of our lives, we have received various messages regarding the importance of effective communication, but yet there are times we all fall short of practicing it!  I am currently going through a management situation where control and communication are at the center.  I feel as if I am forced to adapt to a particular manager’s communication style, and yet, they are not making enough effort to adapt to my communication needs.  Whatever happened to compromise and collaboration? 

As I evaluated this week’s class exercise, I could definitely relate. In the exercise, we had to review a message sent to the receiver using three different mediums (email, voicemail, and face-to-face) and report the different interpretations.  The sender of the email requested the ETA of a missing report because it was delaying them from finishing up their report in order to meet a deadline.  When I read the email, my initial thoughts centered on the urgency and possible annoyance reflected through the written communication.  I know email is a huge part of our daily workday and communication channels, but I have some issues with the way email can sometimes come across as either too vague or too abrupt.   Another problem I see with email in my daily communications at work is the back and forth that can occur with emails.  Sometimes one simple question or request can take up to ten emails to arrive at the original point or solution.  In all of the back and forth, you will often see the interpretation of the message change.   The voicemail of this same message sounded professional and less urgent.  I actually related to this message a lot better.  The face-to-face message also sounded professional.  However, the facial expressions stood out to me.  While the message still had a sense of urgency, the speaker conveyed patience and professionalism through verbal expressions and body language.  “Nonverbal means of communication, such as gestures and facial expression, establish a closer connection with the audience, and enhance the message being communicated” (Kondrat, 2009).

Project management is governed by effective communication.  It pays to take the time to establish a good communication plan to undergird the project at hand.  Whether the communication is formal or informal, it is vital to make sure the right communication medium is appropriate. More important is to take a few minutes to evaluate how it will be perceived by the team members involved.  Communication can definitely make or break the success of a project.  It is important that each team member take some accountability for their communication contributions.  It is well worth the time and effort upfront to establish a communication blueprint to be used throughout the project life cycle. 

References

Portny, S. E., Mantel, S. J., Meredith, J. R., Shafer, S. M., Sutton, M. M., & Kramer, B. E. (2008). Project management: Planning, scheduling, and controlling projects. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Kondrat, A (2009, February 15). Developing effective communication skills. [Blog Message]. Retrieved from https://suite.io/alla-kondrat/1esx22h

 


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3 responses

26 05 2014
Melissa Topinka

I completely agree with your thoughts about email…it seems weekly, I watch seemingly harmless emails spiral into miscommunications and arguments. If I have something that is important to me, that I need to communicate, my instinct is to meet with the person face-to-face. I need to see the non-verbals in order to fully process the entire message. What I have learned is that in order to communicate effectively, I need to communicate in a way that is most effective for the person with who I am communicating. With this activity, I had to actively focus on what was the best communication for this situation. Though it can be extremely challenging, I have found that if I can communicate in a way that is effective for the other person, the compromise and collaboration will come.

26 05 2014
Bruce Sabala

Cheryl,

The email strings can be lengthy as you mention. Especially when they forward a message and you have to read various forwarded messages just to obtain the information needed. Face to face is the most ideal, but in the end they always tell you email the rest or to get further clarification. Everyone is so time constraint, but I guess executives use email as a shield to avoid personal meeting. But to add to your email method of communication some don’t even consider reviewing their emails for grammatical error that can change how the message is to be perceived.

26 05 2014
Wallace

I’m looking forward to following your blog.

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