Good communication skills and behavior can make or break a project (and your career as a project manager). According to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession™In-Depth Report: The Essential Role of Communications, a full 50% of failed projects got into trouble because of ineffective communications.
To keep projects on track, project managers must know how to communicate effectively with all of their stakeholders, both those in the same office and those in other parts of the world.
Great project managers do three things well when they think about communicating:
Edit your message for your audience
- Different stakeholders need different levels of detail and different information. Far too many project managers make no effort at all edit the information they deliver to their different stakeholder groups. As a result, critical messages can get buried beneath huge mountains of data and not receive the attention they need. Worse yet, bad news is sometimes delivered without any contingency plan or impact analysis. The research in the Pulse report shows us that:
- 75 percent of high-performing organizations communicate project information with sufficient clarity and detail.
- That number falls to 34 percent among low performers, those that complete an average of 60 percent of projects against the same measures.
Select the right medium.
- Just because it is easy to send emails, does not mean it is the best way to communicate. How many of your emails do you delete without ever reading all the way to the bottom? Some messages need to be hand delivered, and some stakeholders must be communicated with face to face. According to the report:
- high performers (77 percent) communicate more often and using the best channel than low performing organizations (40 percent).
Communicate the Vision
- The project team needs to understand the business context of their work and to see how what they are doing aligns with the strategy of the organization. Without that higher level perspective, the work can quickly become tedious and mundane and the engagement level of the team quickly fade away to nothing. The research data shows us that:
- 64 percent of high performing project managers communicate strategy and business benefit more frequently, in comparison to 25 percent of low performers.