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The importance of effective communication in project management and how to ensure it

November 5, 2018

Communication is an art and an important part of our day-to-day life. It’s also an essential tool in the kit of any project manager. The success of large projects often hinges on a well-organized project communication management plan. With so many stakeholders and team members involved, each with a different task to perform, it’s essential to make sure everyone is clearly aware of their role and in what order tasks need to be completed.

What is project communication, and why is it important?

In the world of project management, communication can be defined as an exchange of knowledge, skills, and experience. The areas of communication usually include an internal information exchange, project marketing, and information management. Project managers should decide on their communication strategy at the beginning of a project and use this to guide the project from start to finish.

What are the important elements of a project communication plan?

A successful project management communication plan should deliver all necessary information to stakeholders, including the actions needed to distribute project content. It should also form strong connections between the people involved in the plan, their thoughts, and the content produced.

To make this happen, six important areas should be focused on.

  1. The successful communication of information among a team improves when the project manager encourages communication, pays attention to the dynamics and interactions between team members, holds everyone responsible for responsive communication, and embraces simplicity, clarity, and humanity.
  2. Aiding the formation of positive relationships will increase the efficiency of communication.
  3. If teams and stakeholders aren’t all working in the same locations, it’s up to the project manager to plan effective communication that will overcome distance boundaries.
  4. The proper use of technology is crucial to strong communication. It’s of great use when organizing stakeholders who are geographically separated.
  5. The use of a “virtual office” or even a customized app for team members to work from can create a hub for communication where all can work together, meet, and track problems and progress.
  6. Effective meetings are important for communication and momentum. Make sure that each meeting is focused and that everyone stays on task.

What percentage of a project manager’s time is spent communicating?

It’s clear that communication is an extremely important part of a project manager’s job. According to PMI, project managers report spending 75% to 90% of their time communicating through formal or informal means.

We’ve discussed how to create a successful project communication management plan, but what can a project manager do to improve their skills? Here are a few good habits to develop:

  • Accept the fact that clear and active communication is a key to the success of a project.
  • Create a communication framework that details who will communicate what information to who.
  • Invest in developing your soft skills and becoming a confident communicator. If you began in a more technical position, it’s especially important to strengthen these skills.
  • Communicate openly and proactively no matter what message is being delivered. Sometimes it’s most important to communicate well when something has gone wrong to build trust and maintain transparency.
  • Develop the ability to determine which style of communication is best suited to deliver your message to the appropriate audience. Detailed and technical messages are for tech teams, while managers and sponsors will require a simplified and direct message.
  • Speaking is only half of the communication skill set: Listening is also a very important aspect. Practice active listening skills to make your team members feel heard.

Most important skills for project managers

You probably noticed that the habits mentioned have much to do with practicing and developing certain skills. Here are the five skills most important to creating a strong communication plan for project management.

  1. Active listening: Listening carefully, asking beneficial questions, and checking for understanding will help you build trust with others and help you avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
  2. Non-verbal communication: Did you know that a large percentage of our communication actually occurs through non-verbal means? So much of our message is delivered through facial expressions, posture, and gestures.
  3. Friendliness, trust, and respect: It’s amazing how far a friendly tone and a simple smile can take you in efforts to build trust and form positive relationships. Why is this important in a professional setting? Because people are more likely to communicate ideas with someone they trust and hold in high esteem.
  4. Open-mindedness: Good communicators approach conversations with an open mind and a flexible point of view. It’s impossible to have a conversation without starting with a willingness to engage. Even if opinions differ, a more honest conversation is a more productive one.
  5. Feedback and collaboration: Accepting and learning from feedback are important skills that will improve communication. Plan project management processes to include a collaborative environment where all involved feel comfortable with sharing ideas and concerns.

The risks of poor communication

While good communication can increase the odds of success of a project, there are many risks inherent in poor communication. Miscommunication, weak communication, and negative interactions with the team and stakeholders can have severe adverse effects.

Poor team communication
Poor stakeholder communication
  • Misunderstanding project goals
  • Missed deadlines
  • Increased conflicts
  • Disorganized team members
  • Decreased productivity
  • Going over budget
  • Lack of commitment from team members
  • Lack of buy-in
  • Misunderstanding of expectations and project goals
  • Conflict between stakeholders and team members
  • Stakeholders who might work against the project
  • Project failure

Simplify communication with a customized app

Project managers have much to gain by practicing good communication skills and putting a concentrated effort into good communication. You’ll notice that many suggestions advise clear instructions and organization. A customized app for project management can be a strong support in this.

Quickbase gives project managers the power to design their own apps with little to no coding knowledge required. Create dashboards, connect teams and data anywhere, receive automated notifications, reminders, reports, and more . These tools can centralize and organize information in a clear manner that everyone on your team can access. The Quickbase platform has been proven to improve efficiency, productivity, and collaboration.

Because of the collaborative nature of Quickbase app-building, you’ll be able to involve your team, quickly integrate feedback, and give everyone an easy access point to keep track of a project, update progress, and track timelines. All of these app features will help you complete a project on time and increase team visibility.

Many of the aspects of good communication can be easily enhanced and practiced by using custom applications built with the Quickbase platform. Experience the benefits for yourself by starting a free trial today. Once you discover how much Quickbase can improve communication within your team, you’ll be able to start a monthly plan or an annual plan available in premier, platform, and enterprise packages. Reach out to us by phone, email, or online chat with any questions: We can help you learn more about Quickbase’s exciting features or decide which package is best for your business needs. Contact us today and start improving your communication skills with our collaborative and powerful app building platform.