One essential factor of successful project management is proper communication. Sometimes, IT managers and personnel find it difficult to communicate project goals and progress with a non-technical audience, simply due to the nature of the work involved.
A foundational study by the Standish Group found that IT project success is dependent upon good communication. Three main success factors are: participation, management support and clear requirements.
How to Improve Project Communication
In order to avoid project failures — which can result in losses of time and money — make communication a priority throughout the project timeline.
- In the beginning: Ensure that all parties involved clearly understand project objectives and direction.
- During the project: Provide regular, understandable updates to the project team and stakeholders to keep everyone on the same page.
- In the end: Tie deliverables and outcomes back to agreed-upon objectives.
Be Clear and Direct
As a project manager, you must answer questions and provide information that stakeholders outside of IT — often without a technical background — will clearly understand. Here are some tips outlined in Bruce McGraw’s blog, “When Facts Are Not Enough,” that focus on the importance of clarity and directness when communicating project requirements and status updates:
- Define technical terms and expectations upfront for those that may not be familiar with IT jargon.
- Answer questions, and explain to stakeholders why data is relevant in terms of cost, performance or ease of use.
- Keep details to a minimum; it can be easy to lose your point if it is covered in excess language.
- Use examples, tell stories and use testimonials. All of these will help everyone involved understand the message you want to convey.
How Nonverbal Communication Can Help
Besides verbal communication, work management software can improve nonverbal communication among your team by helping everyone prioritize and manage their own activities, and see how they fit within the complete project. A central location makes it easier to manage timelines and tasks, and share project-status updates with one another.
In addition, improve reporting to stakeholders with real-time updates. Visual features such as Gantt charts and project-status graphs can help you tell your story, and translate technical details into meaningful business information.
How do you communicate with your team and stakeholders during projects? Do you use any programs or systems to assist in proactive internal communication? See how TeamHeadquarters may work.