How Clear Communication Contributes To Successful Project Management

Communication skills are the foundation of effective project management and are also the key to meeting goals on time and within budget. The implementation of the best practices from highly successful organizations should be considered to obtain better outcomes. The infographic below, created by Brandeis University’s Masters in Project Management Online Program takes a closer look.

How Clear Communication Contributes To Successful Project Management

Overall Project Success Rates

A study concerning the outcomes of various business projects revealed that there is a lot of room for improvement. They may have been started with the best of intentions but problems inevitably come up and take their toll. Less than two thirds meet their original goals and business intent while the rest fail in varying degrees. What’s more, only half are completed within the original budget as others balloon in cost along the way. Finishing on time is an achievement that a mere 49% can claim as delays hinder the completion of the remainder.

There are many reasons why projects fail. One of the biggest problems is ineffective communication. Organizations that communicate effectively are much more likely to complete successful projects, both on time and within the allotted budget. Comparisons between minimally effective communicators and highly effective communicators showed a wide gap in outcomes. Effective communicators are able to meet their original goals 80% of the time and finish on time without exceeding proposed budget in 76% of the cases. They also meet their deadlines in 71% of all the projects studied.

Poor communication has a real economic cost and companies must do everything they can to improve in this aspect of management to prevent losses. It is estimated that for every $1 billion spent on project management, as much as $75 million is at risk due to the ineffective way in which the persons concerned communicate with each other. The organizations that have realized the value of effective messaging and have made changes accordingly waste 13% less money on their projects. This is a significant portion of the budget that can be used in many other productive ventures.

Workplace Communication Skills

A group of researchers surveyed employees regarding the initiatives at their respective organizations and found that only 15% of the participants say that their companies are doing a good job at fostering communication in the workplace. This is an incredibly low number given its importance as we have previously shown. Business that which to enhance their efficiency, especially with regards to the completion of their various projects, should do more to ensure that their employees are given the proper training in order to be better communicators. It is an important issue to discuss as 69% of managers report feeling uncomfortable communicating with employees in general.

There are several issues that prevent effective leadership. Only 63% of workers report that management recognizes employee achievements and good deeds seem to be going unnoticed and this can badly hit the overall morale. About 57% report not being given clear directions when asked to do certain tasks. As much as they would like to do a good job, they are not fully equipped to deliver excellent results. Half of those surveyed said that their management does not make time to meet with employees. In some cases, managers even refuse to talk to subordinates. This situation is not conducive to success.

Best Practices for Effective Communication in Project Management

Companies must conduct an honest assessment of their management processes. Many will find that they require a massive overhaul in order to move forward as a better organization. There are a number of best practices that can be adopted from the most successful businesses. One of them is to simply listen. Around 64% of employees report that listening has become more difficult in today’s digital workplace. There are endless distractions that prevent people from focusing on the important messages. All of the parties concerned should keep an open mind and an open ear to when discussing their common tasks.

It is also recommended that the frequency of communication be increased. Among organizations, which have a record of successful completion, roughly 81% reported frequent communication about the business benefits and strategy of their projects. Everyone gets reminded of the reasons why they are working so hard to begin with on a regular basis. They also know exactly what they have to do to get things done. Providing constructive feedback is another important matter. An overwhelming majority of the respondents said that they feel valued when given feedback. They believe it is essential to their professional development as it helps them to become better workers.

Of the organizations completing successful projects, 84% reported communicating with sufficient clarity and detail. They recognize the need to be clear about project goals and expectations. They do not assume that everyone immediately understands the task at hand. They go out of their way to provide unambiguous instructions to all concerned. They also tailor the communication to stakeholder groups. More than half of project managers say that effective communications to all of the stakeholders is the single most critical success factor in their line of work. Everyone is coming into the project with a different perspective. This has to be taken into account when crafting messages.

Another best practice is to recognize the value of the project management and the role of communication in all of these. The high performers are in near unanimous agreement about the critical part communications play when managing projects both big and small. Teams are composed of several people who must work together in harmony and with efficiency to reach the goal. They can only do this if they are able to talk to each other well. Managers should create a formalized communication plan and practices. They must then use these consistently throughout the project. Lay clear the groundwork to accomplish the goals.

Project managers cannot afford to be passive. Simply acting whenever an issue comes along will not do. They have to anticipate the problems and work towards preventing them, and should strive to take a proactive approach to clear communication in the workplace.

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