Effective communication and information exchange are both critical to project success. Clear communication ensures that every team member understands her role and objectives in the project. Continuous exchange of information keeps all team members aware of progress and highlights any issues that might affect progress. Failure to communicate effectively can lead to costly delays that impact the success of the project.
The project plan is central to all project communications as reported by TechRepublic. The plan lets every team member know what the project should deliver and who is responsible. It provides the key dates and project dependencies and breaks complex programs into smaller components that individual members can more easily understand.
Communication ensures that every team member shares the same vision of the project outcome. A 2002 edition of the “Houston Business Journal” described how architects, a construction company and developers collaborated with managers of client companies to achieve project success through a single shared goal – a business park that would meet the needs of its users.
A large project involves many team members and a wide range of communication channels. To ensure effective communication and information exchange, it is important for the project manager to plan and manage the process from the outset, identifying who needs different information at various stages of the project. The process is continuous according to consultancy Project Perfect, who states that project managers spend the majority of their time on communication tasks.
Team members need rapid access to the latest versions of project documentation. By creating a single project website or database, project managers can centralize all information and provide team members with secure access to important documents such as plans, schedules, suppliers, meeting minutes and progress reports.
TechRepublic identifies status reports as one of the most important project communications. Sharing status updates ensures that all team members are aware of any critical issues or unexpected changes that might impact project schedules or costs. They can then take any necessary remedial action.
Communication tools, such as email, videoconferencing and teleconferencing, make it simple and convenient for project team members to collaborate and exchange information, even when they are working in different locations. Social networking tools are also playing an important role in project management. Members can use tools, such as Twitter or Facebook, to post brief status updates or comments on important project issues.