There are many factors that contribute to communication breakdowns. Large teams are particularly susceptible to incomplete and infrequent information sharing. Cross functional teams are also plagued by poor communication.
Inexperienced project leaders often underestimate the level of project communication necessary to guarantee success.
A lack of clarity regarding project success criteria and how it should be measured contribute to confusing and misleading project communications.
Successful project leaders distribute regular status updates via email and post them to a shared team site. The most useful status updates include progress vs. the project schedule and success metrics. It is also critical to highlight issues and outline efforts to resolve them.
A standing weekly team meeting is useful for maintaining momentum and facilitating communication. It should be mandatory for core team members but limited to no more than one hour.
In order to overcome a particularly vexing issue or work through a challenging project phase, a smaller breakout team may institute additional meetings. These may come and go during the project lifecycle.
The project manager should be in regular contact with project sponsors – in person or on the phone (not via email) – in order to keep senior management abreast of project progress and any potential risks.
The project manager must be an active advocate for the project. The most effective project managers actively seek venues to promote the project, outline benefits, and share progress throughout the organization.
This is one of a series of posts on project management for finance professionals. The series features practical project management advice and tips for driving process change using technology. The series is archived here.