Communication is one of the most important aspects of any project or team collaboration. It allows information to be shared in a unified way, across different teams, while using one or multiple channels.
Have you ever wondered why some project teams lack collaboration while other teams are able to execute projects seamlessly? The answer is lack of communication. I am here to bear the good news that projects of any kind, big or small, require excellent communication skills from all team members to foster a collaborative environment. I will share the three C’s that need to be practiced by your team.
Before I share the three C’s, let’s refresh our memory on what exactly Project Communication is. According to ProjectManagement.com, Project Communication (in terms of Project Management) includes the key processes that are required to ensure information is timely and appropriately planned, collected, created, distributed, stored, retrieved, managed, controlled, monitored, and ultimately disposed of. In other words, every bit of information in a project serves a purpose and must be designed effectively to allow distribution in a format that can be easily processed by the receiving parties. The three C’s provide a useful guideline for effective team communication:
Clarity - Make Your Purpose Clear
Consistency - Be Coherent and Appropriate
Control - Define your method of communication and the audience
“Clarity creates Simplicity." This means that success derives from creating information that can be easily understood and processed. You have probably received emails that included attachments with no explanation in the body or without indicating an exact page number where you should focus your attention. To ensure the recipient or audience of your information understands the purpose of your communication, you need to provide a concise description of what the information is. It is important to indicate if the communication you are sharing requires an action or will be just informational. Be specific on the overall goal of the message and use the appropriate terminology, so your message is not misunderstood.
One message can have many voices, but it’s important that they are all singing the same song. A lack of coherence is confusing and could prevent the key message from being conveyed to the intended audience. A consistent message keeps the attention of the recipient or audience. Consistency does not mean stagnancy, repetition, or lack of innovation. Consistency sets expectations and provides project teams with guidelines for accountability to meet set goals. Consistency drives results and ensures continuous improvement. When your team is certain of the potential, their confidence increases and they become motivated to collaborate more. In short, consistency breeds success.
This is one area of communication that typically gets the least attention. Control allows information to reach the intended audience in a secure way and to avoid interference, which can usually lead to miscommunication. Be intentional about how you want to share information, who receives it, when they receive it, and what should be done with the information. If you are sharing information that is sensitive or requires confidentiality, you should provide the recipient or audience with notice, such as in the subject line for emails or cover page for documents. The method of communication is also very important. Not all information needs to be in a Powerpoint, a spreadsheet, or dumped into email inboxes. Centralize communication, so members of your project team have a place to easily find information. Information Security should be taken seriously on every project; make sure the right tools to secure enterprise data and software applications are considered.
In summary, always think about the purpose of your information and what you are seeking from the audience. Check that your information is straight to the point and avoids room for miscommunication. To ensure communication is consistent, pick your channels for information, measure frequently, and adjust the content of your messaging where needed.
Is your team ready to communicate in a virtual world? Connect with Quoin and let us share more information on how to build an effective communication plan.
This is the first installment in a new series, where Ladi Olaoye, Quoin Project Manager, will highlight core aspects of project management and why organizations should invest in them.