As project managers, we have all studied the PMBOK—The Project Management Body of Knowledge. This compilation is a summary of Best Practices and high-level definition of processes in planning and executing a project. We often think that Developing Business Requirements, Vendor Management, and Risk Management are among those that required the most effort and compliance.
But, when you consider the importance of Communication in the entire project management methodology and framework, it stands out as the link that joins the other competencies, the link that assures that we are considering all the inputs—the sponsor, the stakeholders, the developers, the project team, the suppliers, and the customers.
Communication is the most important competency making up the project management discipline. However, many people think that communication means that the project manager prepares the plans, communicates one way to his project team and suppliers, and watches the action. Nothing could be farther from the truth
Communication is two ways, and sometimes three ways, in its linkage of team members, with project manager, with suppliers.
Communication includes verbal, written, and postural components. Postural means the way we engage the listener or group, standing straight, taking charge of the message, recognizing others who want to contribute, and engaging in discussion if there are different perspectives presented. Some think that postural communication is more important than verbal and written communication because it can express hidden agendas of the speakers.
Why does Communication matter so much?
- Communication through a project charter or other authorizing document is the official beginning or start of a project. It signals a willingness to proceed.
- Communication through project plans and schedules and resource allocation sets the “vision” for all the stakeholders on what is about to unfold and what it should look like at different stages of the project.
- Communication provides a “lesson learned” through feedback of actual versus expected performance of the project process.
- Communication identifies perspectives on how the project should be conducted, differences of opinion, what resources it needs, and resolution of conflicts.
- The flow of information from project team members to the project manager is so important. Stories are the essence of learning.
- Communication identifies any organizational systems archetypes that need resolution such as “accidental adversaries,” “limits to growth,” or “tragedy of the commons.”
- Communication supports the flow of information to support the “dependencies” competency, which identifies “input deliverables to and from other projects. This is particularly important where projects conducted in parallel support each other with key deliverables.
- Communication support Risk Management Plans by alerting the project team that a risk may have been triggered and needs a response.
- Communication formally ends a project and conveys to everyone whether any aspects of the planned project were not completed as planned or deferred to another plan.
- Communication of all aspects of human resources competency is essential for project governance.
The project manager must present a genuine authentic face to all stakeholders. Communication is the mechanism for conveying this authenticity. If the project manager has any conflicts of interest with the project in any way, he needs to reveal them as soon as possible and preferably before the project begins. Thanks for your attention!
Extra Note: Postural Communication: