Most project managers would agree that one of the most important elements in projects and in project management as a whole is communication. The overall success and efficiency of a project is only as strong as the communication put into it.
Much like communication is an important part of a relationship. Project managers should treat each project like a “relationship”. While projects or work are nothing like a personal relationship, there are similarities here. Think of how you treat your family members, friends, or children on a personal level. Each person has his or her own individual personality characteristics, or something that makes one unique from the other.
Project managers would agree that it seems like no two projects are alike. This is essentially the case with relationships. Each project has its own unique specs, attributes, and risks associated with them that a good and efficient project manager needs to be mindful of and pay attention to.
Furthermore, one of the most important elements in managing a successful project is communication. Communication needs to be smooth in all areas of a project. This includes to and from the customer or client, team members—particularly if your project involves working with team members that are off site—other departments or functional areas, and vendors. The specs, attributes, and risks should be effectively communicated across these units.
One of the greatest areas of risk in a project is the hand off stages or essential project milestones where projects cross from one area to another, or from one department to another. It is at this point that if instructions and project specs aren’t clearly defined or communicated to other functional areas or team members where the risk for error is the greatest.
If project managers are unsure of how to effectively communicate project essentials to other team members, departments, or functional areas, one of the most effective methods of communication is document control. All specs should be documented and documented again in order to make sure they make it across to all areas of a project, all project milestones, and all team member in all forms and lines of communication.
Experienced and professional project managers recognize how important communication is in any project. As a result, project managers should treat each project like its own original and unique entity. Project managers should establish a “relationship” with that project and treat it as such. One of the most effective ways to do this is to practice effective communication throughout the life of the “relationship” or life cycle of a project.