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The Importance of Effective Communication in Project Management

The Importance of Effective Communication in Project Management
By Sue Cochran, Northwest University

Effective communication is essential to every relationship in life and successful project management is no exception. In your planning you discovered who the people are who have an interest in the project and how you will communicate with them. You understand the issues need attention to in order to keep everyone on the same page with current information. You have a plan to document the important communication pieces because you will need to provide periodic reports to management on what is happening. Many projects fail because the communication was ineffective. Because someone thought they heard one thing but, the intent was something totally different. You do not want to get to the end of the project and have the customer say “but that’s not what I said”.

There are tools that project managers can use to develop effective communication plans such as the stakeholder analysis. Read the Complete Article

The Project is Done – Now What?

It has been 18 long months since this project started, and now it is done with just a few small details waiting to close out. There is only one remaining question, now what?

There is one thing that I’d like to focus on for this post, the closing meeting.

After so many days and weeks and months on this project, it seemed anti-climatic to just end the project by simply stopping work. Besides, I would not be doing my part to really wrap it up the right way. So, I invited all 25 team members and other stakeholders to a long, but not grueling, meeting to finish things up. The agenda looked like this:

  • Welcome
  • Project Overview (we also had a pot-luck to break it up a little during this time)
  • Accomplishments (including value adds)
  • Lessons Learned
  • Awards
  • Final Thanks

Now this meeting lasted all morning, but after 18 months, 3 more hours was not going to hurt anyone and produced a great pay-off. Read the Complete Article

The Project Handover Checklist

The Project Handover Checklist
By Ron Rosenhead

Here’s a brief checklist of what could be included in the project handover plan:

  • Identifying and managing key stakeholders including the group who will receive the handover
  • A clear date for handover of the project
  • A communication plan that starts early in the life of the project and includes the target group
  • Change management issues and how they will be handled
  • Getting the target group involved as early as possible including someone being on the project team who also acts as a change agent
  • Developing appropriate training for this group or ensuring it is included in the handover plan
  • Clear risk management
  • Having clear roles for the recipients in the department taking on the new work e.g. it may not be your responsibility for organizing the training, it could be their responsibility

Your project handover checklist will no doubt be different having more project specific items. Read the Complete Article

Conflict Management: 6 Tips to Successfully Manage Disagreements

conflict-management-6-tips-to-successfully-manage-disagreements-at-workWorkplace conflict comes with the territory. In any setting where different personalities are required to work together, you expect disagreements to arise. However, this doesn’t mean that petty disagreements should be allowed to grow unabated. Disagreements can be caused by opposing personalities, power struggles, role conflict, ego and pride, and performance discrepancies among other issues.

The Cost of Workplace Conflict

Leadership and conflict will always go hand in hand and as an effective manager, it is your duty to ensure disagreements are solved early before they blow up in your face. To lead effectively, you have to understand all pertinent issues around a conflict in order to resolve it. For starters, it is imperative to appreciate how conflict can bring down your business.

Take a look at some consequences of unresolved workplace disagreements:

  • Toxic workplace environment: Nothing is as frustrating as managing workers who can’t even talk to each other. Such an environment is plagued by gossip and sabotage.
Read the Complete Article

How to Draft a Stakeholder Communication Plan

how-to-draft-a-stakeholder-communication-planThe truth is that there are quite a lot of things that you would need to take into account when you manage a project. Even though a stakeholder communication plan isn’t always necessary, for long-term and heavy projects you are most certainly going to need to have one. With this in mind, we would like to go through a few things that you might want to take into account in order to be able to create one from scratch which meets the expectations of the stakeholder and fulfills its overall requirements and expectations. Let’s go right ahead and take a look.

Identify the need for communication

This is rather obvious but it’s particularly important. Your client and all of the stakeholders need to be well aware of the fact that you are incredibly concerned with their critical opinion and that breeds the need for transparency and communication. Upon doing so you are instantly gaining their trust and that’s generally one of the most important things that you would have to do in the first stages of the project. Read the Complete Article

Conducting Successful Gate Meetings

Conducting Successful Gate Meetings
By Dave Nielsen

Projects don’t arrive at their conclusion perfectly executed and delivering all the benefits promised in the Business Case, at the advertised cost. They must be measured along the way to ensure they are developing to plan. Our project management training (especially our PMP Exam preparation training) provides us with a variety of tools to measure project progress against schedule, budget, requirements, and quality goals. The most critical of these for demonstrating your project’s successful progress is the Gate Meeting. These meetings are variously called Phase Exit Reviews (by our PMP Exam preparation training), or Business Decision Points.

Whatever your organization calls your meetings, these are the points at which all the project stakeholders will determine whether your project is on track to meeting the organizations expectations for it. This article should provide you with some useful information, tips, and tricks to ensure that your meetings are successful. Read the Complete Article

How to Start a Project: On Your Marks, Get Set, Go

How to Start a Project: On Your Marks, Get Set, Go
By Carlos Urrutia

After spending several years managing project managers for various technology organizations, I always get amazed to find out that many project managers struggle on how to get a project started. They are assigned a new project, and for many weeks and sometimes months they don’t know what to do to move their project forward, and little or nothing gets done during that time. Could it be that the project manager doesn’t fully understand the assignment, is not comfortable with their business knowledge on the subject, or maybe with the technology to be used? Neither one of these excuses are valid or relevant, but in either case, the project managers feel overwhelmed with the complexity and lack of definition of the task at hand. They don’t know how to take the first step and they end up wasting valuable time that is usually precious towards the end of the project. Read the Complete Article

Projectize your Project Meetings

Projectize your Project Meetings
By Amy S Hamilton

All Project Managers are familiar with the triple constraint of time, cost and quality/scope. Recently, while I was waiting for a meeting to start, I began calculating the cost of man hours in the room of the staff waiting. Then, when the meeting finally started, it was disorganized and ran over time! I thought to myself, wow, if we can’t run an effective meeting that meets the triple constraint, how will we get our projects completed on time? Here are a few tips for running effective meetings.

  • Start on time: Don’t wait for people who show up late, people show up late because they know the meeting will start late and it becomes a death spiral. Never wait.
  • Stand for informal meetings: Going around the room works very well for agile, but often does not work well for other organizations. If you want your meeting to be a scrum, huddle, stand-up, etc.

Read the Complete Article

Communication Plans for Change

Communication Plans for Change
By Keith MathisPM Expert Live

Communication is critical for driving change forward. Plans might be clear to the upper management who created them, but those same plans often become muddled as they move farther down the organization. Creating a communication strategy helps the entire organization work to prevent this from happening.

When major changes are taking place, the rumor mill will tend to run riot as staff members tell different stories they have heard about the future state of the organization. If we do not communicate effectively, the rumors will increase. False reports may push the organization into a state of paralysis. Rumors can lead to organized opposition toward the change initiatives. Having a communication plan in place for changes will greatly reduce the fear and opposition that often accompanies change.

Communication helps everyone plan his or her direction

Senior managers often assume each employee knows the future plan and is clear on the direction in which the company is moving. Read the Complete Article

How to Undertake a Project Quality Review that will Increase Your Bottom-Line

How to Undertake a Project Quality Review that will Increase Your Bottom-Line
By Michael Stanleigh

A project quality review helps to identify the root causes of problems on a flailing project and provides detailed guidance for how to get it back on track. It has a direct, positive impact on an organization’s bottom-line. When undertaken at the end of a project it provides valuable “lessons” for project teams working on future projects.

In my consulting work in project management I am often called upon to audit projects or undertake project quality reviews of problem projects. Bringing in an outside auditor/consultant to conduct the project quality review is a good practice; it provides project team members and other project stakeholders with the opportunity to be candid and share their opinions and feelings about what is happening or happened on the project without risk of lash back.

The process for conducting a project audit or project quality review is similar regardless of whether one conducts it mid-term on a project or at its conclusion. Read the Complete Article

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