Bypassing Communications Barriers in Project Management

Got a Communication Googly in the latest performance review?

If you have been wondering what I mean by a Communication Googly, it, in the simplest of the terms would be a negative ranking in the area of communication. Your manager might simply put it as ‘Bad Communication Skills’. In this article, we will discuss about how to break the communication barrier in a corporate environment for any project you are a part of. Let’s call it the Project Communication Plan.

Corporate environments are comprised of a number of human and non-human resources. The bigger the organization is, the easier it is to get lost in the crowd. Very often individuals ignore the basic norms of survival in a corporate environment – Communication, Communication and Communication. Here are some basics to remember when you are on a task:

– Every task is a project

– Every project needs an execution plan

– Every project has a requirement to be analyzed and implemented

– Every requirement needs resources to fulfill

– Every requirement needs to be documented

– Every document needs to be approved and communicated

When your manager puts up a requirement, remember that what he expects from you might be actually on a different track from your understanding of the same. So remember, each time you go have a requirement, the first thing you should ideally do would be, make a document for yourself and your manager mentioning the requirement, and your understanding of the same. A discussion document should ideally contain the following:

– Your Understanding of the requirement

– Objectives of the requirement

– The key persons and non-human resources that would influence the requirement

– Identify the tools required for the requirement

– Estimate the time required to meet the expectation

This is the beginning point of your communication plan, and effective implementation of the first step itself is a barrier overcome. Send the document to your manager and wait for a go-ahead for the document. This saves a lot of time when the requirement is being worked on without a document and ultimately leads to understanding the fact that the requirement was indeed different from what was understood to be the requirement. Hence it is important to dare to ask questions, clarify the doubts and get on a requirement. This helps the management understand what you have been up to and at the same time, it would help you understand what the management actually expects from you. Wait. This is not where it ends.

Once you have the requirement set right, it’s time to identify the resources that are needed to make this an effective project.

Now that you have your tips, go back to that project and compare your current standing on the project. Have you got your path right? Never mind. It’s never too late to get organized. Get on to implement this project and see how your communication skills get a Thumbs Up in your organization. And don’t forget, one day you will be a manager and people would learn from you, so this is the right time to reorganize and set an example to your peers and subordinates.