Project Managers: Improved Communication Strategies

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The author spent the first part of her career working in IT and IT Project Management in the oil industry and investment banking on complex global projects involving the management of outsourced project teams. She now runs a digital marketing company with particular expertise in technical SEO and Content Marketing.

If you search on LinkedIn, you’ll find more than 2 million Project Managers. This is a profession that has a huge impact on the daily lives of people everywhere.

My goal is to help Project Managers communicate more effectively with their teams. Communication is the lifeblood of project management. PMs need to be able to communicate objectives and strategies for achieving goals. Team members need to be empowered to provide timely, accurate status reports and feedback.

Don’t be Afraid of Delegation

Many PMs started their career as specialists, serving specific roles within their team. PMs need to delegate in order to effectively manage their time. They should not give into the temptation to just jump-in and start doing the work.

When PMs start doing individual tasks, instead of managing the project, the entire team suffers. Trust your specialists to get the job done. Empower them to communicate their needs, once you provide them with objectives. In return, make yourself available to support the team.

If you get bogged down in the minutiae, you’re going to be unavailable to receive important communication.

Leverage Time-Delayed Video to Communicate Big Ideas On-Demand

How many times have you had a detailed phone conversation or a long conference room meeting, only to find that key points were forgotten by team members? Even with written agendas and email follow-up, retaining everything you are communicating can be a challenge.

It’s in your best interest as a PM to ensure your team members understand all of the information they need in order to complete their role effectively.

I’ve found that instructional videos are a powerful communication tool in communicating complex topics impacting my projects. Because they are recorded, they can be distributed and viewed on-demand by the people that need the information. And the team gains the added benefit of being able to go back and re-watch aspects of the video that might be confusing. If they forget something important, they can just skip to the part that’s relevant and re-watch the presentation. No need for additional call and emails.

Should you upload video communication to YouTube?

Most Fortune 500s are squeamish about the idea of uploading private videos for internal communication to a service like YouTube. The alternative is to record the video and save it in SharePoint or Dropbox, and then email a link so that it can be downloaded and viewed.

This is more secure, but it presents unique challenges. For example, I use a Mac to record my instructional videos. The default format for these videos is Quicktime. But windows users sometimes have trouble playing these videos, so these videos need to be converted from Quicktime to MP4 – a universal standard that can be played on virtually any digital device.

This solution allows for maximum security. The content is held privately on digital assets that are controlled by the company.

Great communication starts with strong hiring practices.

Companies like Netflix are famous for providing a work environment that gives employees maximum freedom. They’re not closely monitored. Each team member is trusted to get the job done.

Great PMs do the same thing. They closely manage the hiring process for their team –partnering with HR and corporate recruiters when necessary. Once they have great people, they are able to trust them to work hard, manage their time effectively and accomplish their individual objectives.

There are many strategies PMs can use to find great people. Leveraging these strategies will allow you to manage the project without micro-managing. Free your people to spend their time as they see fit. But hold their feet to the fire when they miss deadlines.

If you can leverage the strategies I’ve outlined in this article, I believe your team will operate more effectively, exceeding your expectations.

Remember, the key to great communication is finding ways to cut-out unnecessary contact and encourage independent goal achievement.

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Project management has developed into a fully-fledged chartered profession since the granting of the Royal Charter in the UK to The Association for Project Management (APM) in 2017. Training courses for project managers were already available and highly popular to help people gain professional project management accreditation, but with this wider recognition of the profession it is now seen as a desirable career path for many. Whilst the APM has the coveted Royal Charter and continues to develop its APM PMQ (formerly the APMP) programmes, there are also other internationally recognised qualifications that continue to be highly regarded such as PMP and PRINCE2.

Organisations have become increasingly project-focused in this era of rapidly emerging new technologies and they value the expertise that comes with experienced and fully qualified project teams and managers. By investing in their project management capability businesses can be confident of delivering their new projects in time and on budget more often and more successfully. Many major corporation are now training their people to have the right project management qualifications as well as relevant experience, through internal Learning & Development (L&D) programmes; or by using external project management training providers.

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