In projects there are a number of key areas for communication, within the control of the team, that can impact the probability for success.
Below are 5 areas within the scope of project team controls that can provide project teams a sense of purpose.
- The Business Case
The business case contains the justification for the project. Sharing this information on a regular basis can help ongoing decision making. Decisions relating to , for example, scope, requirements and risks. Having this information validated and re-communicated at regular intervals can keep a project on track to meet the business case. It can also highlight risks to the validity of the business case and/or business case achievement
It can also be motivating to understand where you are against meeting the business case. Whether on or off track, energy can be forged, focus shaped and engagement maximised.
- The Vision
Communicating how the project will meet the business is important for a number of reasons.
For the Project Manager, it is an opportunity for the project manager to set expectations, to validate the approach, to get buy in from the stakeholders.
For the team, it provides the picture that allows them to plan the work that needs to be done. It allows them to see how the work that they do fits in to the overall approach and where dependencies lie.
For the sponsor, a chance to understand how the business case to be met and when and where they would like to be involved in activities.
For the management and reporting structures, the information that will allow progress and quality to be reviewed and challenged. It also allows identification of where they can provide support.
- Key Milestones
Communicating key milestones, whether they are on track and/or whether they are at risk has many benefits.
It highlights information to allow the prioritisation of work.
It allows celebration of milestones reached or action plans for milestones off track.
Provide a culture that supports highlighting when team members do not believe that they will achieve their milestones and may put key milestones at risk. Have actions that support fixing problems not blaming the messenger.
Maintain project communication in both directions.
Communicate the information that is required for the next checkpoint, the information that is reported and any actions that are highlighted from a checkpoint.
Expectations will be clearly communicated to the team.
The team have an opportunity to formally and /or informally raise issues and risks that they identify from understanding where they contribute.
Provide information of status information to the team. Let them know what is being communicated in reports that will go outside the team.
Highlight where urgency is reported and whether the contribution of team members is being highlighted.
Create visibility to nurture ownership and responsibility.
Provide a mechanism for team members to highlight anomalies and / or misunderstandings in these reports in addition to a mechanism for identifying issues and risks.