Talk to Them

August 14, 2009

Communicate, communicate, communicate! The mantra for a project manager. Communication issues probably constitute the majority of the problems in any business. More so in projects where you need clear scope, outcome, success criteria definitions. You need clear agreement with your customer on the requirements. Once the project start this communication burden continues in assessing progress, communicating what more needs to be done to your team mates until the closing phase. At this stage you need to talk to the people and find out what has been learnt from the project. You need to listen very closely, particularly if there were problem areas. This learning would then be applied to newer project so that your estimates and the process can be tuned up further.

Project Beginning

This may be a kind of project launch meeting when requirements are finalized after negotiation with the customer and the project needs to be initiated in right earnest. As the project manager now it is your burden to be able to communicate the requirements. You need to define the exact scope of the thing. Discuss the timeline. You need to discuss and understand all the internal and external dependencies.Since this affects everyone involved, it would be a good idea to get everyone into a room. This may not be possible if the project is too big for getting all of the people in one place. In that case the top level leaders can do the same exercise with their team in turn.

Project Execution

During the time the project is being executed you need to monitor the progress. It takes great communication skills coupled with good listening skills to be able to get at a feel of exactly how much work is done. Everybody has a different sense of completion and you need to communicate the standard of closure you expect when something is reported as complete.

Project Completion

The biggest communication exercise at this stage is what is the common learning by doing the project. What estimates needed to be tune up and why, what process glitches caused problems, what process steps worked well and what else needs to be done to tighten the process are some of the issues on which you need to elicit answers and create organizational learning bits. It take strong communication skills to be able to derive the valuable bits.

The beginning, middle and the end could come up multiple times. For example if you are into agile processes, these phases will cycle through so often. You may not want to document at these stages thereby burdening the team. But you definitely need to discuss and learn the things necessary to learn. Even in such case it is good to be formal at the very first beginning phase and the very last ending phase of the project. This would be the time when the project has been finally delivered to the customer. Let not all these daunt you, it is just necessary to be sensitive to the needs.

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3 Responses to Talk to Them

  1. Diamont on November 6, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    hello, I didn’t know where to contact you but your layout design looked off on opera and firefox. Anyways, i just suscribd to your rss.

    • Puneet Kuthiala, PMP on November 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

      thanks for the feedback. I will try to fix in the new year break.

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