Project Management

Controlling Communication Channels: Proper use of Communication Mediums is Key to Project Success

Mike Sanders, and Debra L. Wolf

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)–Fifth Edition suggests the primary role of a project manager is communication. It is no surprise, then, that most project failures can be attributed to poor communications (Chua & Lam, 2005; Fichter, 2003; Fretty, 2006; Grossman, 2003; Lando, 2012; Matta & Ashkenas, 2003; Oz & John, 2000; Young, 2003). Effectively communicating project status, understanding stakeholder views and needs, preventing scope creep, keeping the team focused, and ensuring the project has the resources and skillsets required are just a few of the topics project managers must communicate well. This paper discusses a new view of communication channel complexity by addressing communication mediums. In the discussion, message content is aligned with the medium used to ensure efficient and effective communications. The conclusion is that project managers who identify and influence appropriate use of communication mediums greatly enhance communications, supporting successful projects.

Why Communication Mediums are Important
Communication channels are pathways with two elements: the message transmitted (or content), and the medium used to communicate the message. With respect to teams, communication pathways increase exponentially as members are added. In communication systems, communication pathways …

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