Communication Before Big Project Change (Part 1)
Big project change has big consequences for many. In such cases, a project manager must be able to facilitate toward a constructive outcome. To be in control depends in part on knowing the early critical points for communication and what to do at each point.
First, what is “big change” that necessitates these special communication tactics? It may be some drastic change in scope. It may be some kind of pause in the project that lasts for a number of weeks. It may be a suspension that lasts for months. It can be an outright cancellation of the project. A big change effects pretty much everyone associated with the project.
Not communicating properly at early critical points during big change will result in bad morale in the workforce, even defections. Lack of early communication will result in vendors and stakeholders making wrong assumptions or rash decisions based on rumors or second- and third-hand information. You may get a bad reputation from customers if they hear rumors or details about changes first through alternate sources, or they lose trust in your ability to communicate and manage the project appropriately. Big changes affect contracts, portfolios, execution of strategic plans and more.
When such a change is rumored, weeks cannot go by without affected parties hearing something formal from your project. There are two early critical points to
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