Project Management

What Exactly Is Effective Communication? (Part 1)

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

You can’t get past Day 1 as a project manager without learning that effective communication is the key to success. It’s true. Communicating with your team, and with stakeholders, is essential. Projects don’t succeed because of an awesome plan or a wonderful requirements document; they succeed because of a group of people coming together to deliver a successful business outcome through the development and delivery of an effective solution—and all that requires effective communication.

But if you’re a new project manager, how do you know if you’re communicating effectively? You have no experience to rely on, and while today’s project management software can produce metrics for many different variables, there isn’t a gauge to report whether communication is where it needs to be.

Well, as is so often the case, the not-very-helpful answer is that there is no single answer. There is no defined standard for effective communication. As the project manager, you have to interpret and adjust based on circumstances.

This is critical, so I’m going to dedicate two articles to the topic. In Part 1, we’ll look at communication from the PM; in the next installment, we’ll consider communication to the PM.

The variables of communication
First, let’s understand the different elements that make up …

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"My way of joking is to tell the truth. It is the funniest joke in the world."

- George Bernard Shaw