Project Management

Essential Power Skills (Part 2): Communication Is Still the Critical PM Skill

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.

Many years ago, when I was first starting out in project management, I was told two things about communication (close to a decade ago, I’m pretty sure I wrote them in an article for this site). And now I’m going to repeat them again, because they still hold true after so many years:

  1. If I thought I was communicating too much, then I was probably close to communicating enough.
  2. A project manager should spend 90% of their time communicating, and then everything else gets done the other 90% of the time.

Dodgy math aside, I think we can probably all relate to those ideas—they’re just as relevant today as they have always been. So, aside from the fact that it aligns with the new PMI report Pulse of the Profession® 2023: Power Skills, Redefining Project Success, why am I writing about communication again? Is there anything new to consider?


Changing communication topics
The first area that I want to look at is the simple matter of what a project manager communicates about. When I was told those two things above, a PM was communicating work status—talking to team members to make sure they could stay on track or to provide them assistance. They were explaining barriers and problems to team members and stakeholders to try and resolve them, and of course communicating status to many different people in many different ways.

In an …

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"I don't like work - no man does - but I like what is in the work - the chance to find yourself."

- Joseph Conrad