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Everyone knows, in theory at least, that effective project communication is essential. Almost any project manager, if asked to list the factors which are important for project success, would put communication near the top of the list.

Effective project communicationUnfortunately, communication is often taken for granted. Even when project managers put an early emphasis on communication, it can fall by the wayside when managers and team members find themselves dealing with unexpected challenges or intense workloads. Those situations, of course, are the ones in which communication is even more critically important.

Project managers who overlook the importance of communication are putting their projects at serious risk. In fact, according to the Project Management Institute, 40% of all project failures can be directly attributed to a lack of effective communication. Understanding the value of communication in every phase of a project can help managers and team members keep information flowing, even during difficult periods.

Project Planning and Setting Expectations

Effective communication at the beginning of a project will pay dividends from the first planning meeting to the final wrap-up. In order to get their work done, project team members must have as much information as possible about the goal of the project, its timelines and deliverables and what is expected from each participant. Project managers should also be sure to provide details on the collaboration software and other project management tools to be used, the timing and format of recurring meetings and the procedures to be followed for changes in scope.

Status Updates and Timeline Changes

Communication in project management often begins to break down in the middle phases of a project, when team members are immersed in their work and liable to lose sight of what others are doing. Important details such as changes to a deadline might be communicated to only those team members who are directly affected, leaving others in the dark.

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This is especially likely to happen on large or decentralized teams, where work is being done in several different time zones or on multiple continents. In these situations, it can be next to impossible to gather an entire team, in person or virtually, for daily or weekly status meetings. Project communication management tools like Clarizen can help managers keep the entire team on the same page by providing a centralized resource for project plans, documentation, Gantt charts and other essential information.

Closeout and Lessons Learned

It’s important not to lose focus on communication as a project winds down. Executive sponsors and other high-level stakeholders are typically more engaged as a project nears completion, and inadequate communication at this phase can create unfounded concerns about the team’s quality of work or degree of preparation. Project managers should be sure to review the initial project requirements with the entire team to ensure that each requirement has been addressed.

Communication should continue even after the work is done. Upon completion of a project, organizations should take the opportunity to hold a “lessons learned” meeting to identify areas for improvement, as well as success factors and innovations than can improve the outcomes of other projects in the future.

Want to learn how Clarizen’s collaborative work management solution can enable better project communication by connecting discussions, work content and powerful project management in a single solution?  Check out a product tour.

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Preview: Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting

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In the Gartner Market Guide for Adaptive Project Management & Reporting guide, Gartner, Inc. provides recommendations and evaluation criteria for executives and PMO leaders assessing Project and Portfolio Management (PPM) solutions. This guide outlines the adaptive project management and reporting process flow as well as a market review of current providers in the following categories:

  • - Existing pure-play PPM providers
  • - Collaborative work management (CWM) providers
  • - Enterprise agile planning (EAP) providers
  • - Technology Platform providers from other markets

The guide provides insight into how well a product or service fulfills certain functional capabilities – with a forward-looking market direction and analysis provided.

In the report, Gartner, Inc. mentions/states that “by 2024, 50% of all program and portfolio management (PPM) leaders will integrate complementary technologies to enable portfolio decision making and adaptive work management for digital business evolution.”

Clarizen offers a complete solution that connects work across the enterprise, turning ideas into strategies, plans, and action. With Clarizen, organizations can work the way they want to work and have real time visibility across all workstreams in their portfolio. This keeps teams focused on the things that matter, provides the real-time information needed to make more accurate and timely decisions, and delivers results faster to meet and even exceed company goals and customers’ expectations.

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Buyer’s guide to project management software