Effective project management – a universal language
Blog posted by: Allan Thomson – PPM Product Ambassador, AXELOS, 24 September 2020.
According to the AXELOS 2019 PPM Benchmark Report poor communication is the primary cause of project failure. An advantage of adopting a method such as PRINCE2® is that it provides a common language that makes it easier to communicate with critical stakeholders. This allows the team to eliminate misunderstandings as it settles on clearly defined terminology which is understood by people inside and outside the organization.
Some of the reasons for communication problems include:
- Not enough time caused by the lack of a robust communication management approach
- Wrong channels being used
- Wrong vocabulary being used
- Working with remote teams
- Working with a remote project manager
- Not having a project board
- Not having a governed business plan.
Being able to present and communicate well is incredibly important. Especially now when more and more organizations are expecting project managers to be on the front line, giving updates and answering questions.
However, the ability to communicate with one or more groups, varying in size and complexity, is also critically important. They can include:
- Business stakeholders, they are usually short of time and highly important, so concise, and accurate communication is vitally important
- Project teams, being able to answer questions clearly and provide steer with regards to the journey the team is undertaking is important
- Supplier teams, being able to communicate effectively with technical personnel is essential to avoid issues taking place
- Customers, being able to communicate progress success and any issues helps with customer cooperation.
These groups can require different media, language, and messaging, so for the project manager a mixed communication approach needs to be adopted. In addition, since projects involve change and uncertainty, project managers need to have an excellent knowledge of risk management.
To improve communication, the PRINCE2 method provides a glossary to keep project management accessible yet structured. A shared vocabulary leads to consistency, clarity, and efficiency for any of your projects. Defined roles and responsibilities create clear understanding between the project team and the project manager.
For our AXELOS PPM Benchmark Report we asked project managers what skills would be key to the future success of projects. What came up most often was not coding, data management, or other digital skills, but ‘soft skills’ such as communication, leadership, team management and negotiation.
While there will be technologies that completely change the way we live and work, it is vital that we do not forget the fundamentals of successful collaboration. And communication is the most important skill in the workplace at the present time.
Adopting a standardized method like PRINCE2 centralizes process and enables an efficient flow when managing a project which helps improve communication and promote project success.
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