May 222011
 

In my previous post Basic Tricks to successfully execute a project, I recommended web communication instead of star communication in the team. The web communication ensures that Project Manager is not overwhelmed and the team collaborates to successfully execute a project. However, with more communication, a team member may get only 1 hour in a day to concentrate on his core job rather than 6 hours earlier.

Communication or To Do?

 

Challenges with more communication

  1. Team may be overwhelmed with lot of communication
  2. Managing information at a central repository becomes difficult because information is thinly spread in the team
  3. With more in-team communication, team members get more autonomy. Due to more autonomy to the team members, project tasks may not align to project goals and more defects may appear.

Remedies

  1. Allocate more time in the project plan for the additional communication and distraction: The amount of time that team members spend on communication depends upon the project requirement so Project Manager will need to make an effort calculation based on specific project.
  2. Reduce number of emails: In IT projects, email is a powerful source of communication yet it is also a big distraction in work. In 2009, average corporate email user spent 41% of their work time in reading and responding to emails [according to Wall Street Journal]. Reduce the number of email communication by the following methods:
    1. Promote interactive means of communication eg. face to face, phone call or instant messaging. This method is especially useful for an issue that requires more than 3 ping-pong of email
    2. Use long shelf-life documents for communication (see next remedy)
    3. Project Manager should insist stakeholders to resist sending emails for every small issue and stakeholders should use only agreed means of communication
  3. Use long shelf-life documents for communication: Long shelf-life documents can be created by the following two step process:
    1. Gather the ideas using discussion forum or Google wave. Discussion forum reduces email in individuals’ mail box. Remember a discussion must have a closing date.
    2. Collect the required information from discussion forum or document prepared in Google Wave and update a Project Document such as Operations Manual.
  4. Conduct regular audits: Regular audits ensure that activities performed by various small teams are in sync with the project objectives.

Conclusion

More communication among team members is required for successful execution of a project. However, Project Manager needs tools such as given above to deal with the new set of challenges introduced by increased communication.

Have you tried these techniques in your project, and were you successful or did the techniques fail? Do you have more techniques to share? Join in the discussion.

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