I recall that, a few weeks after I returned to work from maternity leave, one my long-time stakeholders sent an email to someone very high up in the company stating that project communication was much better when Elizabeth was present.
It was nice to hear that people thought I was doing something right. However, it was a bit disappointing that she didn’t realize I was back at my desk. I don’t think I did much communication during those first few months.
Communication is key to a project’s success, and this is something I hear from you guys all of the time. It’s easy to feel that communication is not possible.
Let’s prioritize. This time of year is a great opportunity to reflect and identify areas for improvement over the next 12 months. What should you concentrate on if you have limited time and energy to communicate about your project?
Here are the top 9 messages project managers should share. These messages should have been sent to your team throughout the year. You should have.
1. We have discovered an issue, but…
You should immediately admit to fault when something goes wrong. Senior stakeholders appreciate it if you can explain what you are doing to fix the problem.
You should have presented a problem you encountered this year along with your solution or recommendation.
2. We are on track for…
It is important to keep stakeholders informed at every stage of the project. Let them know that everything is on track will help them feel confident that the work progresses as planned.
This is different from the’reporting only’ model. This only works for a very short time, according to my experience. People stop hearing positive sounds after a certain amount of time and assume the worst even if you have told them otherwise.
3. I’m sorry…
How many times have you apologized this year? I hope so.
(OK, maybe not so many.)
A well-placed, sincere apology can help you cut through conflict and office politics.
4. The current status is…
I hope that you used regular project status updates this year. They should have been used as a tool to update status on your project at least once per month to the project sponsor. It is preferable to use them more often.
Do you need help with your next-year project reports? Learn how to improve your project reporting skills online. Get people to actually take action after reading your status updates.
5. I saw this and thought about you…
Make connections. You are a project manager and can see what is happening in different areas of the business. You can connect people, make introductions, and pass on information you think others might find useful.
If you haven’t done it yet, I suggest these 6 reasons why networking is important.
6. Thank you for…
Thank you for coming to my meeting, and for giving up your resources for testing, for passing me that great contact and for being such an important member of the project team.
There are many reasons you should have thanked the people you worked alongside this year. I hope you made the most of every opportunity.
You should include plenty of points for team success throughout the project, as well as moments to say thank you individually.
7. It didn’t live up to my expectations.
Sometimes, we need to share the bad news. If you don’t speak up, you won’t see any improvements. Talk to your team member if they aren’t performing as expected.
It’s not personal. They didn’t meet your expectations. Discuss ways you can both achieve a better result next year.
This should also have been done with suppliers. Do not tolerate poor service because you are afraid to speak up. This is something I have done in the past, and it doesn’t end well.
8. I need…
Did you have the resources to complete your project tasks? No? No.