Strategy Tips for Project Communication

palmspringschairs640x80 As a project manager your primary job is communication. Beyond the status meetings and project plan you will be giving and receiving information in a variety ways. Also, you are dealing with people who will be busy on multiple projects and support related problems. Here are some tips which take a small amount of effort for a lot of pay back. 1. Use of Color and Font
Color can be very powerful when communicating. In a project you have a ton of information that is going out and by using color you can quickly direct people to what you want them to see first. Take the below lists for example:

Report One Report Two
Project A – Green                      Project A – Green
Project B – Red                          Project B – Red
Project C – Green                     Project C – Green

As you can see the text in bold red quickly stands out. When the above list is a full-page, or more, it becomes all the more important that you let the reader know what they should be focusing on first. 2. E-mail distribution groups for the project
When you have a project with a lot of moving parts and various people performing tasks you need to make sure the right people are kept informed. This is where creating e-mail distribution groups for the project can be handy. Having one for stakeholders and another for the project team can ensure you don’t miss someone when forwarding information out. It also saves you a bit of time typing all those names out. 3. Stand Up Meetings during a roll out
So you are about to go live in a week, or two, and everyone is scrambling to get their stuff done and resolve remaining issues. Sticking with your weekly status meeting is not going to cut it if you want to stay on top of everything. This is where you want to have a daily 15-20 minute morning call with the project team where the team can discuss plans for the day and bring up any issues. This meeting is not for sponsors or high level stakeholders, it is for the team to ensure everyone is on the same page. It is also a good idea to continue the daily morning call after implementation for as long as needed. Schedule the meetings, at least a week out, and once  you see everything is working fine you can cancel the remaining meetings. Sending a short summary is a must as some won’t be able to make every meeting, it reinforces what was said, it ensures you heard everything correctly, and there will be some key stakeholders that you want to keep informed while not having them at the meeting (Program Manager is a good example). 4. Use of Bullet Points and Paragraphs
When a user clicks on a web page searching for something specific they stay an average of 8 seconds. I am not sure of the exact figures for project reports, but I am sure it is not much longer. The use of bullet points is a great way to get your points across quickly over having the person read a wall of text. When you do need to explain your points then use paragraphs and make sure your first sentence, of each paragraph, explains what you are about to talk about. What you don’t want to have happen is your main points drowned out in a solid wall of text. To summarize, communication in projects is the number one job of the project manager. How you manage it can have a huge impact on the overall performance of the project.