To be able to work with people you have to communicate. This is a fact that very few people object to.
But communication is not always that easy. You sometimes hear that people talk too much instead of doing the work they should. And if they talk too much, they definitely don’t inform about what should be informed about.
To communicate inside a project you need a plan. Most project methods have a plan on how to communicate and what questions to answer. But, these guidelines are not always followed and by not following the guidelines you lose a lot of information and team spirit.
Some people say that “I have written this in the project management software so they should know what is happening.” This is of course true in many cases, but by just writing something in a system doesn’t necessarily make it communicated.
Scrum is one popular project management method in software development. Using this method the whole team meets up every morning to discuss what they did since last meeting and what they are planning to do next. This is a meeting where everyone stands up to make a point that the meeting should be short. Everyone has questions that should be answered and they are able to bring up anything that is needed for the project to progress smoothly.
This is a perfect example of organizing communication. There are other opportunities to communicate as well, but this way everyone will be able to become involved in what is happening and you don’t spend time on small talk during this meeting.
This example is not to promote one project management method, but to bring up a good example on what to think about.
If you enter a project meeting you should think about what is important for you to communicate to other members of the project. When writing down questions and ideas to be brought up you will solve a lot of things yourself just by thinking about them in an organized way.
By being prepared for the meeting you will also contribute to an efficient and short meeting.
To make sure that what is communicated is not forgotten about the information should be documented in the project management software for everyone to follow and see.
A lot of things are also brought up between the meetings. Project members discuss matters regarding tasks in the project and come to conclusions on how to solve them. These discussions can be done by chat, phone call or just talking.
However, not everyone understands the necessity to document the discussions. If there was a question needed to be asked and if the discussion led to a solution it is important for everyone to be able to take part of the information. Maybe not at the current moment but in the future. It will also be documentation that is important for the project management team to understand why a task was solved the way it was.
Some project management software have their own, integrated chat engine. Having this integrated you will be able to connect the discussion to a task automatically and not have to think about documenting the discussion. However, that is not as easy for phone calls or just a discussion in the coffee area.
As a project manager it is important to set up guidelines for how to document these discussions. If possible, create templates in the project management software to support the documentation. You need to make the guidelines so easy that they are easy to follow and people feel it is bearable to document (since most people do not like to document too much).
A lot of people are great at communicating. However, organized communication is not that easy. It is therefore important that leaders give guidelines of the communication and follow these guidelines themselves to show good example. By documenting meetings in the project management software, project members will be able to go back to read what was communicated and you will also be able to reach people who were not part of the meeting. In some cases you will not have to communicate everything in a meeting but just communicate through the system.