Agile Communications

Agile methods recognize the increased need for communication and provide a variety of tools and checkpoints to help avoid the classic project mistakes of mismatched expectations and confusion. In the absence of a visible physical product to point at and measure, we need to be constantly confirming understandings and aligning ideas against increments of the final solution.

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The Global Communications Challenge

How do the rules around communication change when we add the global element? When we add a global perspective into the picture, things can get a lot more complicated. The physical distance can be a big part of that–as can time, language and culture. In this article, we look at how communication needs to adjust on a global project in order to remain effective.

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Social Media Matures into Viable, Valuable Communications Tool

Recent trends in the use of social media and mobile technology have given governments fresh opportunities to engage and educate a diverse array of citizens. Sixty-nine percent of adults in the United States were using social networks as of August 2012, according to the Pew Internet and American Life. Two-thirds of them report using Facebook, 20 percent are on LinkedIn, and 16 percent are on Twitter. Figure 1 on the next page reveals that social networking use has grown among…

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Yammer Workplace Communications Impact Survey Highlights Need for Improved Internal Communication

(From marketwire) — According to the first annual Workplace Communications Impact Survey, conducted online in September 2010 by Harris Interactive and sponsored by Yammer, Inc., companies still have a long way to go in improving internal communications and collaboration. This survey of 1,168 adults who are not the only person that works at their company/organization, shows that communication bottlenecks have a direct impact on employee productivity, and that the majority of employees do not feel valued by their company or comfortable sharing ideas or feedback with senior management. The survey found that most employees don’t think their company excels at internal communications. Read more.

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Big Skill: Communications

At its core, the moving of information. More broadly, the ability to both express oneself effectively through various and appropriate media (writing, speaking, graphics), including understanding audience requirements, needs/pain points, and knowledge, and also effectively listening to others express themselves. Part of communication is knowing what is “in it” for the audience. All communication has a credibility component. Communication strategies often need to be created. Having a weekly open house to combat a rampant rumor mill might be critical. As organizations and teams become more distributed, ad hoc (so called “water-cooler”) communication becomes less reliable, and so formal communication technique need to be established. Picking the right genre is important. Letters have different requirements than email. In fact, the best way to trash someone’s career is to circulate a colleague’s instant-messaging comments reformatted as a letter. Videoconferencing is more formal; web-cams are more casual. Dynamically customizing the content increases effectiveness. This could be based on audience questions, or for self-paced content, providing alternative paths through the content, such as using hyper-linking. An effective communication strategy might involve having the audience do some exercises to internalize the information. This could be everything from taking notes at a lecture to playing a marketing mini-game around the release of a new soft drink or movie. Emotional associations can also be critical. Politicians use the icon of the United States flag. Computer games might tie into famous athletes or movies. Advertisements shamelessly use idealized models, professions, or roles (showing a mother buckling up her children in a minivan while talking about some new fast food product). Create a verbal label for a complicated idea, and you shape the perception of the idea. There are legal requirements for communications, especially around product recalls and shareholder information. Organizations often have different uses of Public Relations and advertising. Some communication is passive. What we wear to work or how we style our hair broadcasts our affiliations and even aspirations. Corporations choose colors and fonts carefully. Some communication strategies are malicious. Spread a lie through so many channels that it becomes thought of as a truth. An ethically-challenged leader leaks a lie to a newspaper anonymously, and then publicly refers to the article as a source of credibility. In the computer world, there are “denial of service” attacks, where many computers try to communicate with a single site in order to overwhelm and shut down the site. And again, I ask the question that no one will answer. Do you have any formal learning programs around communication? If so, to whom and how? If not, why not: a) it is not important, or b) it is really important, but we don’t do it because _____.

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Tips in Cross Cultural Management and Communications for those Traveling Overseas

In recent decades, there has been a spurt in the instances of professionals travelling to different countries all over the world for business and work related activities. This article discusses how cultural sensitivity and cultural sensitization would go a long way in ensuring that these trips pass off without any hassles and how understanding of the culture and customs of the hosts would help smoothen matters.

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Communications Driven and Group Decision Support System

Geographical boundaries are fast diminishing at least in the business world. Organizations have teams that are geographically dispersed. In order to support fast and efficient decision making, they get custom developed communications-driven and group decision support systems. These types of DSS make it easier for every team member to access information and communicate with others in real time.

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The Pigman Principle: Why Rational Leaders Make Irrational Decisions

Six factors: power, ignorance, greed, momentum, appearance, and necessity define the ‘Pigman Principle,’ and often result in irrational decisions being made by otherwise rational leaders. The author explains how to identify which factors influence your project’s sponsors and how to leverage these factors to manage your interactions and communications with sponsors more effectively.

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Is Your Project Team Social?

Project managers, change is in the air. Well, change has been in the air for quite a while, so you’ve probably been smelling it: Social media is not just for keeping in touch with family and friends or for the marketing department at work. The principles and benefits of social media are yours for the taking when it comes to improving communications within the team and among your project stakeholders.

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The ALM Weak Spot

Numerous studies over the years have shown that achieving business/IT alignment can lead to a unifying direction for a company, better leveraging of IT, improved communications, more efficient allocation of resources and increased competitive advantage. Yet, other studies reveal that few companies actually achieve alignment between their business and their most strategic weapon, technology. What they need is an integrated product management process that provides both vertical and horizontal alignment for developing products, systems or services.

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Open Communication

Project managers have hundreds of choices when it comes to open-source content management systems that can share files, post news, host newsletters, and manage communications across the project team. Best of all they’re free. But you do have to spend some time to find one that best suits your needs.

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Prototyping for Effective Estimation and Planning

Project estimation and planning in the absence of historical data are always challenging. This article is based on an actual fixed-price software development, called project “X,” for a large telecommunications company in Germany, which was executed between June 2009 and February 2010. The project involved a total of 25 people in two different geographic locations. Because the technology mix involved was new (J2EE/Swing), the project organization did not have any historical data to support the estimation process. The actual results were very close to the estimates, with 98% accuracy, and the project was delivered on time and within budget.

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Project Communication Management: Key for Project Success in Construction Arena

The process of managing a project’s communications should keep all participants, both team members and all key stakeholders, up-to-date on the project’s progress. The process should also help project managers and project leaders make major project decisions and reach critical project milestones and project objectives. To achieve a successful outcome, project managers need a vast amount of information, such as expectations, goals, needs, resources, project plans and schedules, status reports, and budgets and purchase requests. They also need to communicate this information, at regular intervals, to all team members and other project stakeholders.

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Negotiation for Project Managers Part 2: Toolkit for Success

In the first part of this series, we examined how negotiation plays an integral part in almost all project communications. We touched upon how different players in a project team may negotiate to meet different interests. We also discussed how a principled negotiation differed from the typical ‘tough act’ approach. In this part, we will be stepping deeper and discussing a tool kit that contains five steps that would help enable parties to conduct a principled negotiation.

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General Failure, Major Disaster, Private Sorrow

Remember those $800 toilet seats and $1,400 screwdrivers that made American taxpayers hate the Pentagon? Here’s another horror story to make you clutch your wallet tightly. Several years ago, the U.S. government spent millions on a telecommunications software system to manage its worldwide secure communications for all branches of its military. While the big brass was committed to implementing the software, military and civilian bureaucrats stonewalled the project to death. Read about one project managerand disgusted taxpayercaught in the implementation stalemate.

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