Poor communication is a big problem for organisations. A survey of 400 companies with 100,000 employees each cited an average loss per company of £47.31 million per year because of inadequate communication too and between employees.
That’s even before you discuss communication with your external partners. Using the wrong methods with them could mean that any collaboration is unlikely to succeed.
In this blog, we’re going to list some of the best (and worst) communication methods in project management and explain why that's the case.
Let’s start with the bad methods, shall we? If the last statistic about the huge amount of money lost through poor communication in project management didn’t scare you, this certainly will. According to Cutting Edge PR, it is the number one reason for most project management failures.
But what is behind all of this? Taking a closer look at the common tools and methods that you use every day, it is clear why these are now inadequate for 21st Century project management.
Since exploding onto the scene in the 1990s, email has become the norm for communicating inside and outside of the workplace.
However, opinions are starting to change. It is now known as one of the main productivity killers and project managers are increasingly looking for alternate ways to communicate with stakeholders.
Firewalls are also causing major issues. These are set up to privide a barrier between a trusted network and an untrusted network.
However, problems begin to surface when you try and send an important document and it is blocked from reaching its recipient. Only hours later do you realise this has happened and by then a deadline might have passed or you may have upset a stakeholder who was expecting to receive it hours earlier.
Stopping people using email to collaborate on documents is a lot easier said than done though.
Video conferencing was first introduced to bridge the gap between people in the office and others that are based remotely.
On the face of it, this works well. It’s more personal than a phone call as you can see their face and more interactive when compared to sending an email.
But there are also issues with video communication. For one, ‘halted’ or ‘broken’ conversation is common.
What do I mean by this? Well when multiple people are on a conference call, voices tend to overlap and individuals can’t be sure if another person is talking or going to start talking. The conversation then becomes disjointed and key points are likely to be missed.
This can also create a barrier to collaborating effectively and leave all of your stakeholders disengaged with the project, as they feel that they’re unable to contribute to the project how they would like to.
How many meetings do you hold a day? A week? A year?
According to Real Business magazine, the average worker attends 3.7 meetings every week, spending one hour nine minutes preparing for each meeting and one hour 22 minutes actually attending it. That adds up to a lot of wasted time!
This includes meetings with your external partners. However, they have the added inconvenience of having to travel to your office. This is not only bad for the environment, but can also mean a loss of productive hours as they are spending it on a train or in a car, as opposed to their usual place of work.
OK I know what you’re thinking, meetings aren’t all that bad. To some extent I would agree. When it is well planned, with a clear agenda and is designed to be engaging to attendees, it can work quite well.
However, more often than not this isn’t the case. Incredibly, 34% of staff fall asleep during meetings and 63% of them don’t even have a planned agenda. All of which must make you wonder, why people bother attending them at all?
The good i.e. cloud collaboration software
Don’t worry it’s not all bad! There is actually a simpler way for you to communicate with internal and external stakeholders. Just use cloud collaboration software.
Both private and public-sector organisations have benefited greatly from using it. This is shown clearly by the results of a survey by Frost & Sullivan which found the companies that invest in collaboration technologies increase productivity by as much as 400%. Sounds great right?!
What makes this software so good? It offers all the functionality that you need in one place, rather than spread across numerous different tools. This ensures that important information doesn't get “lost in the cracks.”
Just some of these tools include:
- Surveys - Gain instant feedback from your stakeholders in a private online environment.
- Task lists – Manage your own task list or assign important tasks to team members.
- Databases – Record key contact information of customers, (CRM) or important people within your organisation.
- Calendars – Create separate calendars for meeting room bookings, your personal schedule or to monitor team activities.
- Forums - Create forums to engage your stakeholders and encourage discussion around a variety of topics.