When it comes to successful project completion and delivery, a well-functioning team is a key component.
Regardless of the size or complexity of the task at hand, every step of a project’s life cycle is more easily navigated when a team is aligned on best practices, and possesses effective communication skills.
If you’re new to project management, or simply looking for refreshing new ways to elevate team communication, keep reading - we’re sharing our top tips for effective project team communication!
1. Create a Project Communication Plan - Effective team communication doesn’t happen overnight, and it can’t exist successfully without a plan. A communication plan that properly lays out standard operating procedures has the power to unite your team through a shared understanding of roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
Here are some things to consider as you draft a communication plan:
- Identify which team members are responsible for which types of communication on a project (daily conversations vs. weekly check-ins etc.) and write it out so that each team member knows what’s expected of them, and when.
- Clarify which team members need to be looped in on certain project communications, and decide how the information will be shared. Having a mutual understanding of who is expected to be present for what, and a standard forum for sharing information, like Google Meet or Zoom, takes the guesswork out of project meetings.
- Provide all available project information in a clear way so that it can be referenced by team members whenever needed. This can include: project stakeholders, project objectives, a well-written project kick-off plan, team contact information, communication strategies, budgets, etc. Providing this information encourages team members to spend less time communicating about day-to-day details and more time on high-impact work.
2. Conduct Regular Meetings - Regular team meetings provide a space for team members to share updates, track progress, and bond as a group. Make sure to conduct meetings with the entire team present whenever possible. This helps team members to understand each other’s roles, overall project activities, and can encourage them to share inputs, accolades and concerns. Regular meetings also help to ensure that the team is aligned on broad project goals, by providing time to review key metrics and dashboards.
3. Create a Transparent Work Culture - Communication can be time-consuming, but putting out the small fires associated with miscommunication is even moreso. Avoid wasting team members’ time by creating a transparent culture that encourages the sharing of information freely at all levels of the organization. People work best in a culture of trust, so be open about plans and operations with team members as well as with clients. Transparency and vulnerability across an organization - especially within teams - helps ensure that team members feel supported and empowered to do their best.
4. Create a Central Communication Hub - Having a shared platform where team members can engage in all project-related communication helps to eliminate communication gaps and unintentional exclusion. Without a universal platform, team members may be forced to turn to personal apps or platforms to communicate, leading to confusion and disorganization. A central hub such as Basecamp allows leaders to share project activity that everyone can access at any time, making it easier than ever to track projects, see what’s coming down the pipeline, and document comments/issues in one streamlined place.
Note: Once you choose a communication hub, make sure that all team members have a clear understanding of the platform’s functionality. Even the best project management tool will be inefficient if the process is not set and communicated clearly from the start.
Drafting a project communication plan, conducting regular meetings, creating a transparent culture, and choosing a central communication hub are all critical components of effective team communication.
But remember: merely holding team meetings does not make a project manager an effective leader. Project managers that strive to lead in a meaningful way should always be looking for new ways to bring value to the teams that they lead, and this value is added through purposeful planning and intentional team engagement.