Some problems of project communication

Communication is important but often difficult, again not just in projects but generally. The difficulties arise mainly from six tensions, shown in Table 10.1.

Table 10.1. Six sources of tension in communication
The need to communicate the complete story or situation versus The need to be brief
The need to tailor the message to the audience, and to simplify versus The duty to be open and honest
The need to treat all stakeholders fairly versus Competing needs and expectations among stakeholders and the need to release some information over time
The need to listen versus Time constraints and the need to correct at times
Demand for information now, and for a great deal of it versus The need to release some information over time, and time taken to understand, verify and digest information
The value of showing certainty and clarity in communication versus The value of a thorough understanding of the subject of communication, which means tolerating ambiguity and shades of grey


We are not going to give you a recipe for managing these tensions. Sometimes they cannot be managed, and what is required of the project manager is a firm decision on which way to go on one of these tensions. Working through these kinds of tensions is what management is about, and the key thing is to recognize such tensions.

These tensions are more acute in project management than in other work for three reasons, first because of the time pressure in projects; secondly because of the temporary nature of the organization, which means that those communicating have less opportunity to get to know each other; and thirdly, often the stakeholders change or change in importance as the project progresses, which means that communication strategies and plans may in turn need revising.

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Definitive Guide to Project Management. The Fast Track to Getting the Job Done on Time and on Budget
The Definitive Guide to Project Management: The fast track to getting the job done on time and on budget (2nd Edition)
ISBN: 0273710974
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2007
Pages: 217
Authors: Sebastian Nokes
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