Effective communication is 20% what you know and 80% how you feel about what you know. – Jim Rohn
A status meeting can be used to direct team members, provide detailed context and real-time updates. Face-to-face communication will leave a greater impression and works quickly to ensure lines of contact are kept open.
Project manager’s should guide their team with regular meetings to ensure task progress is clarified. Minute-meetings are a tried-and-true method for timeline transparency, requiring a team member to dictate key points and resolutions discussed for everyone involved. This is a great way to ensure that all your colleagues are kept on track and up to date.
Online platforms continue to facilitate more efficient project execution. The incorporation of interactive timelines, that can be adjusted 24/7, give colleagues real-time updates and feedback. In our digital age, this level of accessibility is crucial.
We access the internet from mobile devices, PC’s and tablets each day, making flexible platforms such as Google Calendar a welcome opportunity. Many planning programs are free and easy to use, and can be successfully implemented to keep team members working smarter.
One of the best ways to create a communicable timeline is to highlight priority deadlines that cannot afford to be delayed. While you should be careful not to instil too much fear in the heart of your team members, getting real with them is important.
The truth behind project management is that deadlines will change. They are a moving target that every great project manager needs to be able to keep an eye on. Though often goals are run over, ignored or removed altogether, deadlines are fundamental for efficiency and awareness when executing a project.
A good project plan will outline the challenges, delays and milestones in advance. A great plan will also acknowledge achievements along the way. This means not only telling John he did a good job but making sure that his coworker knows too. The successful completion of a task signposts positive movement in the project and is just as crucial as addressing the obstacles you face.
Encouraging a positive energy will ensure that all your team members feel appreciated and most importantly, are aware of what everyone is working on and to what degree. The impact of praise on an individual’s motivation will push your team into a more efficient work ethic.
A communicable timeline should always be accessible to yourself and your team. Crucially, this team should extend to include all stakeholders. Investing in a relationship with your stakeholders will ensure that the project outline is understood by all relevant parties and plays an important part in maintaining transparency.
Involving a client more directly with the project can have the added bonus of establishing realistic expectations. As they are updated with project movements and kept aware of any delays, the client will be able to recognise all of the hard work behind each success.
The best project timelines are completely authentic, predicting the good and the bad. If anything arises that will affect a deadline, then it is important that this is communicated to all those affected. It goes without saying that stakeholders will appreciate being told sooner rather than later.
In fact more often than not, a worker will appreciate the value of an honest, trustworthy relationship moving forward. All projects meet unique challenges and trying to cover up a situation won’t make it go away. Instead, be concise in your communication and document the problem to ensure that any confusion is kept to a minimum and your project can power across the finish line.
Helen Sabell works for the College for Adult Learning, she is passionate about adult and lifelong learning. She has designed, developed and authored many workplace leadership and training programs, both in Australia and overseas. Helen also works with a select group of organisations consulting in People Management & Development, Education and Change.
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