COMMUNICATION

What all Project Managers ought to know about communication

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What all Project Managers ought to know about communication

Project managers, it’s time to speak up! Although you are in the best position to predict project cost and schedule overruns, research shows that, because of ineffective communication with senior management, project managers are often reluctant to raise important issues that could determine the project’s success. We chatted to a few experienced project managers who work with GetSmarter to find out why they think it is important to speak up and how they go about it.

The project manager knows best


Derek Smith, UCT emeritus professor and course designer for the UCT Advanced Project Management online short course, says, “when things are possibly going to create problems, it’s the PM’s responsibility to give the project sponsor a heads-up. This requires a good and trusting relationship between the two parties.”

How to speak up


According to Alla Boguslavsky, Project Manager at GetSmarter, there are a number of important considerations to keep in mind before you communicate any potential issues to senior-level management. The first is timing. If you run to your manager with a problem every day, they will stop taking you seriously. Managers react differently depending on the situation and their mood.

Another key element of speaking up is your approach. “There is a big difference between approaching your manager with a problem, and approaching your manager with possible solutions to a problem,” says Alla. Managers are more responsive to proactive approaches.

Your confidence is also key, says Brent Combrink, experienced Project Manager and Course Instructor of both UCT Project Management short courses currently offered in partnership with GetSmarter. “When PMs speak with inherent, expert authority that is independent of their positional authority relative to their bosses and clients, they will already be miles down the path of countering the institutional causes of stressed projects failing too slowly”.

Remember, speaking up works both ways. Creating an environment where your project team members are able to approach you, will lead to more accurate updates, allowing you to broach the subject with upper management honestly. You may not be able to prevent risk to projects, but you are responsible for managing and communicating risk when you see it. As Derek Smith says, “Bad news should be managed, not hidden.”

You can’t lead without learning


Invest in growing your Project Management knowledge, skills and network with one of the following UCT-approved online short courses:


● UCT Advanced Project Management

● UCT Foundations of Project Management 

● UCT IT Management 

● UCT Business System Analysis

● UCT Business Risk Management 

● UCT Occupational Health and Safety

● UCT Professional Communication and Office Management 

Visit getsmarter.co.za to download a course information pack for the first one that catches your eye, and register to reserve your space on one of these popular courses today!

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