There is no doubt that effective project communication is at the core of every successful project. You simply can’t build a peak performing project team without effective project communication that facilitates sharing the issues and celebrating the wins. Similarly for stakeholders to be effectively engaged and supportive of the project, the project communication strategy needs to open, transparent and available to everyone involved in the project.
The problem we are faced with in project communication is keeping everyone that has an interest in the project in the loop and communicating the project issues and successes effectively and efficiently. Project communication becomes increasingly difficult with globally disbursed and remote teams, here are some tools that should make communicating in your project much more efficient.
10 Great Project Communication Tools That I Use
Conduct Effective Stakeholder Analysis
A great project communication strategy starts with a detailed understanding of each of the project stakeholders and team members. The goal is to try and understand what information they wish to receive, in what format, how often and what their sensitivities are. None of the below list will be effective if you are just sending out irrelevant information. You can download a free template below ↓
Skype Video Conferencing
Face to face meetings are always the best for project communication and engagement, but when teams are disbursed or working remotely around the world, face to face meetings can be impractical and expensive.
The next best thing is video conferencing and Skype offers a great solution to break down the barriers of remote team project communication. Anyone, anywhere, can use Skype for video calling on any computer, tablet or smart phone. You can even hold video conferencing with multiple people.
Virtual Meetings and Presentations With Go To Meeting & Go To Webinar
Project meetings and presentations are a critical element to most project communication strategies. Sometimes you simply need a slide deck to display key messaged and data. With Go To Webinar and Go To Meeting, you can host virtual slide show presentations, where the entire project team can log in, see your slides, hear and see you present the information.
A great tip to really boost your project communication effectiveness is to record the live “webinar” presentation and put it up on your project workspace on intranet for everyone to view when it is convenient, great if your project team is working across multiple time zones.
Document Storage and Collaboration With Box
If you have tried using email as your main form of project communication then you know how restrictive email can be, conversations get lost in long chains of emails, multiple versions of documents being sent around and large files sizes jamming the mail servers! It can be extremely frustrating.
Email is so 2012
That is why I use an online document storage solution for all my project communication and collaboration needs. I have tried many and the best I have found is Box. You might be familiar with Dropbox and that can work as well, but what Box does is that it allows you do control access and invite collaborators. Collaborators can edit, comment and approve documents right inside box. One of the best features, is its built in version control, version history and comment history.
Lets’s face it, issuing a monthly project report is not the greatest project communication tool, while they do have their place I think there are better tools and techniques for maintaining strong project communication. I have written previously about the importance of communicating in frequent bursts based around important project events and I think using social media tools is a great way to share this. Twitter is great if your project involves many external stakeholders that you wish to communicate with.
If your project only involves internal stakeholder project communication then you can look at closed social media tool like Yammer. Use these tools to send out frequent project updates, short, targeted snippets of information.
Create a Project Hub
When planning your project communication strategy, it is important to consider as many “pull” based communication channels as possible. This allows project team members to pull information when they want or need it. Having a project hub allows you to store all your project communication information in one place. A project hub can be hosted on the local intranet, an open website or blog (great when there are many external stakeholders).
Publish a Project Schedule
Most stakeholders will generally want to be kept informed of the project’s progress. Publishing a gantt chart or project schedule is an easy and effective project communication tool allowing project team members to view the project status as the require. There are many internet or cloud based scheduling tool available. Liquidplanner offers a unique drag and drop interface
Survey Project Communication Preferences
One of the challenges about effective project communication is ensuring you are sending relevant information to your project teams and stakeholders. This can be easily overcome by surveying your stakeholders and finding out the information that are interested in receiving and how they wish to receive it. Google forms and Survey Monkey are two great tools for this.
Online Project Management Tools
If you are wanting to get a bit more advanced, there there are a heap of project management tools available on the internet such asTeamwork project manager, some free and other paid.
Project management tools are act as great project communication hubs and generally combine many of the tool listed above into one system. They each have their strengths and weaknesses, which will be the topic of another blog post. I encourage you to try and few out and see what works best for your projects.
Did I miss something?
If there is a great tool that you would like to share or a key project communication area that I have missed, please leave a comment below.
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