|Author : DAOUDI Samir | Context : MSc Software Engineering – IT Project Management|
We have seen in the lasts weeks that projects fail for different reasons; It can be the scope of the project which is enough clear and explicit, or the estimations of tasks schedules and budget or any other conflict related to the project specifications. As the project is based on estimations and suppositions, different conflict might arise due to a wrong estimation of schedules and budget (Goodman, 2004).
In general, the project managers are aware about this danger and try to avoid these risks by having a specific process within the project known as the risks analysis. This part of the project tries to identify all possible issues that might occur during the project and what can be the impact of each of them. It also tries to have a mitigation plan to minimize the impact of these risks or completely avoid it.
The communication during the project
Even if the risks management process tries to analyze all possible issues, but one of the greatest ways to handle problems and issues and avoid conflicts during the project is a powerful and organized communication method. As soon as issues or conflict starts, whatever the severity and gravity of the issue. Project managers should establish rules and methods for communication and escalation (Morris & Pinto, 2007).
When we consider the communication during a project, two main types of communication exist. In fact the way we conduct the communications and information internally might be different than the methods used with third parties and stakeholders; hence we should have plans for both internal and external communications.
When considering the internal communication methods and principles, it can be easily manager by establishing recurrent meetings, which involve the different team members, team leaders, project manager and the entire project member. A regular reports should be written and minutes of meetings should be escalated to the senior managers if required. In contrary, the external communication methods might be more complex and require further attention. In fact, the project manager should clearly distinguish between what can be escalated to the customers? What should be? And what should not (Harris,2010)?
The end users should be continuously informed about the project advancement and progress. It is really important to include them during the brainstorming and design phases. Involving the customers might considerably reduce the risks of final solution do not meet the expectations or the interface developed being completely different…etc.
The external communication plans might include:
– The frequency of reporting.
– The communication methods (Meetings, email, newsletter …etc.)
– The aspect of the project to be communicated to the customer.
– The confidentiality aspect of the project (critical data e.g. logins for test environment)…etc.
– Who should be responsible of communication and escalating reports to customers? …etc (Goodman, 2004).
The communication within a project is a very important part which can enhance the relation between customers and companies in addition to the information and conflict avoidance. Specific approach of communication should be followed by the project manager which dictate how the communication should be.
– Paul Goodman (2004). Software Metrics: Best Practices for Successful It Management. ISBN: 1-931332-26-6.
– Peter Morris, Jeffrey K. Pinto (2007). The Wiley Guide to Project Control. ISBN: 978-0-470-22684-1.
– Paul E Harris(2010). Project Planning and Control. ISBN: 978-1-921059-9