22 PM NETWORK NOVEMBER 2014 WWW.PMI.ORG
Deborah (Debi) A. Dell, PMP, is the manager of the
Project Management Center of Excellence at IBM,
a PMI Global Executive Council member. She works
from her home in Delray Beach, Florida, USA.
ing and sharing of information in a professional
manner through the tools of choice. Such actions
by the project manager demonstrate and encourage an open environment for documenting lessons learned that may lead to process changes or
improved team communications, both of which
have demonstrable value.
DON’T LET ANYONE SLIDE
Collaboration tools and social media can pose a
challenge in a world of virtual, global teams that
cross time zones and cultures. Yet one of the biggest mistakes that can be made is not involving
all team members and capturing their insights at
all phases of the project. Regardless of their role
or their time zone, all team members must be
involved and recognized for their contributions to
If a virtual team member isn’t able to participate
during a real-time collaboration on lessons learned,
consider posting the discussion instead. A thread
to which all team members can add examples, cite
solutions and document mitigation strategies may
take more time to build when working across time
zones, but the final result will be complete.
Just as important, team members will feel the
importance placed on lessons learned and knowledge
sharing. They’ll also feel that their role in the process
isn’t diminished simply by dint of their availability.
DO NOTE LESSONS LEARNED ABOUT
The project manager who is committed to continually seeking team feedback and soliciting lessons
learned can not only make adjustments throughout the project but can also document insights
that may apply to projects in all areas and phases
of project management. Even the process of
knowledge sharing and capturing insights should
be subject to analysis and refinement. At the close
of the project, take time to note what worked well
with the team and what changes might be made to
the lessons learned strategies on the next project
you helm. PM
Continued from previous page SPEAK UP
Communication is paramount—
here’s how to do it well.
BY RICARDO VIANA VARGAS
Ihave always believed that effective communication is at the heart of good project management. The messages one communicates, and the way one communicates them, are vital to establishing a strong reputation for leadership. What is project communication? It’s the specific behaviors and methods used to lead, delegate and advise stakeholders engaged on the project. For communication to be successful, information has to
flow in the right direction.
Communication affects performance. For every US$1 billion spent
on a project, US$109 million is wasted due to poor project performance, according PMI’s Pulse of the Profession®: The High Cost of Low
Performance. And 56 percent of that is primarily due to ineffective
communications, according to PMI’s Pulse of the Profession In-Depth
Report: The Essential Role of Communications.
This means that communication and project progress go hand in
hand: If you want high-performance teamwork, effective communication is a must.
Poor communication is symptomatic of a project manager’s inability to effectively lead the project. The successful project managers I
have known typically were able to communicate the issues, listen to
(and act on) feedback, and foster collaboration among team members.
So how do you do it? Here are a few questions to consider.
WHO’S YOUR AUDIENCE?
It’s hard to know what to say if you don’t know whom you’re talking to.
The first step for project managers is to identify their intended audience.
Team members, for instance, want to know the direct impact a project
has on them, whether you considered their specific role when conceiving
the process and if you valued their input when deciding to make changes.
For instance, for the management of the humanitarian and development work we do at the U.N. Office for Project Services, our team
was considering revising rollout strategies for one of the most critical
project management tools. Colleagues across various offices in the
developing world were consulted to assess how the project was being
managed and whether they had any concerns about rollouts in the
past. As it turned out, there was concern about how projects were
being managed due to a lack of communication between headquarters and regional offices.