Ricardo Viana Vargas, PMI-RMP, PMI-SP, PMP, a past
PMI chair, is the director of the Sustainable Project
Management Group at the United Nations Office for
Project Services in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Leadership meant taking the initiative to investigate our audiences’ information needs, which
helped our communication efforts become much
more effective. We managed to create a strategy
that our colleagues implemented across the organization.
WHAT’S YOUR MESSAGE?
Once the audience is identified, project managers should understand the project well enough to
know which pieces of information are (or are not!)
useful to stakeholders. Communication is about
being conscientious. Remember to keep your message concise, specific and pertinent—good leaders
provide their teams with information that matters.
Those involved on the project need to know what’s
required, when it’s expected, how it should be
undertaken and with what other activities it should
HO W WILL YOU COMMUNICATE?
Project leadership doesn’t mean always initiating the conversation—far from it. I tell my team
that “my door is always open,” because managers
should facilitate communication by fostering openness. With the right information, team members
can be empowered to perform their work, collaborate more strongly, and better understand tasks
The suite of tools and techniques that a proj-
ect manager makes available must be outlined in
a communications strategy—this is where it all
begins. The clear and concise plan should address
project responsibilities and explain which types of
communication will take place over the course of
the project. It should be shared with team mem-
bers, and they should be encouraged to offer feed-
back and initiate future dialogues.
WH Y IS THIS SIGNIFICANT?
Because project work is ever-changing, project
leaders must make frequent project plan adjustments—and consistently communicate the reasons
driving such changes. Without good communication, projects can fall into chaos. Without understanding the motivation behind a change, team
members might be resistant and less effective.
Creating an atmosphere of openness and clarity
can help minimize miscommunications and project setbacks.
Communication is the foundation of strong
project leadership. Skilled leaders know that more
important than stellar oratory skills, great communication requires crafting a solid communication
plan, recognizing audience needs and utilizing a
wide range of tools and techniques. PM
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.