Communications And Your Project Team

December 24, 2012

Team Communication

Today is Christmas Eve. Gifts are bought and wrapped under trees all around the world. Everywhere kids of all ages wait with great anticipation when they can finally tear into those gifts and see what they received.

And then, in some cases, there’s the letdown. The color isn’t right. Or I already have one of these. Maybe they bought you a medium when, ahem, an extra large is required.

You thought that someone knew what to get you. After all, they should just know me, right?

The reason for the disconnect is that nobody is a mindreader. I’ve been trying to convince folks, including my wife, of that for years.

And so this can happen with your projects also. Without effective communication between the project team and customers or stakeholders, projects can proceed with both parties assuming that the other knows exactly what they’re thinking. And unfortunately, this is when a project breaks down – the developers simply don’t understand what the customer’s requirements are.

A 1998 study conducted in the United Kingdom sought to find the primary cause of delayed project delivery and project failure. At the very top of the list – a breakdown in communications, cited 57% of the time.

Communications have been around since the dawn of business. While there may be new channels for communication, the basic premise of communication remains the same. No single project management methodology or tool will help to fix this either. But there are things that your organization can do to minimize this type of problem. As a Christmas gift to you, here are three non-tech ways to improve your communications within your organization:

Get to know one another. In the last month I’ve taken on a new role. My first order of business was to meet for 30 minutes, one on one, with everyone in my department. We didn’t talk about anything in particular, but at the end of each meeting I knew something about each person and them about me. And I’m sure we both will feel a lot more comfortable interacting when the first business issue comes up between us.

Hold face-to-face communications whenever possible. Depending on which study you read, up to 93% of all messaging comes from non-verbal communications. Things like tone, rate of speech, inflection and body language all communicate so much more than the words being used. Technology makes it easier than ever to communicate, but much of the meaning is lost when the message is translated into ones and zeroes. It is very tempting to hide behind technology when a controversial subject needs to be discussed, but that is the least effective way to resolve conflict.

Personalize your interaction style with your audience. The more you know the individual or audience that you are communicating with, the better you will be at tailoring your style to fit their needs. Our different personality traits demand a personalized style of communication to feel at ease and to get the intended message across.

Tired of searching for a qualified mindreader? Are communications an issue in your organization? If so, let us here at Braintrust help solve your problems! With our experienced team of Scrum coaches, Braintrust has the experience and resources to help you communicate better with your team, your customers, and your stakeholders. Click on the Contact page to hear from one of our product specialists. Or, head over to the Services tab to find out more about our offerings.



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