The authoritative reference on one of the most important aspects of managing projects--project communications.
With shorter production cycles and the demand for projects being faster, cheaper, and better, the need for project communications tools has increased. Written with the project manager, stakeholder, and project team in mind, this resource provides the best practices, tips, tricks, and tools for successful project communications and planning. The featured charts, graphs, and tables are all ready for immediate use.
Review By: Cathy Bell 02/19/2009Project communication has become the key to success in today's fast-paced project environment. Today's project managers have the added challenge of dealing with virtual teams, increasing pressure for shorter time to market, technology changes/advancements during a project life cycle, and the diversity of product availability. Looking at all of the factors involved in projects today we can see that effective communications is required to keep things on track. However, effective communication does not just happen. Rather it takes planning and skillful execution on the part of the project managers. The author of this book gives us a top notch resource to improve communication on our projects.
Using Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) as an outline, the book ties communication to each of the knowledge areas, outlining the importance of communication at each step. The advice given is practical, filled with examples of situations that we can identify with because we can find ourselves in the scenario any day in the life of our project. The author uses these real world scenarios as he guides us through the communication tools, along with advice on how these tools can be used in our projects. One example of the practical advice given is that "project managers should establish a cadence for delivering their projects status reports" showing how stakeholders and team members will come to expect the project status and appreciate the consistency. He covers how to create the communication plan and determine what project materials are appropriate for your project and also how to effectively present the project materials. The tools included will help the entire team use communication to manage scope, time, and costs.
Chapter 8 offers many useful tools to assist the project manager and the project team to build quality into the products delivered. For example, a comprehensive test plan includes the approach to testing so that when the budget does not allow the rigor of testing wanted, we can explain in the comprehensive test plan what we will test, and how we will test, and what we will not be testing due to budget constraints. The project manager brings the team and stakeholders together to discuss this approach and gets everyone's buy-in up front on what will be covered in testing.
The book is targeted to project managers, but as seen in the chapter on quality, the advice and tools make this a worthwhile reference for all members of a project team. If all team members worked harder at effective communication, our projects would have a greater chance of successful completion.
A unique topic in this book is in Appendix B, which covers how to handle project communications in a foreign country. It outlines some of the unique issues that arise for the traveling project manager. Also touched upon is dealing with multi-cultural teams, advising project managers to use their communication skills to bring team members together by being aware of cultural differences and using communication to keep the differences from having a negative impact on your team.
A useful feature of the book is the icons that you will find through out its pages. These icons point out tips that contain extra information on the subject being covered and at times include workarounds to the listed procedure. There are notes which contain supplementary information and cross references to other sections of the book where the current information may be covered in more detail. The CD-ROM contains some tools with a quick blurb about how this tool could prove most useful to the project manager.
The tools provided are practical. The CD-ROM includes downloadable templates for these tools and charts and reports that we can incorporate into our own projects. The "Project Management Communication Tools List" is a spreadsheet that maps the tools to the corresponding life cycle and/or PMI knowledge area. The entire book is also available on the CD-ROM as a searchable PDF.