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Thursday, November 3, 2011

There's Talk, and There's Communication

Peter Drucker said '60% of all management problems are the result of poor communication.'

Why is this true?

Communications break down when losing focus on three areas:
  • clarity of what's expected
  • accuracy of what's completed, and
  • timeliness of what's needed.

Clarity of What's Expected – Projects which do not have clear goals, vision, and mission set out in specific and measurable terms cause confusion and fall short of desired results. Keeping the goals in front of team members helps to focus on outcomes.

Accuracy of What's Completed – Detailed, appropriate input from team members about what is completed and the status of in-progress activities is necessary to manage project completion – appropriate data verses extensive data is the key here.

Timeliness of What's Needed – Timely reporting of appropriate data permits effective allocation of resources and contingency planning, when necessary, to make use of idle resources or target resources to correct delays..

How would you approach improving these three related areas?

Weekly status meetings for the team was popular when everyone was in the same facility. As the team expanded beyond the immediate area video, audio, and computer-aided technology added, but did not appreciably change the result. A weekly one-hour meeting of eight people 'invests' one person day (8 hours) per week during which 88% of the time is waiting to present your information. Getting the data without the meeting seems may be an alternative.

Weekly reports don't require simultaneous attendance, but do need preparation and production time to compile the information in the prescribed format and distribute it to the project leader. Week old information, no matter how quickly distributed is still old information when received.

As project teams evolved to teams from several organizations, locations around the world, and perhaps different languages, communications have become more complex and critical to successfully completing a project. Project software is intended to communicate data to the project leaders and staff in an organization. Does this solve the needs?

An example - for a membership project, I received a report from a software system which was a ½ inch thick sheaf of paper with tasks, priorities, and benchmarks – and a person with a full time role of keeping it up to date and complete. Although detailed, it did little for clarity, accuracy, and timeliness needed to improve project success.

How do we get the needed information, to the right people, in real time, wherever they are located, in a simple, straightforward fashion, and also have a means of sharing with others what the team members have learned working toward the results?

What's needed in your organization to simplifying prompt, accurate complete communications to make projects get more successful results?

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1 comment:

Thoughthebrowser said...

Or, No matter how hard you do the wrong thing, it never quite works, Ted Long