Communicate Your Way Into Successful Projects: 4 Handy Tips
Typically, geographically-dispersed teams tend to face the same issues everywhere: Shorter projects and innumerable moving parts that make it increasingly difficult to deliver projects on time – that too, on tighter deadlines and filled with plenty of room for error. Does this sound familiar? Add to the equation, multiple vendor partners that you need to work with and remote project communication just becomes a tangled web of sorts. We get it.
Generally, project communication is mistaken to be all about bringing people up-to-speed about the current project progress, but there’s much more to it than meets the eye. This, especially holds true, if your work requires you to work remotely extensively.
There’s enough data to back this up. A study conducted by Atlassian suggests that around 59% of employees cite communication as their team’s biggest obstacle to success. Additionally, the Project Management Institute suggests that a Project Manager should ideally spend 90 percent of their time communicating!
It, then, goes without saying that communication plays a pivotal role in ensuring successful project implementation both qualitatively and quantitatively.
After all, remember, you and your team are the most crucial resources. Naturally, the wasted time and efforts won’t return. So, here are 4 handy and often forgotten tips to ace the art of communicating effectively and masterfully for a successful project implementation (Specially if your teams operate from across the globe):
4 handy tips for remote project communication:
1. 3 C’s of Communication: Clear, Concise, Constructive.
The first step is to clearly chalk out a “communication plan” that acts as a steady stream of valuable information and addresses key areas such as: short- and long-term goals, individual/team job roles and work breakdown structure, performance areas, management expectations, and constructive assessment. While this may sound like a lot of work, it’s worth the effort. It doesn’t really matter if you are a million dollar company or a small enterprise – structure is essential to any kind of communication, especially remote project communication. So our suggestion? Follow a simple three-step process to reap the real benefits of communicating effectively:
First off, decide what makes sense, how much makes sense, and choose your dose/work load.
Then, opt your preferred execution model – be it Agile or Waterfall – and move onto identifying gates where communication is needed.
Finally, define the communication frequency, assign ownership, and make sure to follow through.
2. Take Cue of the Cultural Differences
Say you’re talking to a German employee and narrating the story about “gifting” something to a colleague. Later you come to know that “gift” in German actually translates to “poison.” One can only imagine the kind of misunderstanding that will ensue. Let’s take another example. You write mails to your Japanese colleague without adding the word “San.” Later, you earn yourself the reputation of being rude. Confused? It’s possibly because “San” in the Japanese culture is customarily added after people’s names as a mark of respect.
Let’s look at an example from the context of Indian work culture. We all know that Indian employees typically have a hard time saying “no” for anything – especially when it comes to work. Blame it on the Asian work ethic (that’s revered all over the world). The result? Employees end up agreeing to a meeting at inconvenient times – and often at the cost of personal expense. But this does not necessarily have to be so. A slight cultural sensitivity in terms of thinking can lead to a work culture that’s considerate and empathetic. In short, the best of both worlds if you ask us.
The point we’re driving here? Simple: It’s is extremely important to understand your team’s subtle ethnic nuances and work with a sense of cultural sensitivity or you’ll find yourself jumping at the deep end – with dire consequences, of course!
3. Take Note of the Time Zone Constraints
Imagine this: Your Project Manager – based out of the United States – sends you a calendar invite for a meeting scheduled at 12 a.m. IST (1:30 pm ET). Clearly, they’ve forgotten to factor in the time difference and left you high-and-dry. Naturally, the meeting gets cancelled and results in a colossal waste of time for everyone else. So to prevent being in situations where you have to make up for lost time – quite literally – remember to consider varied time zones, especially if your team is globally dispersed.