Your Project, Your Relationships, Your Communication

A very common theme in the success or failure of your project is the power of relationships. High performing PM’s have solid relationship skills. Some of this may come naturally but for many people who become a PM move from being a subject area expert need to work at developing. It can be a learned skill with practice. In my opinion, this is something worth learning about and continue to pursue regardless of the environment. Powerful relationships with vendors, partners, and in your organization with translate to time, money and benefits for your program or project.

Most people have a blind spot. I am no exception. Most Project Managers believe they are doing their job very well. While stakeholders of the project are sitting back less than happy with results. the reason is they often have different goals than the immediate goals you have for project team. Working with your stakeholders to clearly define success criteria is a key step very early in the process. A project manager (PM) who alienates the stakeholders, holds senior management at arms length and doesn’t have strong communication in the team can only expect problems. One of the great lessons I learned was creating a formal and informal network deliberately and early. How your stakeholders feel is connected to the payoff. You want them to feel connected and empowered.

Good PM’s use communication to resolve issues. PM’s at the other end of spectrum often feel that their communication is used against them and operate in a cover you tracks (CYA) mode. How you view your communication can become a predictor for how you communicate and work to improve in the future. So what make good communication? It is usually judged by the one receiving how relevant, concise, delivery, and timing influence how the listener responds. When there are complaints, they are usually due to the quality of the message, how much info, and the frequency information is received.

Communication alone does not make a great PM but without it you are sure to struggle with delivery of high payoff results with your team. Your relationships, your communication are the lifeline of any project regardless of the size.

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