51 and 3 – two key numbers in project communications

I recently introduced a new exercise into my project management courses. The reason; I was concerned, very concerned about project management communications.

An analysis by Project Agency showed that just over 68% of people (of approximately 1400 people surveyed) feel project communications are poor or very poor.

The exercise is in three parts:

Part 1: I get people into small groups and ask them to identify as many (sensible) methods of communicating in a project within the company they work

Part 2: In one large group, I get them to share the different ways people communicate – this is where the first number comes in 51. This is the average number of different ways people can communicate in their business

Part 3: I then ask them to look at a case study we have been working on and develop a communications plan – using the appropriate communications medium and a project management template

The exercise identifies we only use very few ways to communicate

It’s an interesting exercise and the very first time we did this someone said;

“Amazing, 51 ways to communicate and our group has suggested only 3 on the list and these 3 are pretty common – email, phone and face to face. We completely ignored other ways”

I have tested this out with other groups and the tendency is to do the same. One person suggested we resort to type – if I have always used emails I will continue to use emails – despite many people on our courses saying they do not like to receive emails!

So how can you apply this to your projects?

68% of people quizzed have said that project management communications are poor or very poor. As I suggest to those on our project management training courses,

“You can change these figures and underlying impact by developing a realistic communications process”

Why not have a go at the above activity and apply it to one of your projects and let me know how it goes!

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2 Responses to 51 and 3 – two key numbers in project communications

  1. Sounds interesting, but what are the 51 ways? 🙂

    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Eli, thanks for the question. It’s a long list which I may post on the web site sometime. There were some internal software processes; such as software tools which communicated process such as budget reports with interesting vendor names.

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