We cannot communicate – it’s hopeless

CommunicateNot my words but the words of someone on one of our project management courses. It sounds pretty desperate doesn’t it? Well for this person, it was and for the project team and the company.

I will not go into the details of this particular project but will use it to highlight the ever growing issues that arise on our courses: poor project communications.

My company, Project Agency has conducted its own research and stats show that almost 68% of project managers believe project communications are poor or very poor.

A simple activity designed to develop more robust communications charts

The interesting point is that when I ask what they intend to do about the stats to improve them, they seem bereft of ideas. I also point out that no matter what the company culture is you are directly responsible for ensuring you communicate with your stakeholders. Now I realise it is all too easy for me to say – you should be doing this or that. So I developed a simple activity for groups to look at effective communications

Stage I: Identify as many practical ways of communicating in your company. I then list them

Stage II: Using a case study I have created, develop a communications plan but using only the identified ways to communicate

When following with Stage II very few of the suggestions from Stage I are chosen. They chose 3 or 4 from a long list of approaches. In fact, as one person suggested, despite the list they produce, they limit the ideas to the ones that are ‘tried and tested’ – which are not working for them.

I suggest that they need to combine many different approaches to communicate effectively. To choose the standard email, phone, meetings does not work (linking this back to the stats). I do emphasise what is chosen must meet the specific needs of the differing stakeholders.

How about using internal communications experts?

Interestingly, I have had many people who are internal communications experts on our courses. I usually ask them the following:

“How would you feel if approached by a project manager asking for some help and support in putting together a communications plan?”

It need not be hopeless. Project communications is clearly not as good as it should be, the stats show this. Now, what works for you? Why not send in your ideas so that we can all benefit?

Whatever you do, please do examine how effective your project communications are. Perhaps ask a few stakeholders. I am sure you will get some feedback!



Image Courtesy of www.freedigitalphotos.net Stuart Miles ID 10086608

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4 Responses to We cannot communicate – it’s hopeless

  1. Pingback: We cannot communicate – it’s hopeless | #PMChat

  2. Ian Cribbes says:


    Great article. I have just posted something similar on my LinkedIn page.



  3. Steve says:

    HI Ron,

    Communication management is vital for any organization irrespective of its size. It contributes to achieving the company’s overall objectives as well as creates a positive and friendly environment.

    An effective communication process within the organization will lead to an increase in profits, high employee satisfaction, and brand recognition.



    • Ron Rosenhead says:

      Thanks you so much for the response Steve. MY apologies for the really late response – you were lodged deep among the spam however you have been rescued.

      I was running a project management programme for the last 2 days and suggested that for some people who are engaged in large projects that they should be appointing a person to manage communications – ensure there is a comms strategy, ensure it is activated, check it is being effective (develop some numbers around communications especially outcomes). My experience shows that not enough time, energy, thought is given to this very important topic. One final thought; if you are involved in a major change project, how are you going to get people on boars with support if you do not have effective communications?

      Thanks again Steve.

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