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Over / Under Communication for Project Managers

It is often said that you can't over-communicate , but I'm willing to bet most folks - and especially your project sponsors - underestimate the cost and effort of this critical component of project management. Consider this fair warning - and a good checklist for folks wanting to get into IT, project, or functional management.

Media

To achieve any decent amount of success, you have to be a good communicator with both face-to-face and written / published media.

And by "good" I mean both "comfortable" and "effective". You should feel good in your own skin, confident that you can carry a conversation at all levels of an organization. And you also have to be an effective communicator - able to get your point across with the right amount of detail, not too much or too little. Another effectiveness challenge is the ability to balance between personalized, one-on-one written & oral communication, and insightful, understandable mass communication.

Translations

You may not realize how many different "languages" you speak - and effective managers must be reasonably fluent ...
Change Management

Volumes have been written on this topic, but most people have trouble coming up with a concise definition of what this means. To oversimplify - but drive right to point: change management is typically about delivering "bad news".

However, "bad" can mean different things. It can be "disappointment": the date will slip, we're over budget, or we can't fit this feature request into the schedule. However, adjusting expectations as early as possible is one of the basic skills of a good project manager. You need to be willing to deliver bad news like this as early as possible.

The other significant area of "bad" - walking into an organization, a group of people, or a individual's cube, and letting them know that the way they have been doing things for years is about to change. Sure, it's easy to say that "change is hard" and "change is inevitable", but you yourself probably don't like change in your established rituals. Empathy is the key here.

Lessons Learned

As with many other things, the more project communication you do, the better you get. Some of the more common lessons learned:
Here's the killer -
Machines will never replace us - but this is one case where sometimes, you might wish they could.