Part2 : Expanding Project Communication Toolbox
Once you’ve established a foundation for project communication using a project plan, team contact sheet and status meetings, expand your communication plan using more complex tools such as a RACI matrix and online share, then follow it all up with detailed meeting notes.
RACI stands for: Responsible, Accountable, Consulted and Informed. The RACI matrix is a necessary evil during project communication. Much like the organizational chart, the RACI will outline where everyone fits in the hierarchy of the project.
The RACI assigns who is actually Responsible (the person doing the work on the ground) Accountable (the person who oversees the responsible party and who ultimately takes ownership for that persons work) Consulted (the people who will review and approve the work) and Informed (team members involved in the project and who should see the work but will not have approval authority) for work done and completed during a project. It also protects the project manager from people attempting to make decisions who only need to be informed. Work with stakeholders and key team leaders about who fits where in the RACI.
FTP or Online Share
Because there are so many documents shared throughout a project lifecycle, you’ll want to create a central location where all these documents can be shared, stored and archived. You’ll save yourself hours of searching for past documents by setting up this central system and providing access to all team members and stakeholders. Your company can probably set you up with an FTP account on their servers or if you’re independent, there are plenty of online file sharing programs that provide high security and flexible usability.
Follow up with each status, team review and client meeting with meeting notes. Use short, concise, bulleted details of what was discussed and clear next steps. Print out each meeting note and keep it in a project binder in order to keep track of decisions made along the way. Even if you have a casual conversation in the hallway about a project, make sure to summarize and distribute to the team.
Your Expanded Toolbox
If the project team is unclear about their responsibilities, next steps or ultimate deliverables, you are bound to have confusion and run aground. But with a solid communication plan and documents for back up, you are sure to succeed. Keep an open door policy and always listen to team members’ concerns about the project. You might not always be able to address each one. However, you’ll gain respect from the team by listening and communicating which can only help your project run seamlessly.