Stressed When Communicating With Management and Customers? No More!

These words are worth repeating: "Successful projects meet stakeholder expectations."

Communicating with management and customers plays an important part in project success.

These words are worth repeating: “Successful projects meet stakeholder expectations.” This mantra for project managers bears repeating, with this addendum: Of all the stakeholders to satisfy, customers and management top the list. The communication plan should detail the strategy not only for informing these stakeholders, but for actively managing their expectations as well.

Communicating with management techniques

Recall that when formulating the communication plan, the project manager needs to ask certain questions about communicating with management and customers.

  • Who needs information and why?
  • What type of information will they need, in what detail, and how frequently?
  • When you communicate with customers and management, what will your goal be and what medium will best accomplish that?

Answering these questions will help you to manage the expectations of these important stakeholders as well as
obtain timely decisions from them.

Confronting the Facts

The best way to communicate difficulties to customers and managers is simply to present them with facts. When projects are late or over budget, the sooner the problem is acknowledged the easier it will be to solve. Putting off the bad news is rarely good for you or your project. The impact of the bad news is likely to grow and damage your credibility.

Control Documents

Intermediate deliverables as essential products produced during the project may not be part of the final product. These intermediate products vary from industry to industry—software development requires a list of product functions and features, while residential construction requires a list of the carpets, kitchen appliances, and other materials selected by the home owner, design documents such as blueprints are another example.

Intermediate products such as these are both a record of decisions and a basis for action. Plumbers, electricians, and carpenters, for instance, carry out the engineering decisions represented on a blueprint. Therefore, it is critical that these documents be kept accurate and up to date, because they represent the series of decisions that lead up to the final product.

They are called control documents because they are tools to maintain control over the product and project.

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