Communication is the crucial factor that can lead to success or failure of a Horizon Europe project. So, how do you turn routine Horizon Europe project communication management from updates, tracking, and requests into communication that informs, inspires, and meets the needs of your teams, partners, and stakeholders?
First of all, ensure that all partners and teams are aligned on project goals and expectations, as well as identify and target key project management areas that require communication management. These can include:
- Internal exchange: Decision making, discussions about tasks, meetings, etc.
- Information management: Sharing updates, reports, and relevant information about the project to appropriate team members and partners
- Project dissemination and exploitation: Publicly disclosing the project results, using project results in further research activities, etc.
In this article, we talk about the first two areas and give expert tips on developing successful strategies for managing the exchange and flow of information throughout the project life-cycle.
Project teams are in constant communication with each other throughout the project. The chances of achieving project goals in every project phase increase when a project manager has a successful strategy for managing the flow of information. The role of project managers is to have and implement a strategy for routinely sharing information and communicating the needs of the project to team members. A communication strategy should be developed during the planning stages of a project.
The most important questions to ask yourself when creating your communication strategy are:
- Who needs to communicate with whom? (team members, partners, etc.)
- How frequently do these people need to communicate? (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.)
- What kind of communication would work best for these people/situations? (calls, meetings, reports, etc.)
The answers to these questions will be key in helping you to develop a general communication plan. Once in place, your general communication plan can be further updated and adjusted to meet any upcoming project needs.
A successful project manager is above all an excellent communicator. Developing a strategy is only part of the road to success. It’s also important to be present, readily available, and engaged with everyone on the project. Understanding the teams’ roles, challenges, and achievements will allow you to set the proper tone of communication for the entire project team; including various partners. Here’s our tips and tricks on how to lead and mobilize a project effectively.
Top communication skills and habits used by successful project managers
Set transparent project expectations
Successful project leadership requires clear communication with teams and partners about goals, responsibilities, deliverables, milestones, etc. By communicating in a clear, concise, and transparent manner you’ll save time for everyone (including yourself) and avoid redundancy.
The best way to do this is to make sure your team and your partners fully understand the goals and objectives of the project from the outset. Before diving into the project have a preliminary meeting to establish a common project vision, timeline, and objectives. This will make it easier to then break down the project with every team member and partner so they can understand what part they play.
Stick to conducting only necessary meetings
While meetings can be highly effective, they can also be a waste of time if they’re giving the wrong information to the wrong people. It’s vital to plan your meetings in accordance with your project needs. Consider if your project really needs daily/weekly status meetings – switching to only need based meetings may benefit your project workflow.
Tip: Prepare an agenda for each meeting and ask people to be prepared to discuss agenda items. Carefully consider who really needs to be involved and encourage the participants to voice their ideas and concerns in order to achieve effective and productive dialogue.
Ask relevant questions and listen attentively
Miscommunication and misunderstandings can negatively affect the performance of your project. Don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions and for clarification. Successful project managers are inquisitive. The more you know about the workflow within your project, the easier it is for you to successfully manage it and deliver quality results on time.
Show everyone respect
All project members bring intrinsic value to the project regardless of their role, position in the organisation, or their status in EU partnerships. It’s vital that all participants are given the space and freedom to communicate their thoughts, opinions, and concerns without having to fear consequences or ridicule. This same respect needs to be considered when scheduling project activities. It’s important to consider the time pressures and sometimes competing responsibilities of team members. Project teams will only remain strong if they have mutual respect for each other.
Keep everyone in the loop
As a project manager it can be easy to forget that not everyone has the same knowledge about what’s happening in the project. Sending monthly, weekly, or even daily project updates will ensure that all project members are informed and up-to-date. In this case, the medium is as important as the message. Choosing the right communication and collaboration tools will assist you in creating efficient communication loops that support the information flow within your project teams.
Get everyone on the same page by using effective communication tools
Face-to-face communication wasn’t always possible with collaborative projects, even prior to COVID-19. With so many different forms of communication like: email, phone calls, Google Docs, Skype, Zoom, etc. it’s easy to miss out on vital information, forget logins, and have difficulties remembering what was shared where. Having information spread across so many platforms leads to a loss of project efficiency and distracted partners.
Choosing the right set of communication tools can enrich a project and prevent team members from drowning in a flow of endless (and sometimes irrelevant) information.
Tip: Consider the organisational and geographical diversity of project teams and partners when choosing communication tools and pick one that allows you, your partners, and teams to have and store important conversations and documents in a single location.
Improve communication within your project teams and partners in 4 simple steps
1. Create an open, simple, and intuitive collaborative environment by choosing all-in-one communication solutions
The most common problem, in all phases of a project life-cycle, is a lack of effective communication. Successful project managers remove boundaries and employ methods that make it easy for teams and partners to access and share relevant information.
Using proven project management software, such as EMDESK, allows project managers to give their teams and partners a central hub for communication and information. EMDESK’s intuitive features and tools offer essential communication mediums, such as chat, audio/video calls, an access leveled document repository, screen sharing, direct commenting, etc. in a single location.
This centralized real-time project management platform allows everyone to immediately get up to speed regardless of their location and without unnecessary conversations. It stops the cycle of endless emails and irrelevant updates; giving leveled access to key information and creating seamless communication that’ll keep your project track.
Bonus: With EMDESK, you and/or other project members can reference project data, view/browse chat history, or catch up on what happened in the project during holidays, etc. with just a few clicks. Everything is saved in one place and you can easily access the previous data, giving you and your partners and team members peace of mind.