Research Paper on Strategic Communication in Project Management

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1707 Words
Date:  2022-06-23

Introduction

Strategic communication in project management is vital for a business to succeed. Communication is part of strategic planning since it provides stakeholders of a project with a description of what the objectives, goals, and motivation for any ventureand even a description of how the company will get there. Almost all companies that undertake high value and lengthy projects normally incorporate a strategic communication plan. This process of integration ensures that project goals are prioritized by all the stakeholders who contribute to the project. For instance, projects that are geared towards improving customer service set their mission and the vision in a way that tries to meet the customer requirements. It is through communication that project managers can outline the mission and describe what the project wishes to achieve and this should be communicated to everyone who partakes the project. The goals describe the vision in a specific, measurable, and tangible manner. As such, communication will ensure that they are understood by everybody who is involved in the project implementation process.

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Developing communication strategies in project management needs to focus on what should be implemented in order to achieve the goals. It also requires a thorough evaluation of both internal and external environments. An analysis of the political, social, economic and technological factors helps to identify threats and opportunities. An analysis of the internal environment will help identify the strong points and weak points of the organization. This will enable organizations to come up with strategies that will ensure that customer needs are met in the best way possible.

Contribution of Project Management in the UK

The United Kingdom's economy is among the top five most developed economies in the world and has over a hundred industries in the goods and services sectors. Some of the most vibrant industries are construction, computer and software development, maintenance of process industries, research, administrative, equipment installation, event management, and new project development. These industries combined undertake millions of projects annually, some of which succeed and others fail. Altogether, these projects contribute about 35% of the United Kingdom's GDP annually and this percentage is likely to increase with time as the UK's economy continues to grow. Some projects have so much significance and the impact that they rank among the global top 100 projects on the KPMG Infrastructure 100 league table names, which covers a myriad of categories such as health, education, and transport. In 2015, some significant projects in the transport sector were the HS2, Crossrail, and the Mersey Gateway projects. Technology-based projects included Google UK HQ, Brixton Solar One, Zero Waste: Edinburgh and Midlothian, and the Thames Tideway projects. UWE Bristol Campus expansion was an education-related project, while the Royal London Hospital project was healthcare related. These projects varied widely in their nature, timeframe, budget, sponsors, commissioners, products, and outcomes. However, the common denominator in all of them is that they employed rigorous project management techniques, especially communication. All other projects undertaken in the UK and globally as well as utilize communication as an essential ingredient for success.

Examples of Project Management Communication Tools Available in the UK

Every project in the UK exists in a set of unique circumstances, which dictate the most suitable form of communication. Nonetheless, the goal of communication in project management is the same for all the stakeholders; to facilitate sound decision making. As such, the UK market utilizes a myriad of communication tools dedicated to project managers who desire open communication channels that enable information to flow unhindered across all levels and to all stakeholders. The communication tools are tailored to suit the particular type of communication that the project manager intends to share with the internal and external stakeholders. Most of the team are dedicated to the internal stakeholders although there are adequate tools to communicate with external stakeholders in the UK.

A Project Board

The tool captures the holistic plan, progress, and completion of a project. Ittakes into account the acceptance criteria, thereby enabling team members to communicate about individual tasks. All team members should have access to this tool as it is a window through which one can access the project or assess progress. Clients can also use this tool to evaluate the progress of a project. Popular Project Board brands among UK clients Jira, Trello, and Pivotal Tracker.

A Chat Tool

This tool is highly recommended for dispersed teams that prefer to have short and informal project discussions that do not require to be documented. The tool has a helpful archive feature that stores conversations so that the individuals who were unavailable during the live chats can follow and understand whatever the rest of the team members discussed previously. Both clients and team members use this tool, with the widely available brands in the UK being Slack and HipChat.

Email

Both clients and the project team can hold one on one conversations using emails. Confidential details and sensitive information that do not affect all the team members can be conveyed using emails. Moreover, emails are exemplarily handy for formal communication with stakeholders such as the government, clients, or contractors. Although the method does not facilitate real-time conversations, project stakeholders can use tools like HipChat to have a real-time conversation.

A Discussion Board

This approach to communication suits dispersed project teams that intend to have documented or archived conversations about a project. Basecamp is a widely available Discussion Board too in the UK as many people consider it to be better than email due to its unique ability to make all project stakeholders participate without having to be included. Also, new project members can dig through archived conversations to catch up on what they missed. Many team members use the tool to archive conversations that they held in person by summarizing and documenting discussions or any relevant content.

Weekly Status Reports

These provide formal written documents, which is a good way to archive project-related details. The technique helps the project team to reflect deeply on the progress of the project and identify improvement areas. However, projects that involve more than fifty stakeholders or are relatively big require follow-ups through telephone conversations or in-person meetings with the client and team leaders to provide room for clarification of any pending issues.

Problem Statement

Project management involves dealing with a myriad of moving parts and challenges in preparation to deliver the final product to the end user. This is quite obvious when the statistics surrounding project management point to an extremely high failure rate of 70% for all projects in the UK. These failures cost between PS50 billion to PS150 billion across all industries annually. Out of all the projects that succeed, very few meet the objectives of the project which are schedule, budget, and quality. Some of the projects perform so poorly that they threaten the going concern of the company. These failures often occur because the project managers fail to communicate with and involve the senior managers and other stakeholders of the firm. As such, the project objectives are often unclear and the stakeholders are out of sync leading to a lot of rework, poor quality, unmet deadlines, or disruption of a firm's everyday activities. Only 20% of UK's firms complete their projects to the last requirement and are led by certified project managers. Such high performing firms understand the value of project management while very few low performing industries understand its significance.

The rates of successful projects in the UK are rising steadily as organizations continue to recognize the importance of project management, more so the crucial role that communication plays in improving the success rate. Nonetheless, project managers still face three distinct types of communication problems during the project implementation phase. First, experience offsets introduce communication difficulties when the project team has varying levels of experience. Senior leadership executives or high ranking associates have varying experience levels from entry-level employees. When these two groups of people engage in beneficial conversations, they may leave the meeting with different perspectives of what transpired. The difference exists because communication is more than just transmissions of ideas, plans, and messages. Experiences play a crucial role in the creation and construction of meaning, hence the difference in understanding between new employees and veterans. Secondly, ESL environments create English skill discrepancies especially when the firm engages in national level projects. The UK is a predominantly English speaking nation and as such, employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders may failto establish a basic level of communication for mutual understanding. Thirdly, varying backgrounds create challenges in communication especially when team members have varying training incompetencies. Cross-functional teams often experience this problem whenever they are tasked with a company-wide project. Members from different company niches often struggle to communicate since they are accustomed to jargon that is specific to their area of work. Other factors that may cripple communication are poor interpersonal skills from the project manager/team and a project structure that hampers fluid communication among the stakeholders.

Objectives

Failure to uphold communication during the implementation of a project interferes with many aspects of a project and in extreme cases may threaten the existence of the firm. However, making deliberate and efficient efforts to communicate with a project's internal and stakeholders improves success rates and offers multiple benefits. This study aims to assess the importance of communication in maintaining quality and timely delivery of project activities in the UK project Organization. The specific objectives are listed below:

  • To assess the importance of communication to internal stakeholders of UK-based projects
  • To assess the importance of communication to the external stakeholders of UK-based projects
  • To assess the importance of communication in maintaining the quality of the deliverables in UK-based projects
  • To assess the importance of communication in maintaining the timelines of the deliverables in UK-based projects

Limitations

The researcher utilized secondary research methods, which subjects the research to concerns over the external validity, methodological rigor, and subjectivity. According to (Machi & McEvoy, 2016, p. 12), case studies absolve researchers from methodological considerations because they lack systematic procedures and methodological guidelines. The researcher mitigated this limitation by using the IR theory to clarify and develop methodological techniques and theoretical grounding. Secondly, the research methodology introduces issues of construct validity, which concerns the reliability and replicability of the study. However, this limitation is tied to qualitative research methods h...

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Research Paper on Strategic Communication in Project Management. (2022, Jun 23). Retrieved from https://proessays.net/essays/research-paper-on-strategic-communication-in-project-management

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