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Posted by on Dec 5, 2013

99 Problems But a Communications Plan Ain’t One

hearAs we near the end of 2013 and (hopefully) the end of “Obamacare-gate,” Feds and contractors alike need to get a jump on improving the management and collaborative work of these large-scale IT projects we’re expecting more of in 2014 and the years to come. 

A good place to start? Let’s communicate better.

In a previous blog, I noted the New York Times wrote about communication issues between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and its prime contractor, which failed at effectively communicating all requirements of the Heathcare.gov project lifecycle.  In the PM Answer Book, we note the importance of a communications management plan, which combats this problem.

As the program or project lead, here are just a few key questions to ask yourself when thinking you DON’T need a communications management plan:

  1. Did one of your team members send information he or she shouldn’t have to a customer?
  2. Have two of your stakeholders ever come to a meeting with different versions of the (extremely important and vital to success) project plan or schedule?
  3. Did you ever find out (too late) that a customer felt they were receiving too infrequent project updates (Here’s looking at you, Healthcare.gov)?

So, as the Washington Post’s Capital Business recently asked – are leaders born or built?  Writer Clawson argues leaders are teachable – I think so too.  In fact, our Leadership and Communication Skills for Project Managers course equips you with techniques to apply to your upcoming projects, such as:

  • Defining and communicating project vision
  • Holding yourself and others accountable
  • Problem solving
  • Decision making
  • Conflict management and negotiation
  • The use of influence and power
  • Building partnerships
  • The role of creativity and innovation in projects

What kinds of communication skills have made you a successful leader?  How has a communications management plan helped you successfully complete your project?  Do you think good leaders are born or built?

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