The Project Manager “Speaks” - Effective Communication

As a Project Manager (PM) in any context one is expected to fulfill a range of roles -leader, facilitator, marketer, problem solver, task master and advocate, to name a few. However throughout the life of the project the focus may shift as the PM leads the team in order to meet the principle deliverables. One is expected as the Project Manager to bring together the definition of the project from the gathering and consolidating of information on what the project is supposed to accomplish, to clearly and explicitly identifying the deliverables, creating a plan for the project and executing that plan to get to the end goal. Throughout as Project Manager one must communicate the plan to executives and other stakeholders for their agreement and support, including sourcing resources needed to achieve the planned objectives.

The project manager in his/her function does more than just monitoring, he/she must "anticipate"-actively look for new risks, look for ways to make everyone's work easier, and look for obstacles to overcome. As the team does all the work outlined in the plan-the manager surveys the progress on the plan and makes determinations on whether the project is meeting its overall objectives. The Project Manager therefore must seek to address issues as they come up, and let the project sponsor and all the stakeholders know how things are going. Consequently, one of the most challenging and critical roles of a good Project Manager is as Communications Manager.

The Project Management Professional Course, which certifies its achievers as among the highest order of professionals, and through which a few Saint Lucians have now gained the credentials as a "PMP", seeks to speak volumes to the levels of professionalism expected.  Noteworthy, is the fact that, the Standard against which one is assessed insists that the role of Communicator is one of the primary skills that a Project Management Professional (PMP) should possess. Surely it stands to reason that as Project Manager one must ensure that all of the right people are kept informed during the project in as timely and concise a manner as possible; that the right information is disseminated and the form of presentation ensures that every stakeholder is clear on the message being disseminated i.e. that the perception, interpretation and comprehension of the information is as the sender intended it to be received.

To do this, one needs to put in place a clear communications process. "The Communications Management Process is the method by which formal messages are identified, created, reviewed and communicated within a project."  Clear, accurate and timely communication is critical to the success of any project, as miscommunication can result in increased project risk.

Therein lies the how to get this done. Regardless of the type of media used there are essentially six (6) steps to be applied in effective communication.  These are as follows: (i) identify the messages to be disseminated clearly in the communications plan; (ii) identify the audience - to whom the messages must be sent, (iii) know the value of timing in the dissemination of messages as well as the frequency with which they are sent, (iv) consider the format of the communications message, whether informal or formal, verbal or written (note: that the speed of the electronic age makes the options even greater); (v) create the document - in doing so keep records of the developmental stages (drafts to final document) and (vi) lastly, distribute  the communication message - but a word of caution - do ensure the appropriate approvals are sought and obtained before doing so. As a Project Manager one will find that where there are critical risks and issues that are likely to emerge, one should seek approvals from the appropriate stakeholders, whether project sponsors, control boards or significant others.

Essentially, ensure the right people receive the right message at the right time, and always seek confirmations of receipt. Therefore if one communicates properly, the right stakeholders will receive the right information at the right time, enabling them to make well-informed decisions about the project at hand. 

The Small Enterprise Development Unit within the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Consumer Affairs has designed a programme  with the objective to assist participants understand the Project Management Institute (PMI) standard for  project management and facilitate preparation for PMI's PMP certification exam.

For more information on the PMP programme (which is due to recommence August 26, 2009), please contact the Small Enterprise Development Unit (SEDU), 4th Floor Heraldine Rock, Building, Waterfront, Castries; telephone 468-4223 or 453-2891; fax 453-7347;


Submitted by:

Roycelyn St. Hill Howell


Editted by:

Perle Alcindor

Business Development Officers of SEDU


Recent Downloads