Practice Exams:

PMI PMP Project Management Professional – Introducing Project Communications Management Part 2

  1. Interpersonal and Team Styles assessment

In the Pmbox Guide Six edition, there are a couple of concepts you need to know about when it comes to an interpersonal and team styles assessment. It’s just a way of assessing the communications, what’s the most appropriate communications, and then thinking about your stakeholders and how you’ll communicate with stakeholders, holders that are opposed to your project or they are in favor of your project. So, let’s look at this. First off, communication styles assessment. Basically just doing an assessment of what’s the best communication style, written, verbal, oral, a text message, what have you, for different scenarios in your project. So we identify what’s the preferred communication method with our stakeholders, so what’s the preferred format and then what’s expected. So like on a status report, what are the things you have to report on?

Like your KPIs or a Rag rating? Red, amber, green, something like that for your project? Now, with unsupportive stakeholders, we can also do a styles assessment. This gets into a little bit what we see in Chapter 13 of the Pmbox about some stakeholder engagement assessment. So what we’re looking at here is how engaged our stakeholders, what’s their current level of engagement and what do we want their desired level of engagement to be so that’s accomplished through good communication, we can identify gaps in stakeholder engagement, so current and desired. And then in order to get to that desired, we may have to have some additional tailoring when it comes to communication.

So you may have some stakeholders that they want very specific information or more frequent information. So we could tailor our approach for those unsupportive stakeholders because the goal is to get people to be supportive of our project. Some other things here to know about interpersonal and team style assessments, political awareness can be assessed. This helps the project manager to understand where the powers are in the organization and to plan communications. In light of those powers. I want to consider the project environment. Is this project generally liked?

Are people very apprehensive about the project? What’s the political landscape and who are the different players that are touched by your project? So I think about the political environment and the project environment and how that affects how I communicate. That may require more formal communication than some of that informal and being very concise and very direct with the messaging. The political awareness, though, it really can affect the management and the communication. So we want to be aware of the power relationships among the stakeholders, the willingness that people have to operate within the structure. You think about, do you understand the political capital? Do you understand all the moving parts? Often we don’t as project managers, often our focus is over here on getting the thing done, but other people’s focus is all over here on the politics and some of those personal agendas.

So I need to know who wields the power and who can influence the project. And I want to have the ability to communicate with all stakeholders. Just because someone has a lot of authority or a lot of politics going on doesn’t mean I ignore them, that I still have to communicate with them. But how I communicate, I want to be more concise and more direct and aware of how the politics may have an effect on me and on the project. So I’m nicely trying to say how you communicate to someone that has a lot of political power and may not be in favor of your project. You want to think that out and plan accordingly, and maybe you need some help with that type of communication. Also, I want to think about the cultural awareness.

So you think about the culture where people and groups and organizations come from. If we don’t understand each other’s culture, you may have some misunderstandings that you didn’t intend to offend someone, but it still happened. So educating yourself and being cautious in what we say and really thinking about what we’re communicating, but also really learning about the cultures that are involved in the project is important that we want to respect one another. Both the project manager and the stakeholder are generally on the same side sometimes, but generally we’re on the same side of the equation, that we want this thing to be successful.

So you want to use caution and be aware of other culture and be a good communicator, an effective communicator, and respect one another. And I know all of you are there. No one sets out to purposely offend someone just because. So I want to use caution, though, that I don’t allow that to happen on accident or by not understanding the other countries, the other cultures, other countries may be there, but you could have cultures even within one country, right? You might even have cultural differences in your stakeholder community. So you have stakeholders communicating with one another. So again, as a project manager, cultural awareness, having some cultural sensitive activity, and then I plan for those cultural differences. So I have to educate myself and acknowledge these differences and be respectful of the different differences in the project. All right, good job. Keep moving forward.

  1. Data Representation

Throughout our time together, we have seen work performance information and work performance data and work performance reports. Well, this is data representation. Recall that we have work performance data, raw data, we analyze it to make useful decisions and then from that we now now create our reports. So report means it’s communicatable information that we are providing status or information about the project.

So sometimes in our status report you might give a cumulative cost, the budget. Where are we on scope? I’m a big fan of doing a Rag rating. I always like my status report. So I have my key performance indicators, time, cost, scope, a quality or a key deliverable. And I can just put a little box next to it where if red is bad, we aren’t doing great, yellow, there’s something bad happening here, a little caution and then green is we’re okay, keep moving forward so the stakeholders can just open that they see all green and then they don’t have to read the whole thing. So it’s a quick way I can visualize the information and then I might also report about the schedule. The goal of the status report is to tell the story, but we don’t have to have a long narrative to tell the story. Quick concise headings bullet Points rag rating perfect. Status report the Stakeholder engagement matrix. I’ve talked about this a couple of times. So this is what it looks like.

You have your different stakeholders and then remember, we have those different categories of stakeholders. We probably don’t remember that we’ve not talked about it yet. That’s coming up in module 13 in the Pmbox. So you’re ahead of the curve now. Stakeholders are unaware, they’re resistant, they’re neutral, they’re supportive or leading. So we want stakeholders to be over on the right side of this matrix. We want supportive and leading. If they’re over here on the left, that’s no good, that’s no good for us. So an engagement matrix is a way to say here’s their current engagement, like unaware or resistant, not very good. And then we want to be over at the right is our desired. So it’s kind of a goal and it helps with stakeholder engagement planning, which we’ll see in 13th. So Pmbox guide, chapter 13 and chapter ten are very closely, so you’re a little bit ahead of the curve there now for Stakeholder engagement.

  1. Creating Successful Communications

You know, communication is paramount in project management. So to create successful communications, we have to think about what would make that communication successful. What’s its point that we’re trying to deliver? What’s the best modality? So we think about what’s the most common way to communicate. Verbal communication. And it’s also the most effective is facetoface. So we want to be able to communicate successfully, we need verbal communication and facetoface communication. We have to remember, though, that half of communicating is listening. I always like to say that God gave us two ears and one mouth. So you listen twice as much as you talk, right? So verbal communication is really important. We want to confirm that the receiver has the message and they understand the message.

So the body language, if someone looks puzzled, they don’t get it. So we want clarity. How can I help you? Or what’s whatever this point is. Let me go over that again. So you pick up on body language feedback. You want stakeholders just to say, I don’t get it. Communicate this better to me. So we want to confirm that the receiver understands the message.

So their body language, if they look confused or sad or upset, pick up on that and that helps you communicate and make sure they understand the message or get feedback from them. Ask for feedback. Do you need clarity or is at this point that you’re stuck on or don’t understand? So you have to look at people and be able to read their body language. And then verbal confirmation. This isn’t always a good feedback, you could say, so what do you think about how we’re going to install that printer? And so that makes them explain it a closed in question. Doesn’t really have them explain it in good verbal confirmation that they understand. Creating sensible communication also has three characteristics. Here we have parilingual.

Parilingual means above and beyond the linguistics. So things like your pitch and your tone and your inflections. So how you say something affects the meaning nice shirt or nice shirt? So how you say it affects your intent and your meaning. And understanding the feedback is where the sender confirms the receiver understands the message. So what do you think about how we’re going to install those printers? Or what do you think about this material being late to your job site?

So I’m asking for feedback. Not just the feedback, but I’m soliciting feedback. I want you to be involved in the conversation because that helps me know that you know what I’m talking about. Active listening is where we paraphrase what’s been said and we have a confirmation that you understand what I’m talking about. Three other terms. I’m sorry, I can’t count two other terms. We have effective listening and nonverbal. Effective listening is where I pay attention to visual clues and I understand based on body language and the parilingual characteristics.

And I ask relevant questions that that helps me to really understand the message and the intent of the message. So do you ever have someone come to your office and they’re saying, so tell me, do we really need to understand or we really need to install this particular printer by the weekend? And you’re like, Why are you asking that question? Because their intent is, oh, you don’t need it by the weekend, but which weekend? Or I don’t have to install it this week, or whatever the case may be. So it’s what’s the underlying meaning here? And so I really understand what they’re getting at. Nonverbal, of course, are nonverbal communications. Your facial expression, your gestures, your body language, that all affects the communication message.

  1. Creating the Communications Plan

Now let’s talk about creating the communications plan. Communication is required by stakeholders, so we want to know what’s to be communicated, what format should that message be in? What’s the expectations of the message? How much detail or depth are you required to provide? How will information flow through the project? How do people give you information and then how will you give information to others? Thank you very much. What’s the modality and how will you secure that email or a piece of paper or access to your website? What methods are you allowed to use? So maybe you can’t use a text message, maybe you have to do email or keep everything inside of your PMIs. Your project management information system, what’s your schedule of communications?

So, status reports, status meetings, are you on a regular cadence when you communicate? Also, in creating the communications management plan, how do you escalate issues? So what’s the time frame and when should you escalate?

How will you retrieve information? So your knowledge management, how will the plan be updated? Will you baseline the communications management plan? So you have to have formal change control to update the plan? That’s up to you. That’s up to your enterprise. Environmental factors. How will communication flow? And would a flow chart be appropriate?

Especially in a very large project where the public is involved or government officials aren’t involved? So that may not go through you. It may go through a different department or a spokesperson for your company. What are your communication constraints and should you have a project glossary to explain the different terminology? So, all considerations for creating your communications plan.

  1. Managing Project Communications

Of course, throughout your project, you’ll also manage project communications. This means that you’re gathering project information and you are distributing information, working with those different stakeholders, archiving any communication you have, giving an actual distribution of the information and then the proper stakeholders get the appropriate information at the right time. Let’s look at our EDOs for managing project communications.

Our project management plan, like the resource management plan, the communications management plan and the stakeholder engagement plan. Project documents like the change log, the issue log, lessons learned. Quality reports, risk reports, the stakeholder register. You’ll also use work performance reports to manage communications. This is an input and EEF and OPA tools and techniques here to manage communication. Communication technology, methods and skills.

Now skills, we’re talking about communications competence, the ability to communicate and to communicate well and accurately and with precision feedback. Nonverbal communications presentations, your PMIs, interpersonal and team skills like active listening, conflict management, cultural awareness, meeting management, networking, political awareness and meetings. My outputs will be project communications, the project management plan updates, communications management plan updates and the stakeholder engagement plan.

Project document updates. Here the issue log, lessons learned, the schedule, the register for risk and the register for stakeholders and OPA updates. So what does it mean to do communications management? Well, we’re talking about being effective when we communicate. Talking about having the right sender receiver model and working with stakeholders and working with the team to communicate to the right people at the right time. Choosing the right media, emails, text, a report, presentation, a website like a pool, communication, having appropriate writing style.

 Meeting management is part of communications management. We know how important that is. Giving presentations and giving a good facilitation of meetings, being a facilitator and active listening. Some tools for communication management. Think about the technology that we all use. The agreed upon technology, the different methods you can communicate, the skills it takes to communicate, being able to communicate. Remember those five C’s we talked about earlier in this section? Offering feedback and receiving feedback, paying attention.

The nonverbal communication and your project management information system can help as well. A few other tools project reporting, interpersonal and team skills. We’ve seen that a lot. And of course, meeting management. No one wants to go to a meeting. That’s a wot eating. All right, great job. Way to finish this concept here about communications management. I’ll see you in the next lecture.

  1. Monitoring Communications

When we talk about monitoring communications, you’re ensuring that everyone is participating in communication as required. You ensure that you and the project team are following your communications management plan. So you’re concerned about the quality of communications and how do you daily communicate caked and with whom then how effective is that communication? And keeping in mind who needs to be informed? So it’s not just a blanket of communication, but having a specific approach to the right stakeholders based on the information you need to share. Then how is that information packaged, delivered and protected so that’s all part of monitoring communications are eddo for monitoring communications? Your project management plan.

Specifically, the communications management plan, the stakeholder engagement plan. Project documents like the issue log. The lessons learned register and project communications work performance data and EEF and OPA tools and techniques expert judgment the PMIs data analysis like the Stakeholder Engagement Matrix interpersonal and team skills like observation and conversation and meetings. My outputs will be work performance information change requests could come out of monitoring communications project management plan updates to your communications management plan and the Stakeholder Engagement plan. You might have updates to project documents like the issue log, lessons learned register and the Stakeholder Register some facets of monitoring communication. You might do customer satisfaction surveys.

How satisfied are you about the news and the project or how you’re being communicated? How can we improve upon that? Lessons learned opportunities here to improve upon our communication observations of the team. So what do they see as communication downfalls or weaknesses? Or what are you doing really well? Reviewing data from the issue log and then the Stakeholder Engagement Assessment matrix. Remember that’s that table where are you now and where do you want to end up? So current and desired. So hopefully our communications are helping move people closer and closer to our desired level of engagement. There are some OPA factors when it comes to communication. Things like your corporate policies may control how you communicate, like social media may be out organizational communication requirements.

You have particular forms that you have to use. You may have to follow the development, exchange, storage and retrieval processes that every project follows. Like if you’re part of a PMO where there’s a governance for communications management approach. What about historical information? The lessons learned? How do you store and archive that in stakeholder communications data and any information from previous projects are part of OPA. So what you do now, the communication you have now is future historical information. Project performance. We’re probably going to be talking about earn value management in light of your exam in your projects, you may not use EVM most stakeholders when they’re interested in performance though it’s these five biggies cost schedule, risk issues and quality.

So how are you doing in the project on cost schedule, risk issues and quality? When we have earned value management, we may be creating some performance reports to communicate on our cost variance, our schedule variants, our indexes predictions of where we’re going to be in the project or just overall health of the project. So doing some forecasting, and that can cause some change. Request or recommended corrective actions. All right, great job here in talking about communication and talking about managing communications and controlling communications.

  1. Section Wrap: Project Communications Management

You’re making great progress as you work towards earning the PMP. I think it’s really important to check in every now and then on yourself. How are you doing? You’re getting tired, you’re getting worn down? Are you getting more and more excited about passing the PMP? You’re beginning to see the possibility that this is is something that you can achieve? Or have you already established that that you can do this and you know you can do it and you’re going to get it done. So wherever you are in your progress to earning the PMP, I think it’s important to periodically have a reality check. We don’t want to be overconfident and ease up on our studying efforts. And we also don’t want to have so much anxiety that we’re trying to study everything that’s out there in the world on the PMP.

We want to keep a methodical approach, much like we do in project management, a methodical approach to getting the work done that, yes, there’s a sense of urgency and yes, this is a difficult thing to do, but we know by moving to the material, to methodical approach and sticking with it, having perseverance and dedication, you can get this done. So keep after it, keep doing what you’re doing, stay invested in the course, keep learning your terms and have that PMA, that positive mental attitude that you can do this. Great job. Finishing this section on project communications management. We talked about a lot of things in this section that are important for your PMP exam and for you as a project manager. We looked at the big picture of communications management, the communications model. We talked about how does communications work in a predictive versus an agile environment.

So what are some considerations there and some trends that are happening in communications management? We created a communications management plan which helps us to distribute information to manage the access to the communication. And it really answers some questions like who needs what information, when do they need it, and what modality? Who has access to that information? What about communicating with the public? So questions like that are in the communications management plan, which will affect how do we distribute the information. We looked at creating successful communications.

Well, what does that mean? How do we know the communication is successful and what constitutes success? We also talked about managing communications in our project, that we want to make certain that we have a clear line of communication and that people understand who communicates with whom being available and having a good grasp on the amount of knowledge and information that’s going to be created in our project. Okay, great job finishing this section on project communications management. Let’s keep moving forward. So next we’re going to talk about project risk management. So something to look forward to. I’ll see you in the next section.