Project communication: communication with teams at home and offshore presented at Project Challenge 2014

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Information about Project communication: communication with teams at home and offshore...
Business & Mgmt

Published on March 14, 2014

Author: AnnPilkington



Spoke at Project Challenge 2014 with APM People SIG chair Russel Jamieson. Tips on communication with project teams at home and offshore. What can project managers learn from the world of PR and employee engagement?

Communications - Local and Offshore Ann Pilkington and Russel Jamieson APM People SIG Project Challenge March 2014

A Quick Introduction - Russel  20+ years PM experience, primarily in – Financial Services – Telecommunications  APM People Specific Interest Group (SIG) Chair  APM Wessex Branch Committee  APM Nominations Committee  APM National Awards Committee Deputy Chair  Registered Project Professional (RPP)  Fellow of APM (FAPM)  PRINCE2, MSP and AIM Practitioner  Winning mentor last 2 years for Student PM Challenge!  Manchester United member (suffering badly this season )  Appeared on Page 3 of The Sun…No, alongside!  Quoted in Sunday Times editorial…Interesting!  Yes…I have project managed a failed project…Or have I? Twitter

Examples of Where (Overseas) United States of America Malaysia India South Africa

Quick Wins • Email signatures and „Directory‟ entries • Full job title • Office address • Landline number • Mobile number • „Golden‟ Hours • Common times, if any, when employees across time zones are available together • Politely ask ALL teams to only take breaks when they fall outside of the 'golden‟ hours to maximise available time together

Quick Wins • Always quote the same customers time zone e.g. UK – USA – AUSTRALIA… • Email content • DO provide full details of what you want and why • DO provide business justification • DO provide all references and key contact you have been speaking to • DO ensure „subject‟ reflects the contents e.g. Release AK – Story ABCDE–12345 • DO NOT rely on people figuring it out from a massive mail chain you have forwarded • DO NOT email if you can talk – it‟s good to talk!

Quick Wins - Understand  When „Yes‟ could mean „Yes‟, „No‟ or even „Maybe‟  Ethnic Group  Religion  Language  Handshake  Presentation of Business Card  Concept of Face  Do‟s and Don'ts  Names  Official Titles  Useful Phrases  Useful Websites

Costs – Offshore versus Onshore 

A Quick Introduction - Ann  PR and communication – more than 25 years – agh!  Journalist, PR, internal communicator  Now project communication specialist and trainer  Author of „Communicating Projects‟ published by Gower  Founder and Director of PR Academy – training in PR and communication  Deliver PM for PR course  Designed and about to launch course in project communication  Worked at programme level on major central Government change initiatives: ERP and shared services Twitter @AcademyAnn

Communication and employee engagement. How can they help your project?

Passengers must carry dogs on escalators Customer information

What is communication?

The response you get back

The biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has been accomplished George Bernard Shaw

Engagement: a definition MacLeod and Clarke conclude that “we believe it is most helpful to see employee engagement as a workplace approach designed to ensure that employees are committed to their organisation‟s goals and values, motivated to contribute to organisational success, and are able at the same time to enhance their own sense of well-being” (italics added).

COMMUNICATION Engagement ENGAGING MANAGERS Facilitate and empower. VOICE views are sought out; people see that their opinions count. INTEGRITY Behaviour is consistent with stated values. MacLeod and Clarke (2009) Engaging for Success LEADERSHIP Provides a strong strategic narrative.

Feeling really well informed. Professional Timely, clear, accurate, pertinent, consistent, sincere, concise, business-like. Reinforces believable values and narrative. Propaganda Content is biased and does not reflect reality. Reinforced by managers who show commitment to the project

Upward feedback Advanced Based on people feeling well informed in the first place, face to face, actions taken as a result or reasons why action not taken provided. Basic Surveys, suggestion schemes, email boxes. Reinforced by managers who are open to critical feedback.

Engagement: the challenges for projects Don‟t mess with my scope! Having enough time Having a framework – who is going to make it happen?

Adapted from Harkins, P. 1999 Powerful Conversations: How high impact leaders communicate. McGraw Hill The Say Do Matrix

Achieving engagement  It doesn‟t happen by itself – you need a structure  Managers facilitate conversations – they don‟t have to sell, sell, sell  If you aren‟t going to act on feedback, best not to invite it  Co-ordinate centrally, but deliver and act locally  Culture check – but don‟t assume that people don‟t want to be asked

Some final thoughts….  Be clear about the role of communication – it isn‟t a substitute for good governance or line management.  Importantly, communication can‟t make sense of something nonsensical.  Sometimes the problem is with the solution being implemented and communicators need to be able to recognise this and push back when the expectation is on them to fix it.  No amount of communication, however creative, can turn a bad solution into a good one.

And Almost Finally… • People matter – wherever they are located! • Things don‟t always work out as planned but try and keep a smile on your face…..and learn! • I‟ll get the ice-creams

Thank you…any queries or is it lunch? Email: Twitter: @PeopleSIG Web:

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