The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place. – George Bernard Shaw
The word communication comes from the Latin word “communis”, which means common. When we communicate, we are trying to establish “commonness”, share information, an idea, or an attitude among the team involved in that particular project. Effective communication reduces barriers, assists with resolving problems proactively and builds stronger relationships. Poor communication results in reduced productivity, increased turnover, poor customer service, unclear timelines and uncertain expectations.
I had the pleasure of spending the day with 20 industry professionals from various organizations, jurisdictions and associations at VRCA’s “Infrastructure Masterclass”. Stakeholders from across the Lower Mainland engaged in conversations about their capital procurement plans, timelines, and resourcing needs. The importance of communication, collaboration and transparency formed the basis of key conversations and case studies explored by the participants.
When discussing constructability reviews, risk management, project collaboration or Integrated Project Design (IPD), effective communication was a key component of the conversation. In one case study, a large communications infrastructure project for a local jurisdiction was selected as a case study for exploration. Issues with competing agendas and dysfunctional behavior presented a situation where an external resource was contracted to improve meeting outcomes, increase efficiency, manage behaviors and keep participants accountable. In a nutshell, dysfunctional behavior is the enemy of meeting return on investment.
For example: “Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) aligns the business interests of all parties through a multi-party contractual arrangement among stakeholders. This includes at minimum the owner, consultant and contractor. IPD requires collaboration throughout the design and construction processes to ensure project success. Amec Foster Wheeler identifies, records and takes into account the perceptions of both internal and external stakeholders throughout the project decision making process.”
National Education Consulting – Infrastructure Masterclass
Communication is an essential tool in the field of project management. It gains importance every day and is the center of all management processes. Studies show that 90% of a project manager’s time is spent communicating what is going to be done. Effective communication saves time and money, makes life easier, makes you more profitable, and it just makes sense!