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Is it Worth Spending Time on Communication?

December 1, 2014

Is it worth it

Effective communication can take time, particularly on very large projects that have people from different professions, skills sets, cultures, roles, etc. and each person may need to be communicated with in a different way. But it is time that is very very well spent. It is precisely because each person is different that we can’t expect everyone to respond to the same communication object in the same way. The good news is, like all relationship building, the more work we do upfront to understand and build effective communication for each person, the stronger and more effective our project team will be down the line. What’s more, the team’s ability to accomplish and perform will be significantly different than if you didn’t build effective communication.

From a cost perspective, many costs come from a misunderstanding of requirements or a disconnect on framing assumptions on what is needed to provide the solution stakeholders have in mind. In fact, a recent US Government report found that a disconnect on framing assumptions was one of the leading root causes of cost over-runs. Getting communication right, up front, can help reduce the chances of a miscommunication on requirements or a disconnect on framing assumptions. Catching them up front allows us to fix them early on, when it is much cheaper.

Time spent on designing and executing effective communication is at least as important as time spent on budget or schedule. Because it is people who deliver project results. Money in the bank is not going to deliver a project. A schedule in a piece of software doesn’t deliver a project. Only people deliver projects. The more we can do to create the right environment for people, the more likely they are to deliver the kind of results we desire and the more likely they are to solve any problems or challenges that may arise along the way. The ROI on effective communication is huge.

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