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Being a project manager is no longer just about communicating your message to the group in weekly team meetings. This is especially true of larger complex projects. These projects may have hundreds of people involved in different locations and often from different companies or having different levels of engagement with the project.

With large projects the need for communication is especially relevant as you often will bring in people for different phases of the project to carry out their specific tasks but they need to get started quickly and ideally be able to self-serve much of the information they need.

This article explores some of the different ways of communicating effectively with your project community.

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The latest News and Events in the project life-cycle

Every project has a story to tell and a vision of the end goal. Whether this is constructing a new iconic building, a new railway line or a new IT system there will be key events in the project life-cycle that are worth sharing with the project teams whether internal or subcontractors.

Having an easy way to publish such news and events and advertise open meetings can give a true sense of what the overall objective is as well as informing people so they can keep up to date when they find a few minutes to spare. This can also serve to support introduction briefings and also wider stakeholders such as asset owners and advisors can be better engaged.

Internal Social Media-type engagement to increase the knowledge base

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We are all getting more and more used to exchanging information via social media in our personal and increasingly in our professional lives. This can involve posting questions we need answering or being able to search discussions that others have been having of topics of interest. Why shouldn’t this apply to the projects you work on too? After all how often in the past are the same problems repeated over and over again that often is something that someone on the project knows how solve?

Enhancing collaboration by allowing posting of questions on discussion threads and getting some answers quickly by searching for similar topics can make things run smoother. Even innovative ideas can be collected that HQ can think or rolling out further.

Getting started on the job quickly with step-by-step guides

Walking into a new job is always daunting and especially so if you’re new to the site and there are different processes or systems to get used to. Whether it is how to access to the latest site drawings, submit a snag or enter timesheet information having this information as a step-by-step guide that you could view on your mobile or print out if you need can make the first few days that much easier and feel part of the team soon.

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Even better if everyone is flat out on their own tasks you don’t need to take other’s valuable time away and for the PM reducing the time needed for training is an added bonus.

So, if all this information was available on a project Extranet to find according to your role ready for you to use? That would be a project you would want to be called back to, perhaps?

Conveying a consistent message on what is being developed and when

Feeling part of something bigger is what keeps people going while working on a small but essential part of a construction project. It may often seem especially in the early months of a project or working on specific parts that what you as an individual do is a long way from the actual end result.

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Having internal web pages with information on the overall design of the building for example or the latest features that will be incorporated can give a real sense of purpose to everyone involved in the project. This should act as a motivator and bring a disparate team closer together.

So, is your project keeping the information flowing?

About the Author – Colin Payne

Colin manages the UK operation for Webforum which includes working closely with current and future customers in understanding their needs, their own particular IT set up and those within different industry sectors including Construction and Engineering.

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