Understand project communication

In this video, you will learn how to communicate with all project stakeholders using:

  • Good project planning
  • Updates
  • Task status and percent complete
  • Issues
  • Reports
Understand project communication.
Good communication is critical to project success. Stakeholders who could pull the plug on the project need to understand that the project is on target and that issues are being dealt with properly.
If a project is in trouble, what’s being done to get it back on track? All people assigned to tasks need to clearly understand what they’re expected to do and not to do. You need to avoid scope creep. Don’t waste time and money doing more than the project calls for. Don’t endanger the project by doing less than is needed or by ignoring potential problems. Your project team can help you with these things if your communication channels are working for you. And don’t forget to pay attention to all reporting fields your upper management is monitoring to make sure that they have an accurate picture of your project’s status.
In this video you will learn how to communicate with all project stakeholders using good project planning, updates, task status and percent complete, issues and reports. Good project planning. Use descriptions or custom fields to make sure expectations are clear. Don’t be afraid to explain the goal of each task. Don’t micromanage but err on the side of clarity rather than brevity.
If you’re going to assign multiple people to a task, make sure they all understand who’s doing what. Consider using subtask each assigned to a single person to avoid confusion. Like this.
Set up a way to keep stakeholders outside of the project informed. Often upper management is keeping an eye on many projects. Find out what they’re wanting to know and how often they want updates. Then make sure that you’re regularly updating the things they’re watching. And plan from the beginning to have a lessons learned meeting when the project is over so you can plan future projects better.
Workfront makes it easy for the project team to keep all communications about the project in a single place. The project. Ask questions in the updates section of relevant task, issue or documents. These comments roll up to the project level. Include all people who need to be part of the discussion when needed. Whether they are part of the project team or not. Best practice is to have notifications set up to send people an email when they get an update from a project. They should always click the link in the email notification to join the discussion in the project. This way all discussions relating to the project are stored in one place.
Task status and percent complete. As the project manager, how do you know the real status of the work being done on your project? Before getting Workfront, you might have had to go around to each worker and just ask them. Or maybe you told everyone to send you a status report each Friday. Or maybe you had a weekly status meeting where everyone could take a turn to talk about what they were working on.
Workfront can change all that. If you can get all the workers to just update their task status and percent complete in Workfront on a regular basis. This saves everyone time, but it may take a little time and some reminders to get everyone in the habit. How much accuracy are you looking for? If you want real time reporting to show you status accurate to within one week, then having everyone update their task and issues weekly will do it. If you need accuracy to the day, you’ll need daily updates. One technique that might help you here is to create short specific tasks. It’s easier for someone to accurately report they’re 100% complete with a two-day task than to have a good idea when they’re 20% complete on a 10-day task. When you assign a worker a task by default, they have the ability to create subtasks and organize their efforts. Encourage workers to do this and it will make both organizing and status reporting much easier.
What should someone do on the project team if they have a question or a concern about the project? As a project manager, you need to decide what you want them to do and make it clear to everyone on the team. For example, you might say, if it’s a question relating to the task, just tag me in the task update. That way the question and the reply become part of the record. If the question is about additional project work, I may ask you to create an issue. After review, the issue may be converted to a task and planned into the project timeline. Typically, issues are things that may eventually become a task or things that may be assigned to someone else to look into. As a project manager, you’ll want to keep an eye on your issues list, even if they’re not assigned to anyone in particular. One major difference between an update and an issue is that an issue has to be resolved before the project can be completed, where an update does not. Also, updates can get lost in a flood, kind of like emails. But issues will stay in your face until you resolve them. Reports. Here is an example of a project report. It includes some basic metrics about the project, including the condition update field. This is a native field that includes the project condition field and the most recent update made at the project level by the project owner. A lot of project managers make it a point to give a brief summary of the project’s progress in this update so that they can easily be seen in this report to upper management. If you’re doing this, you just want to make sure as a project manager that you don’t put updates at the project level unless you intend them to be seen in this report.
In the updates area, you’ll have threads that will be compressed, and you can click here to show all of the comments within them. So if you’re searching for updates and you have a lot to look at, it can be a little difficult to find what you’re looking for. So if you’re looking for a particular word, a screen search won’t find them if they’re embedded in a thread. However, there is a report theme I want to use. It’s called Note Search. This report quickly finds updates based on a variety of filter prompts. It will search within update threads and quickly extract anything that meets the criteria specified in the prompts.
If you run it without any prompts, it’ll just show you all of the comments in your project.
If you’re interested in a report like this, there are step-by-step instructions included in the activity in Create a Task Report tutorial. You can add this to one of your project tabs like we did by following the instructions in an activity in the Create Dashboards tutorial.
To create the Note Search report shown in the video, see the activity in the Create a task report tutorial.
To add the Note Search report to your project panel, see the activity in the Create dashboards tutorial.