One area of Project Management that I feel is often overlooked is the presentation of information. This applies to both presenting to your immediate project team members as well as the project stakeholders. The value of providing good presentations to your audience reinforces their confidence in you as the Project Manager, and it also builds credibility within the Project Team.
I recently attended a class on Presentation Skills provided by Dr. James Brown. He stressed a number of points that I believe are the key to the successful delivery of a presentation, and here are my top takeaways:
As a Project Manager, it’s important to understand that your time is usually spread over several tasks and/or projects for any given day. For this reason it is extremely important to set the correct expectations with customers. Over the last couple months this lesson has been reiterated to me again and again in several different forms.
Blogs are more than a medium for marketing, news, and education. From personal experience I can tell you that they also serve as serious tools for serious project managers. As a professional project manager I’ve worked with companies from Seattle to Sydney. A key factor in making sure that a project goes well is communications. Blogs are excellent mediums for communicating information in a concise manner that gives all team members the ability to participate in the conversation.
Everyone likes to feel like they are important; Family, Friends, Co-Workers, but especially our Customers! How we communicate their importance, what is said and how it is finally interpreted, can be more difficult than it seems.
In the course of managing our projects there comes a time in our personal interactions where the project manager will have to provide feedback and may even have to say something negative to the person they are dealing with. There may also be the case where they have to say something negative to say to you. I prefer to call it constructive criticism/feedback rather than negative but many people refer to it as negative.
Setting and managing Project expectations requires more than documenting a concise definition of what will be delivered, when it will be delivered, and how much it will cost.
One important factor is the establishment of a comprehensive and bilateral Project Communication Plan that takes into consideration the participation of all project stakeholders.
Effective communication allows discovery and management of unrealistic expectations or misconceptions. It also provides an effective conduit for consistent reaffirmation of the established project goals and timelines.
The plan may include less frequent, but highly valuable, Project Team and Stakeholder Forums – where incremental successes throughout the project lifecycle, as well as new project opportunities, can be highlighted and discussed along with other appropriate information.
A well thought out and open communication plan can make the difference between a project that is judged as a failure, and one that is widely acknowledged as a genuine success.
“Special thanks to Neil Lindsey for his valuable input”
Robert Hughet, PMP
Senior Project Manager