On the Same Page: A Guide to Project Communication

NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter got lost in space because of a classic "whoops" moment in communication. One group of engineers was all about metric units, while the other partied with the imperial system. The result? A spaceship taking an unintended spacewalk.

In the world of project management, we might not be launching rockets, but our success hinges on the same principle: clear communication. It's not just about firing off emails or scribbling notes; it’s about creating a lingua franca everyone gets.

Picture this: You're leading a software project that's so sleek even the code seems to wear sunglasses 😎. However, stakeholders express concerns about end-user adoption and market fit. Rather than assuming the project's direction, you introduce feedback-driven development sessions, where stakeholders can voice their insights and foresee potential risks. This proactive approach not only ensures the software aligns with market needs but also keeps stakeholders actively engaged and invested in the project's success.

Dive into this guide, and we'll unpack the art (and science) of project communication.

From Paper to Pixels: The Story of Project Communication

Project communication, much like the broader landscape of human connection, has undergone a transformative journey over the years.

Analog Beginnings

In earlier office scenes, typewriters echoed, hand-delivered memos were the norm, and Gantt charts proudly occupied wall spaces. Updates weren't a click away; they were presented in scheduled briefings. Patience played a critical role as stakeholders awaited these intervals of information.

The Digital Shift

As we ushered in the digital era, immediacy became the new standard. Emails began to bridge communication gaps swiftly. Digital Gantt charts emerged not just as quicker alternatives to their analog counterparts but as tools that encouraged interaction and dynamic adjustment.

Collaboration Takes Center Stage

With tools like Slack, Teams, and Trello coming into play, the concept of a traditional 'office' began to expand beyond physical walls. Geographical boundaries became less of a barrier as these platforms promoted real-time collaboration, ushering in a new age where teamwork could thrive, irrespective of location.

The Modern Landscape and Beyond

Today, the essence of project communication revolves around clarity and inclusivity. It's about ensuring every stakeholder is informed, engaged, and aligned with the project's objectives. As we cast our gaze forward, emerging technologies like AI and VR hint at even more immersive communication experiences tailored to individual needs.

Transparency in Project Management

At the heart of successful project management lies transparency. It's more than just sharing information; it's about creating an open environment where all stakeholders feel valued, informed, and involved.

  1. Trust is the Cornerstone: Look at how Tesla operates. They openly share ambitious goals and visions with their teams and the public alike. Employees trust that they're working towards groundbreaking objectives, while investors and the public trust in the potential of the company's direction.
  2. Clarity Brings Focus: Ambiguity can lead a project astray. Just as Netflix's transparent and direct internal memos ensure everyone understands the company's direction, clear project communication is critical to keep all stakeholders aligned.
  3. A Shared Vision: Transparency ensures everyone is aligned towards a singular vision. This doesn't mean there won't be disagreements, but with an open flow of information, it's easier to ensure everyone is on the same page.

The Positive Ripple Effects of Transparency

Transparent communication doesn't just benefit the immediate project—it has broader implications:

  1. Team Moral: When teams see the real-world impact of their work, much like the real-time user feedback in platforms like Airbnb, morale soars and productivity follows suit.
  2. Stakeholder Satisfaction: Informed stakeholders are generally happier stakeholders. When they can see the progress of a project—be it through a Gantt chart, a Kanban board, or any other visual tool—they're less likely to feel anxious or uncertain about the project's trajectory.
  3. Project Success and Adaptability: A transparent project management approach allows for quicker identification of issues, more agile decision-making, and a higher likelihood of project success. For example, if a sprint isn't going as planned, a visual tool can help stakeholders quickly grasp the situation, facilitating swift corrective actions.

Information is abundant yet attention is scarce. Transparency is about bridging the gap between intricate project details and stakeholder understanding.

Adaptability in Strategy and Execution

Remember the fall of Blockbuster? Their failure to adapt to the digital streaming revolution, despite an early lead in the rental market, led to their downfall. And while they faltered in adapting to the digital age, their downfall was exacerbated by a failure to communicate and rally around new market dynamics.

Fluid Strategies Through Clear Messaging

As Netflix pivoted from DVDs to streaming, their communication—both internal and external—was clear, ensuring all stakeholders understood and bought into the new direction. This wasn’t merely a strategic shift; it was a masterclass in communicating change.

Learning, Iteration, and Feedback Loops

True adaptability thrives on feedback. Spotify’s team structures, like squads and tribes, are built not just for agile operations but for agile communication. These feedback-rich environments ensure lessons are shared, learned, and acted upon.

Scenario Planning and Communication

Consider the aerospace industry. Given its complexity, companies often deploy scenario planning to anticipate potential shifts in policies, market demands, or technological advancements. But the key lies not just in creating these scenarios but in communicating them effectively. Ensuring that teams are not only aware of potential changes but also understand their implications can drastically reduce the response time when adaptations are necessary. It’s a top-down approach to ensure that both leadership and frontline workers are prepared for the twists and turns of the project landscape.

Feedback-Driven Development and the Art of Acknowledgment:

In the world of software development, adaptability can often mean the difference between a product's success or obsolescence. Platforms like GitHub or GitLab encourage developers to continually iterate based on user feedback. But here's where effective communication shines: it's not enough to adjust based on feedback. Companies that communicate back to their user base about the changes implemented (or reasons for not implementing certain suggestions) build a loop of trust and validation. This bottom-up feedback ensures that products or projects remain relevant and users feel heard.

Circle of Trust

Adaptability isn't just about adjusting to new challenges—it's about ensuring everyone is informed, aligned, and on board with those changes. As seen with companies like Netflix and platforms like GitHub, success is often determined by how well change is communicated

Engaging Stakeholders and Clients: Strategies for Effective Communication

Project management is an intricate dance of aligning various parties—internal stakeholders, external partners, and clients. One of the most significant aspects of this alignment is effective communication. Whether you're dealing with a stakeholder from a different department or a client from a different continent, crafting clarity and fostering engagement is paramount.

Understanding the Communication Landscape

The vast majority of projects, regardless of their nature, ripple through various segments of a business and its external environment. Ensuring all relevant parties are informed is not just courteous—it's fundamental to a project's success.

Stakeholder Engagement:

The Value of an Informed Stakeholder: A stakeholder, when kept up-to-date, can make insightful decisions, give timely feedback, and contribute more substantially. Conversely, those left uninformed might become hindrances or sources of resistance.

Digital Tools for Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Collaboration Platforms: like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or Trello allow stakeholders to be part of the dialogue, irrespective of their location. PPM tools such as ITM Platform also include collaboration features linked to the different project items.
  • Visual Aids: Tools like Kanban boards, flow diagrams, or infographics help stakeholders grasp complex information swiftly.
  • Feedback Mechanisms: Digital platforms now offer intuitive ways to gather stakeholders' thoughts, ensuring their voice isn't lost in the project's noise.

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Client Communication:

The Essence of Client Dialogue: When it comes to the success or failure of a project, the client's perception is the ultimate determinant. Take Domino’s Pizza. Facing declining sales and criticism about their pizza's taste in the late 2000s, Domino's didn't deflect— they leaned in. In a bold campaign, they openly acknowledged the feedback and showcased their commitment to change. More crucially, after unveiling improved recipes, they actively sought customer opinions to further refine their offerings. 

This iterative approach—acknowledging issues, taking action, then looping back for feedback—wasn't just damage control; it drove a major upswing in sales and bolstered their brand image by proving that client voices mattered.

Mastering Digital Client Interactions: With a significant shift to digital touchpoints, it's essential to

  • Actively Listen: With limited non-verbal cues in digital communication, it's vital to concentrate and engage with what the client communicates.
  • Adapt to Communication Modes: Different clients have varied preferences—be it video calls, emails, or instant messaging. Being flexible in communication mode can foster better understanding and rapport.

Strategies for Clear and Effective Communication

To create deeper connections with stakeholders and clients alike, consider:

  • Setting Clear Expectations: Before immersing into any project phase, be clear about its scope, outcomes, timelines, and challenges that might arise.
  • Frequent Updates: Both stakeholders and clients appreciate regular project updates. This keeps them engaged and reduces feelings of exclusion.
  • Feedback Loops: Establish a routine of checking in, gathering thoughts, and addressing concerns. This not only keeps everyone on the same page but also identifies potential pitfalls early.
  • Education: Occasionally, you might come across stakeholders or clients unfamiliar with specific nuances of the project or the field. Taking time to explain these aspects not only informs them but also instills confidence in your expertise.
  • Exceed Expectations: Going that extra step, be it a prompt response, delivering before a deadline, or providing additional post-project support, can set you apart in the eyes of your stakeholders and clients.

Meaningful dialogue is rooted in mutual respect, understanding, and a shared vision for project success.

Remote Project Management: Challenges, Solutions, and Best Practices

The marriage of remote work with traditional practices is here to stay. This integration provides flexibility and broader reach but also introduces unique challenges to remote project management.

  1. Building Trust Remotely: Without the advantage of face-to-face interactions, cultivating trust becomes a nuanced challenge. In a remote setting, fostering a culture where team members rely on each other's expertise is imperative, even if they've never shared physical space.
  2. Communication Over Distances: Digital tools have revolutionized communication, but they also come with their pitfalls. The absence of in-person nuances means there's a higher risk of misinterpretation or missing critical details amid digital interactions.
  3. Maintaining Team Cohesion: Geographical dispersion can occasionally lead to feelings of isolation or detachment from the central project goals. Ensuring that every team member feels integrated and driven by the project's mission is paramount.

Best Practices for Remote Project Management

  1. Establish Clear Communication Norms: It's essential to outline the mediums, frequency, and type of team interactions. Having set structures, such as daily updates or monthly stakeholder briefings, reduces confusion and aids in creating a structured communication framework.
  2. Encourage Work-Life Boundaries: Remote work can sometimes blur the lines between personal and professional lives. Promote a culture where work hours are respected, and personal time remains undisturbed.
  3. Invest in Team Building: Foster team cohesion through virtual activities or challenges tailored for remote teams. Shared experiences can solidify team bonds, even from a distance.
  4. Harness Digital Tools for Structured Focus: Remote work presents an array of potential distractions, ranging from household chores to the irresistible appeal of digital media. Introducing multiple tools can add to this cacophony rather than streamline work. The key is not just to adopt but to adapt tools in a manner that channels 'deep work'. Consider strategies such as Structured Digital Silence and Asynchronous Communication Prioritization.

The challenges posed by remote project management also pave the way for innovative solutions. 

Final Thoughts

As we draw this exploration to a close, it's evident that the myriad threads of project management — be it strategy, adaptability, stakeholder engagement, or client communication — all converge at one point: effective communication. The success of any project doesn't merely hinge on resource allocation or meticulous planning but on how efficiently and transparently information flows among all involved parties.

Reflecting on the Pivotal Role of Communication in Driving Project Success

Over the course of this guide, we've underscored the importance of fostering an environment where clarity, trust, and adaptability reign supreme. Projects, by their very nature, are dynamic. They ebb and flow, sometimes predictably and at times unexpectedly. In such a landscape, the capacity to communicate effectively acts as an anchor, grounding the team and stakeholders alike, and steering the project through tumultuous waters towards its objectives.

"The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place." 

George Bernard Shaw

Avoiding assumptions, regularly checking in, ensuring alignment, and seeking feedback are the bedrock of keeping happy stakeholders and clients.

Peering into the Future

As we look to the horizon, the landscape of project management is poised for further evolution. With the integration of AI-driven tools, we can anticipate even more streamlined communication processes, predictive analytics guiding decision-making, and virtual reality enabling immersive stakeholder experiences.

Furthermore, as teams become more globally dispersed, the need for tools and strategies that bridge time zones, cultural divides, and language barriers will only intensify. The aspiration for the future is not just about more advanced tools, but about cultivating a deeper sense of empathy, understanding, and collaboration, irrespective of geographical or digital divides.

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How to make remote work a success

Companies all over the world are making their operations work remotely for the first time. If you work in an industry where teamwork is crucial, a sudden request to work from home doesn't have to be a strain on you or your team. There are unique opportunities and challenges that come with working outside of a traditional office.

Here we define what remote teams are, explore advantages and disadvantages and how to successfully work from home.


First, what are remote teams?

The best way to understand remote teams is to think of them as small groups of people who are committed to achieving specific company objectives. They often work for the same company and answer to the same boss but live in different cities or even countries. You can also think of remote teams as being similar to virtual ones. The reason for this is because both deal with very similar opportunities and challenges. However the difference is that virtual team members answer to different managers while working together on the same project.


Advantages to working from home

Many people are discovering that working from home is a great advantage, and companies are inclined to agree. Hiring a contractor over an employee, and using that employee to build a virtual team for projects, is advantageous in a number of ways:

    • Improvements in employee work/life balance
    • Little to no travel time
    • Flexible work hours
    • Project collaboration and file sharing is easy now
    • Overall increase in employee productivity
    • Employee satisfaction
    • Easier to attain and retain top talent

While it is apparent that pulling in virtual workers for a team project is a great idea, it’s also important to make sure the business avoids the following possible overall pitfalls. If these issues are successfully deterred, then working from home in a team project works well.


Embracing the “disadvantages”

Most companies worry a remote team could take a lot of time and effort to get started because all team members must learn to effectively communicate and get to know one another. However, this shouldn’t be seen as “lost time”. In fact, this is far more beneficial to the company than anything else.

Since communication amongst remote teams is often dispersed across longer periods of time, team members learn to communicate deliberately. The result is employees with better communication skills and stronger unity. Remote teams are also capable of developing stronger bonds with one another because they learn to connect with one another on deeper levels.

Another common fear managers have when using remote teams is that team members aren’t synchronized due to their different time zones and work schedules. What many don’t realize is that this is actually a positive factor. Since consistent communication is difficult to maintain, it puts pressure on workers to complete work on time in order for the next to begin. This will prevent future delays or confusion.


Making remote work a success

Setting up a remote team is the first step but once you have it up-and-running you’ve got to know how to make it successful. There are a few things you need to keep in mind during the start-up phase and all throughout the rest of its development:

1. On-boarding
Home cannot be forced upon member of your team: whoever prefers a detached, professional collaboration with no soft commitment will eventually have their way; but on the corporate side it should encouraged and tied closely to corporate culture and values, to a strong branding and to on-boarding. Based on how this process pans out, both employees and consultants can either feel important contributors to the organizations or just another fly on the wall.

Supportive communication has an enormous importance. How well you welcome and integrate members into the team, make requests for feedback or encourage spontaneous interactions are fundamental elements leadership should consider. It’s important to advocate autonomous work while keeping track of progress.

For that reason, the integration of collaboration tools and project management technology is particularly relevant in the project leader portfolio. A potential tool to help facilate this process is ITM Platform Teambot. This is an app for Slack that enables our user base to review their current projects and tasks, report hours, track progress and interact within the platform without ever leaving Slack’s IRC-type chat interface.

Combining the collaborative power of Slack with the PPM capabilities of ITM Platform is a great example of keeping all project members on the same page, multiplying team interactions and ensuring that project planning and execution are strictly aligned.

ITM Platform Teambot with Slack

2. Stay Focused
When you work from home, losing focus is more of an issue than in an office. No matter how dedicated a worker is to a project, staying on task might become challenging. Avoid this situation by remaining highly professional when it comes to work. Becoming exceptionally organized, and understanding your role on the team. This will help you maintain focus and stay on task with the project, because you will avoid being frustrated with lack of understanding.

3. Be Flexible
Today’s virtual world runs on a global scale. Be mindful of the cultural differences and communication barriers that you may encounter. Anyone who has been on a virtual team understands this issue. While the project is in the planning stages, remain professional. Speak on a professional level, and use textbook English in all written communication. It is important to do this to avoid as many misunderstandings as possible. As the project moves forward, make sure communication barriers are broken down by asking for clarification when necessary. Most businesses will appreciate a question over having to redo a portion of a project due to a misunderstanding.

4. Make sure you have the right tools
All project team members must have access to the right technology to do the job, such as survey tools or company passwords. Remote projects depend on this access almost exclusively to get projects finished. Often, businesses will set up secure passwords for each team member. This way, if a team member becomes dishonest and acts in an unethical manner, the company will know where the breach happened. Be sure to keep your security information secret, only use it to work on projects, and never act in a way that would cause anyone to question your integrity. Make remote team projects work by acting as you would if you were sitting in an office with a boss breathing over your shoulder.

Avoid messy digital communications. Emails, though important, is becoming a thing of the past when it comes to organizing and communicating with your team. With different time zones and locations, continuous email chains become difficult to manage. Maintain productivity by taking advantage of amazing project management softwares such as ITM Platform. This way, you can prioritize what’s best for your business, control project tasks and financials, and use real-time information to report how projects are performing.

5. Connect with your team
Lastly, you should think about ways to reach out and strengthen staff relationships. Oftentimes, remote teams organize staff retreats or even meetups for those who live nearby. If these aren’t possibilities then think about creating fun social media groups via twitter or facebook. This allows co-workers to share funny memes, gifs or videos; all simple ideas to help strengthen the bond amongst remote teams. Why not a virtual happy hour?

If you’re interested in creating your own remote team or successfully managing the one you currently have, sign up for a free trial with ITM Platform. Our team is here to support you every step of the way.

ITM Platform hailed with the "Great User Experience" award for PPM Software

Great user experience 2018, awarded by FinancesOnline

Finances Online, A reputed business software directory, has recently recognized ITM Platform for setting the gold standard for user experience in our niche. After conducting a thorough review of our project management software solution, FinancesOnline hailed ITM Platform with its Great User Experience award for 2018.

Rising star, awarded by FinancesOnlineAccording to the FinancesOnline review team, businesses can quickly deploy and utilize ITM platform’s various functionalities without breaking a sweat, all of which are available on a “highly competitive” ITM Platform pricing. Having an easy to use platform for managing projects allow for better agile portfolio prioritization, structuring of projects, and managing of financials.

Moreover, ITM Platform has been praised for its integrated features that provide users with access to all major frameworks, activity planning, collaboration and others.

FinancesOnline also underscored our advanced functionalities that help businesses make strategy-aligned project executions, which is one of the most important things to look for in project management software. With real-time data available at your disposal, you can make smart business decisions and stay on top of all your projects at every stage.

FinancesOnline awarded us with the “Great User Experience” award, their project portfolio management category, as their experts were highly impressed with ITM Platform’s overall design and functionalities. “ITM Platform is an ideal solution for managing online projects because of its usability, performance, scalability, and price,” wrote FinancesOnline.

ITM Platform also garnered an outstanding 98% user satisfaction rating on FinancesOnline and received the review platform’s “Rising Star award for 2018”. Positive customer feedback is one of the key indicators that oura business is on the right track, and we aim at keep improving on this front as we remain committed to provide all our users with a better project portfolio management system in the years to come.

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Negotiation: The Key to Being Successful in Project Management

successful partnership, business people cooperation agreement, teamwork solution and handshake of two businessmanIn every career, there’s a range of qualities and personality traits that can make or break your success. Project management is no different—and there are certain characteristics that project managers need to have in order to meet proficiencies in various industries. With the help of a useful software that eases the organizational and methodological demands of the job, project managers can find the necessary foundation of support whilst honing their own regulatory skillset.

Whether or not you have enrolled in a college program dedicated to growing a project management skillset or you intend to independently learn the industry with the assistance of technology, there are specific qualities that need to be exhibited in order to be successful. Some of the desirable qualities include having a mentorship mentality and being tech-savvy, but one of the most vital skills for any project manager is negotiation. Without negotiation, project management strategies both interpersonally and online will ultimately fail, as achieving wise decisions based on an effectual negotiation is the staple of any worthy venture.

Why Negotiation Matters

Negotiation is an essential part of project management due to the on-going nature of negotiating within the projects, and software can greatly improve the systematic fulfilment of project objectives. Both informal and formal negotiations are typical in various scenarios, such as when dealing with providers as they agree to contracts (formal) and having discussions to obtain internal resources (informal). Project managers will therefore need to know how to negotiate and how to do it well for the sake of each step of the project.

Negotiation is vital in many facets of project management, such as conflict management, contract management, and stakeholder management. By being a strong negotiator face to face and online, you will be able to showcase excellent verbal and listening skills while setting and achieving certain goals and limits. Having this skill also means that you know when and how to close the negotiation, which can make a significant impact on the outcome of the project and how your company ranks online.

Tips for Being a Better Negotiator

If you want to develop your negotiating skills, there are many tips to consider. One is that you should always take the initiative and be proactive about your approach. By taking charge of the process, you will have the psychological advantage to shape its outcome. Many strong negotiators often utilize the “anchoring” technique, where you clearly state your intentions early on in the conversation so that your counter-party uses your opinion as their starting point.

Another tip is to use your body language to your advantage. Research in communication shows that a message is transferred 55% by body language, 38% by the way you speak, and 7% by the actual words. This means that your facial expressions and gesticulations can make you more persuasive in negotiation and more suggestive of your point of view.

Negotiation is a daily part of project management, both face to face and online, and it is crucial for people in the field to develop effective negotiating skills in order to be most successful at the job in addition to utilizing available organizational software.

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Discussing Project Value with Mats Malmstrom

As a warm-up to our upcoming webinar, we discuss with Mats Malmström the importance of project value and project culture, and how they sometimes get thrown in as an afterthought. Mats is owner of LYM Consulting and a multi-talented management consultant with more than 25 years of experience as executive sponsor, program and project manager.

Hi Mats, let me just say I’m happy to welcome you to our blog and to kick-start our partnership.

Thank you Jaime, I am really excited to work with you at ITM Platform.

What attracted you most of ITM Platform when you first saw it, and what would you say that makes it different to other tools?

I have come across many PPM and PM tools during my years as project manager and executive sponsor. Some of these tools are extremely powerful and provide organizations with the functionality needed to be able to successfully manage projects.

What I like with ITM platform is that it allows you to manage your organization’s projects and programs in one place and to a reasonable cost.  The versatility and the ease of use of the software allows you to manage your portfolio, plan and monitor your programs and projects, communicate with your project team and stakeholders, and get an instant overview of the status of your portfolio and each project individually. Also, it allows you to manage any type of project, structured and/or agile.

“What I like with ITM platform is that it allows you to manage your organization’s projects and programs in one place and to a reasonable cost.” 

Each organization has its unique ways of working. Hence, another important feature in the ITM platform is that you can easily customize the tool to your current processes.


You come from a long career in the Information and Communication Technology sector. What’s your experience of the industry in how it relates to projects? Are there any specific challenges you wouldn’t typically find in other context?

This sector has a long history of applying project management principles successfully. Many companies have a high project maturity with well defined processes. Having said that, in my experience the main challenges many companies have are to follow and adapt their project management practices to be successful in a very disruptive and competitive market. These organizations have invested heavily in their current tools and processes slowing down the process of change that is desired. I have also seen at various occasions that tacit PM knowledge and best practices have been lost as a result of re-organizations.

“The nature of a project is to interconnect and involve various parts of the organization in the spirit of innovation and transformation to reach challenging goals that might not be possible to manage in the current operation.”

Would you say this is changing over time, or are any of those issues long-standing concerns?

These are challenges all organizations in any industry have. Today’s business environment does require organization to be faster and innovative to succeed, that goes for project management practices too.

The key to ensure that your project is generating the maximum value is to align it with the organization’s strategic plan and business goals. The nature of a project is to interconnect and involve various parts of the organization in the spirit of innovation and transformation to reach challenging goals that might not be possible to manage in the current operation. The project performance gives a good indication of how well or bad the whole organization is set up for generating maximum value.

We will discuss what it means to talk about the value of projects with a webinar on January 24. Why do you think this topic is so fascinating?

Expected/ desired/ value has always been a deciding factor for what we do and how we invest our resources. Organizing the work to be done as a project has been shown over the history of mankind as the most powerful vehicle to drive and create value for an organization in a reasonable time frame. However, the notation of value is relative in time and in context. Organizations need a systematic approach to assess, prioritize, monitor and communicate project value, or rather, the value of their investments. It shall to embrace the whole organization.  In today’s knowledge based economy, it is more important than ever to ensure that everyone understands what we mean by value in a given situation to contribute to maximizing value in the project at all time.

I have led cross functional project teams with a consistent focus on value creation resulting in, for example, shorter time to market for new product releases, better margins and break-in contracts.

“Whenever project value is perceived differently or known too late, the impact on results is disastrous”

Perhaps it doesn’t seem like a priority… Do you think there are different perceptions between employees, project managers and portfolio folks?

I would not say that the expected value is a not priority in the project. What happens sometimes is that project value, translated to project goals are taken for granted and the project’s attention is steered towards executing the project schedule and firefighting. I have also seen in projects that value has not be clearly defined and broken down in order to effectively communicate it to the project and all stakeholders. These two situations lead to the project value being perceived or understood differently or known too late.  In some cases, it had a disastrous impact on the project result.

What do you recommend to someone that wants to improve project culture at their organization?

It’s interesting that you mention project culture. Project culture is what I would call the organization’s soul, it ensures a common understanding of the value of projects, and how to work and build the capabilities in the organization to realize that value.

I would recommend that you start with understanding where you are today and from there define what is the correct strategy for your organization. I will share with the webinar participants a simple and at the same time quite effective assessment tool to measure the organization’s project culture.

“Always make sure you communicate project value to your stakeholders. The worst possible mistake of a project manager is to underestimate the importance of communication.”

Are there any don’ts / terrible mistakes?

I would say that you should never underestimate the importance of communication. We as project managers spend more than 80% of our time communicating. Make sure that you communicate clearly the project value at all time to your stakeholders.

I’d like to discuss yet another topic before we part ways. You have experience on both sides on the Atlantic and in LatinAmerica, as well as the US. We know Anglo-Saxon markets are more mature, but what have you learned in LatAm that you wouldn’t have otherwise?

I have met many highly skilled and successful project managers and PMO managers in Latin America leading the implementation of project management best practices in their organizations. The challenges they have are related to the culture and the structure of business, making it sometimes more difficult to get consensus about the value of projects and to develop a strong project culture.

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Everything you should include in a project status report

Magnifying glass, looking at graphs, reportWhy make status reports?

Every project needs a status report , also known as progress report, in which the status of the project is clearly, accurately and objectively reported.

Start feeding your project status reports with live data on ITM Platform.

A project status report is intended to provide an evaluation of the progress and communicate execution details. Therefore, the development of the progress report is of great importance, since it is vital that it be carried out following a predetermined model. Only in this way will the users of the reports be able to compare them with each other:

  • Comparing status reports for different phases of the same project gives you a better idea of the distance covered, analyzing how far future projections from previous phases have been verified or denied
  • Comparing reports from different projects is crucial, especially among similar projects using Gantt charts, to understand where discrepancies between estimates and real data are

If you do not have a reporting model in your organization, you are missing out on the advantage of being able to compare reports. To make matters worse, homogeneous models allow users of such reports to find the information they need quickly, as they know how it’s structured. This is one of the aspects where by a Project Management Office can bring great benefits for internal communication in an organization.

A status report contains a brief description of the main elements of the report, establishing causes and explanations that justify and give context to the data. Metrics and graphics will allow the user to understand the progress of the project in a very short time.

The executive summary: Basis for monitoring a project

This section requires an objective description of how the project is running . The summary should present clearly and simply the most important results of the project, including:

  • Milestones fulfilled
  • Deliverables and quality
  • Risks or unforeseen events
  • Relationship between estimates and real, in at least three aspects: resource allocation, costs and deadlines
  • The difference between the estimated progress and the progress to date. If the date of delivery is considered unrealistic, this alarm signal is the first step to alert the customer and negotiate a new date with him.

On the other hand, the executive summary is very effective for a detailed follow-up of the unplanned challenges that arose during project development, as well as actions to be implemented in the short term , so that any eventuality can be mitigated.

The purpose is to ensure that the project continues on the path to success, delivering the project on time, with the expected quality.

Project progress reporting: steady progress assessment

The constant evaluation of a project is vital to know what countermeasures should be taken to make the project successful. Hence the preparation of this section outlines the most problematic areas of the project.

Likewise, suggestions and corrections can be advanced to solve a specific problem. As the project, often, cannot wait to receive feedback on these aspects, decisions are already taken, so this point can delineate already decided actions.

Registration Template: Project Control

The status report should generate relevant information about the risks recorded. It is advisable to start from a registry template by means of which you can retrieve useful information in an orderly way. This registry template will contain:

  • Project Risk Factors,
  • Probabilities
  • Project impact

You can visit ITM Platform’s free risk assessment matrix to compile this information quickly.

Know all about metrics: Promotes project tracking

Managing a project is only possible if you have the tools to quantify the different parameters involved, offering objective and comparable data. Thus, you can measure, for example:

  • Delivery times
  • Quality of the deliverables, based on the number of requirements included
  • Costs incurred to date
  • Percentage costs over total
  • Amount of unanticipated costs incurred
  • Hours worked, either per worker or by professional category

Result indicator

If the result is not a material product but a service, and the project covers the phases of implementation and marketing, there will be a large number of quantifiable aspects related to the result, such as the number of users, their average cost, and so on. These indicators will serve to measure the quality of delivery.

If you are interested in knowing which indicators you can use to manage your portfolio, you can continue reading these articles:


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