“The business community tends to patronize soft skills….as if to conclude they are complimentary to hard skills at best. This is backward. A paradigm shift is necessary if you want to make the most of your interactions… “(xiv) – Dale Carnegie and Associates
In our last lecture of the semester, we talked about changes and conflict in management. We then spoke about the most common mistakes of project management. They ranged from misaligned strategic objectives or no project sponsorship. The one that stood out the most to me was communication breakdowns. Let’s talk about this more on the importance of communication.
In How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age, Dale Carnegie talks about how soft skills such as communication are undermined by the business community over hard, technical skills. But instead, he considers this should be the opposite. Soft skills are links to hard skills. Soft skills are also how one makes connections and use them for capitalization.
How important is communication in project management? Back in 2013, PMI’s Pulse of Impression, an annual global survey IT managers tracking trends in the industry, stated that “the most crucial success factor in project management is effective communication to all stakeholders.” Every nine out of ten CEOs believe communication is important for strategic initiatives to occur. It also was stated that $135 million is at risk for every $1 billion spent on projects and that 56% of that risk, or $75 million, is related to communication. While that seems relatively low, remember that stat was in 2013. With the rise of technology and globalization, this number has significantly jumped. An estimated 2 out of every 5 projects do not meet on their business goals, and half of those are stemmed to a lack of communication.
This then leads to the effectiveness of communication. With companies with effective communication, projects are complete within time, scope and budget 80 percent of the time. They also risk 14 times fewer dollars than companies with non-effective communications.
So, how do communications breakdown? In PMI’s Pulse of Impression, companies do recognize the important of communication, but it doesn’t mean that they will always guarantee successful communication. “While business owners and sponsors report that communications about business benefit and alignment to strategy is communicated, project managers do not.” What that means is that the root of how communications is distributed is not agreed upon by two different sides. This falls upon project leaders and directors to be liaisons for the two conflicting sides to find the correct way of communicating business benefit and strategy.
It is also found that a lack of language causes a breakdown in communication. Some sides have different jargon or different levels of detail. With people in projects having different levels of skills and technical language, there can be a misunderstanding. Companies need to communicate clearly using language that everyone can understand in order for projects to be more successful.
Small skills such as communication seem like such a simple skill. We use it everyday to our friends and family. And yet, it seems the most difficult apply for projects in a business standpoint. Companies need to understand that it needs to make it communication clear so its stakeholders can all understand its business strategy. They also need to understand how communication effects, with the stats given from before. With the rise of technology, the numbers said before have risen, making communication even more important for companies to apply.
What do you think of communication? Have you seen it used in an ineffective way in your job or project? Do you think it is underappreciated in the business industry?
- Carnegie, Dale, and Brent Cole. How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks, 2012. Print.
- Harris, Guy. “FAQ Series: The Best Way to Communicate with Others.” Bud to Boss. 20 Apr. 2016. Web. 24 July 2021.
- “THE HIGH COST OF LOW PERFORMANCE: THE ESSENTIAL ROLE OF COMMUNICATIONS.” PMI Pulse of Profession. Pmi.org, May 2013. Web. 24 July 2021. <https://www.pmi.org/-/media/pmi/documents/public/pdf/learning/thought-leadership/pulse/the-essential-role-of-communications.pdf?v=e1f0e914-4b3a-456f-b75e-40101632258b>.
- Windsor, Grace. “How To Improve Communication On Your Projects.” BrightWork.com. 25 Jan. 2021. Web. 24 July 2021.