The (Un)Communication Trap

We’ve all worked with that manager, co-worker, client, (or dated that person) that for some reason doesn’t ever tell you the whole story. Maybe he’s “protecting you” from all the details that he doesn’t think you need to know. Maybe he’s especially forgetful or is hiding a mistake he made. Maybe he feels more important and “in charge” if he’s the only one with all the facts. Whatever the reason, it sure is annoying.

It takes a shared goal and vision to build a cohesive, effective project team. It doesn’t make you more important if you’re the only one in the know; it just cripples your team and makes you seem like a jerk.

A few good communication practices:

  • Hold an internal kickoff meeting. Before the project even starts, get your team together, tell them about the project, discuss scope, deliverables, goals, and answer questions about it
  • Include your team members on status update emails
  • Include core team members on status calls with the client (when in areas of their expertise, e.g., when you’re discussing graphics, include the graphics designer
  • When decisions about the project are made, share them with the team
  • Send out regular communications about deliverables and review dates, note who is responsible for what
  • Check in with the team members on a regular basis – ask them what they need from you
  • Hold full-team meetings to discuss project progress, potential risks, and mitigation strategies
  • Actively manage hand-offs. Rather than letting one team member throw her work over the wall to the next, hold a meeting to review and discuss. You’re running a project, not a production line

What are your best practices for communicating with your project team?

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