Communication

Types of Communication

  1. Communication is important because:
    1. Team members need to be included in the project culture
    2. Miscommunication can harm trust
  2. Synchronous Communication – everyone communicating at the same time
    1. Examples: Live meetings, conference call, audio conference (skype), Computer assisted conference (screen share), video conference, instant messaging, texting
    2. Time zones
      1. working from different time zones can make it hard to communicate synchronous, but can also make it easier to get work done around the clock.
      2. It is important to be aware of other time zones when scheduling meetings
  3. Asynchronous Communication – not all parties are present at the same time
    1. Mail and package – good for signatures (except now you can do that online too)
    2. Fax
    3. E-mail
    4. Project blog
    5. RSS – subscribe to news sources with feeds of information that pertains to the project. Google reader has been discontinued.
  4. Assessing new communication technologies
    1. Competitive advantage (cost, time, preventing mistakes)?
    2. Can the team learn it quickly?
    3. Does the company offer support?
    4. What is the cost of training and implementation (time and money)?

Selecting a Software

  1. Simple projects – can be managed by general software
    1. Word processing
      1. File format
      2. Consistent styles
      3. Templates for common forms
    2. Spreadsheets
      1. Often used to manage data on simple projects (When there were just 4 of us working on a project, and more 2 than anything else, a spreadsheet was perfect).
      2. Can track milestones over time
  2. Moderately complex projects – involve more people, separated more geographically
    1. Sharing documents – everyone needs to be able to access documents. Edits need to be controlled so it is not lost or confused.
      1. Version control and file storage
      2. Tracking changes and adding comments
    2. Diagraming Software – more complex projects will need more sophisticated technology that not all team members will have access to.
    3. Project Management Software – can be simple
      1. Can compute the sum of activity durations on different paths and recalculate to account for changes.
      2. Helps define relationships between tasks.
  3. Software for Complex projects – can involve thousands of activities.
    1. Need more sophisticated software

Lateral Thinking (De Bono, thinking hats)

  1. Each person has a hat and each hat has a role.
  2. Roles
    1. White: information gatherer.
      1. What do we know about this topic?
      2. No emotion, no evaluation
    2. Green: Creative thinker
    3. Red: emotional consideration
    4. Black: critical judgement
    5. Yellow: benefits and possibilities
    6. Blue: Organizer

Communication Tools

  1. Skype, Go to meeting, Google hangout, WebX, join.me
  2. Asana (instagant), AtTask
  3. Mindmeister
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