Project hrm & communications

PROJECT HRM & COMMUNICATIONS

Executive Summary

The role of a project manager in project communication management consists of Identifying stakeholders, Planning communications, Distributing Information and Managing Stakeholder expectations and Reporting performance

A key role of the project manager is to create a communications management plan to analyze stakeholder communications needs and disseminate important information efficiently.

Richer forms of communications should be used for important objectives

The Tuckman model developed by Dr. Bruce Tuckman in 1970 describes 5 stages of team development such as Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing and Adjourning

If project managers depended too heavily on money, penalty or authority, the project was more likely to fail compared to work challenge and expertise which were more influential

Project Managers should set an example by leading their teams such that the team members should know how to deal with conflicts, where team members work out small conflicts amongst themselves before elevating them to the higher ups

Project managers and team members could use these strategies such as confrontation, compromise, smoothing, forcing, withdrawal and collaboration

Project practitioners should adhere to the PMI's Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in dealing with conflict amongst team members.

1. Introduction:

There are four core knowledge areas of project management that deal with project scope, time, cost and quality management which help in defining the specific project objectives. Human resource, communications, risk and procurement management are the four facilitating knowledge areas. These four facilitating knowledge areas are processes that help in achieving the project objectives and hence are important. The greatest threat to any project is the ineffective communication between the project manager, team and the key stakeholders. Many problems in completion of projects are attributed to unclear scope or unrealistic schedules which indicate communication problems between the project manager, team and stakeholders. It is crucial for project managers and their teams to understand Project communication management. Project communication management deals with generation, collection, dissemination and storing of project information (Schwabe, 2010)

This next section deals with the role of a project manager in a communication management plan and the elements involved in it. Further sections show how project managers establish team culture, the characteristics of motivation, conflicts, strategies on conflict resolution and ethical behavior in dealing with conflicts.

2. Communication :

Communication is very important for the success of any project. It is also closely related with team work and team building and hence also affects how conflicts happen. A communication management plan for the entire project is very necessary. The role of a project manager in project communication management is given as follows:

a. Identifying Stakeholders : This stage identifies the people involved in or affected by the project. The project manager creates processes and manages relationships with them. The project manager must create a Stakeholder register and Stakeholder management strategy.

b. Planning communications : This stage identifies the communication needs and the channel of communication required by the stakeholder. A communications management plan and project documents update are required made by the project manager.

c. Distributing Information and Managing Stakeholder expectations : The Project manager makes important information available to project stakeholders efficiently and in a timely manner, such that it satisfies the communication needs and expectations of the project stakeholders. Formal or informal plans, procedures, policies are the output of this stage.

d. Reporting Performance : A project manager collects and reports project performance information to the stakeholders in the form of status reports, forecasts and progress measurements (Schwabe, 2010)

Developing information and making it available to all the stakeholders is an important function of the project managers and team. Project managers and their teams must decide the recipient of the information and distribution channels for the information. They should also decide on the format of the information, such as written reports or meetings etc. A key role of the project manager is to create such a communications management plan to analyze stakeholder communications needs and disseminate important information efficiently.

According to the Daft and Lengels Media richness theory, the richness of the media in communication is directly proportional to the time and cost spent on it. Hence face to face communication is preferred to email because of better communication but it is more costly and more time is spent. Thus richer forms of communications should be used for important objectives (Markus L, 1994)

3. Establishing team culture

Team work and people management are the most important issues in project management. Establishing and motivating teams are interlinked with communication and are important to understand before understanding conflict and the ethical issues related with conflict.

Belbin observes that, "The essence of a team is its members form a co-operative association through a division of labor that best reflects the contribution that each can make towards the common objectives."

To establish a team the project manager can use the following graphical techniques:

The Tuckman model developed by Dr. Bruce Tuckman in 1970 describes 5 stages of team development such as:

This model gives a brief idea about where conflict occurs within a team and at what stage. This could be used by the project manager to handle conflicts effectively during the storming stage.

Establishing the right balance of roles in any team is crucial in avoiding or resolving conflicts. In a successful team there is a good combination of different personality types. According to Meredith Belbin a successful team needs the following combination of roles:

A good blend of different personality types in a team will help in formation of less conflicts and resolving conflicts faster. According to Patrick Lencioni, lack of teamwork could lead to a) Absence of trust b) Conflict c) Lack of commitment d) Avoidance of accountability

e) Inattention to results which could lead to failure of organizations.

The team consists of individuals with different needs and expectations from the team. Motivation plays a very crucial part in the development of a team and its individuals as discussed in the next section

4. Motivation : To understand the various factors that influence motivation we need to understand the "hierarchy of needs" of an individual. In the late 1940, Maslow suggested that people are motivated according to their circumstances. In this theory is the idea that the employees needs have to be satisfied from the bottom up as shown in Fig. 2. The bottom level consists of basic survival and safety needs. The need for belonging and to be part of a group or a team comes second. The fourth level is about the ego and esteem needs and the final level is the personal fulfillment level. Project manager and project team members need to understand their respective motivations with regards to social, esteem and self actualization (Cadle and Yates, 2001)

Some of the methods employed by project managers to motivate or influence team members to work towards achieving a successful project are:

Thamhain and Wilemon found that if project managers depended too heavily on money, penalty or authority, the project was more likely to fail compared to work challenge and expertise which were more influential (Schwabe, 2010)

Some of the factors that affect motivation of employees are as follows:

5. Conflict Resolution and Ethics

The possibility of conflict between team members is always possible unless good communication isn't observed. Some of the common reasons for conflict between team members are as follows

Project managers should help identify and manage conflict by using their human resources and communication skills. Project Managers should set an example by leading their teams such that the team members should know how to deal with conflicts, where team members work out small conflicts amongst themselves before elevating them to the higher ups. The project manager must separate people from the problem and use negotiation to resolve dispute. Unethical behavior should be avoided by both the parties. Negotiation amongst project manager and team members such that:

According to Meredith and Mantel, negotiation skills are particularly required a) when using subcontractors b) different teams are brought together to work on a task c) during change management. In the event of a conflict, the following principles of negotiation should be adopted:

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