Communication is key. Fluid lines of communication unite your team and can be the means to succeed in even the harshest projects and navigate client demands. An ideal IT project communication strategy sets an environment that facilitates teamwork and helps every member achieve their desired outcome.
But how do we determine effective team communication strategies and measure its result? After all, there are no benchmarks from which you could base your team’s effectiveness. So instead, I recommend setting unique goals that reflect on your objectives as a team and company.
Goal-Based Team Communication Strategies
Before you set these goals, ensure that your team reaches a common understanding even regarding the definition of the goal. Then, remember that overall goals mean different things for the individual instead of your organisation in general.
Teams must understand their precise tasks and responsibilities, and communication is key to ensuring that. Whether directly or indirectly, reminding individuals that even the most mundane tasks contribute to the overall mission.
Therefore, a clear strategy is essential to identify and resolve problems before they become significant issues. They are also crucial for keeping project stakeholders aware of the process.
Better team communication strategies begin with consistency. With check-ins, it’s possible to collaborate within a routine and set positive expectations with clients. It’s here that we discuss project challenges, collaborate, gather feedback, respond to questions, and get a head-start on new developments.
Consider the language barriers that arise from cross-border teams and keep cultural differences in mind. Some of the best teams are increasingly diverse and international – and I’ve written about this extensively!
The irony behind meetings is their disruptive nature to workers across the digital world. So whether you’re managing a team of coders or a squad of creatives, be aware that excessive discussions require persons to ‘hit pause’ on their deep work.
This depends on your company, of course, but daily scrums can be excessive unless a client is breathing down your neck. In relative ‘peacetime’, a weekly check-in should be more than sufficient. Best practices would be to meet at a scheduled time and take no longer than 30 minutes.
Remember, the objective is to keep everyone on the same page. Everyone with a stake should be able to: share their progress, identify roadblocks, and ultimately understand the next steps. Keep the ‘big picture’ in mind before discussing with clients, including preparing for possible discussion points that could come up with the client.
Zoom, Teams, Hopin, and the likes – they bring us together. And with tools like these, a consistently scheduled face-to-face meeting will go a long way in your working relationship. The most effective catch-up meetings happen on Mondays and Tuesdays. When you engage in these discussions, your team’s primary focus should be on goals and deliverables for the upcoming week.
Your engagement is critical, too, as you’re tasked with notifying stakeholders and inspiring confidence in the ongoing process. Technology has gone a long way – and in these environments, any team member can now post a discussion, push an update regarding the project’s development, or even share media.
Informal messaging is unavoidable. Of course, there are ways to take advantage of less structured team communication strategies. They can be divided into two types – let’s explore them here.
Not all communication happens each week, and sometimes, an impromptu talk is all that’s necessary.
These work best when the client needs to add something to our attention in an upcoming discussion. Remember that these address mundane matters and should be a jumping-off point for the weekly meetings that you will use to address complex issues.
Slack, Teams and other tools are designed for internal discussions between meetings and support daily scrums. Here, the development team can collaborate as it works through the development cycle. Clients can also issue their input through the likes of Basecamp. Of course, there are multiple applications to consider, so be sure to refresh your toolbox from time to time.
Many clients opt for a weekly call or email to review project progress. It’s here that they can obtain a deliverables summary. This notification essentially boils down information into a single post and instils confidence that you’re making tangible progress.
Use these meets to start your week off with clear goals and priorities with the client and team. Once you conclude these meetings, be sure to end it with a shared post identifying accomplishments, works in progress, and to-dos. Friday’s are ideal for such updates as they include details and progress regarding goals and priorities.
Identify Red Flags
As the expression implies, each team member has to inform of issues ahead of time. Once we become aware of emerging problems, our task will be to identify possible solutions and determine their impact on the project.
Of course, custom solutions also mean ‘custom problems’, meaning dedicated software solutions need more commitment. A competent software team should be able to communicate this and demonstrate their experience in such situations.
Remember, regardless of how much upfront planning there will be, your team will encounter some form of unseen bump along the way. As experience will demonstrate, project success is determined by our actions and reactions. Proactive communication, therefore, is a necessity, regardless of the severity of the problem.
In all, identifying roadblocks early and effective team communication strategies enables better synergy and a productive working relationship. You will successfully navigate the thickest cultural and linguistic barriers through clarity and elaboration - on even the most minuscule aspects of a project.
Remember, never assume everyone understands the ‘read my lips approach,’ ask questions early on, and stick to your meetings. The rest, as they say, should take care of itself!