Dear Project Manager: What's Your Mobile Communication Strategy?
- This post introduces the SoftPMO Mobile Communication Strategy Survey which is located here.
Where does mobile tech fit in?
You’re a modern project manager. You use modern tools to help run your project and communicate with your team, your project sponsors, and your stakeholders. Where do mobile technologies like smart phones, tablets, and wearables fit in?
To answer that question you have to decide what kind of relationship you need to engage in with your project’s different interest groups. T
eam members, sponsors, and stakeholders relate differently to your project. Your mobile communication strategy should reflect that.
Mobile tech and team members
For example, team members need to know what they’re supposed to do, how they’re supposed to do it, and they need feedback from you on how well they did it. Most likely they’ll also differ in terms of their access to and adoption of different mobile technologies.
Some team members might avoid your project’s intranet site like the plague, preferring to use their mobile devices for web access. Other team members might prefer receiving documents as email attachments they can open at their leisure with their office computers or iPads.
You need to take the needs of both groups into account, especially if they aren’t involved at all decision levels or in all stages of the project.
Sponsors and stakeholders
Sponsors and stakeholders have different information needs. They’re probably less interested in the details of what needs to be done next. They do need to know if the project is on track and is meeting — or likely to meet — their own needs and expectations. Communication with them should be both more personal and more “official,” personal because you want make sure the right message is being communicated, and more official since — let’s face it — as the Project Manager you’re on the hook for the success of the project.
Your “mobile communication strategy” needs to reflect such distinctions. One way is to make sure that project related messages received by team members and stakeholders are (a) properly “branded” as coming from the project and (b) accompanied by sufficient contextual information so that even casual project participants can interpret the meaning and significance of the message.
For example, if a busy executive stakeholder gets hundreds or of emails every day and something as simple as your update email subject line is automatically generated and unchanging like PROJECT UPDATE, your important update might not even get a click, your executive stakeholder “missed the memo” — and you know how that oversight can lead to bad consequences.
Message context and message recipient
Let’s say you do set a notification flag on a key project document — e.g., a deliverables status report — on your project’s intranet site to inform key stakeholders whenever the document changes. When they receive the notification by email while traveling will they know why they are receiving the notice? Will they know what to do — or what you want them to do? Will they be able to read the relevant portion of the document? Or, will they have to go through the cumbersome process of waiting to read the document when they get back to the office at some unknown future date?
Project Communication Management
It pays to think through to this level of detail in your mobile communication strategy planning, especially if you expect that mobile technologies will be a significant element in how people engage with your project. This is why the Communication Management Plan template is one of the “basic” planning templates in the SoftPMO program management solution toolkit and why we now want to update it to make sure it accommodates project use of mobile technology.
The SoftPMO Communications Management Plan template
You can see SoftPMO’s current communications management plan template here. This is one of the 47 different process templates currently available in the SoftPMO system. In this example the the template takes its most basic form: an easy to work with Microsoft Word document.
Request for Participation: The SoftPMO Mobile Communication Strategy Survey
We’d like to update this process template to improve how it reflects the role mobile technologies play in project communication. To support this we’re conducting a brief online survey to find out how projects are handling mobile technologies; this will help us understand how the process template should be modified.
If you’d like to provide feedback on the planning template via a brief online survey please go here for the Mobile Communication Strategy Survey; there are 8 questions and we estimate the survey will take about 5 minutes to complete. The first question in the survey is a basic qualifier:
1. During the past twelve months have you managed or participated as a team member in one or more projects involving 5 or more team members?
When we’re finished updating the template we’ll send a copy of the template to everyone who helped as a way of saying “thank you!”
- Contact Michael Kaplan or Dennis McDonald.
- Michael is a veteran project manager with experience ranging from construction to finance and IT. He developed SoftPMO after realizing that project managers need a practical, down to earth guide to “best practices” regarding the communication and process management issues surrounding real world project management. Starting with a Guidebook of distilled practical knowledge he has evolved SoftPMO into a comprehensive cloud based platform adaptable to a wide range of project types.
- Dennis is an IT consultant with 30+ years’ experience in product development, systems integration, and collaboration. From a background in document management and electronic publishing he has developed a hands on understanding of how modern collaboration and knowledge management tools can support effective project management. His professional web site is located at www.ddmcd.com.