Project Management Communication Training From The Tool Man

Have you ever noticed how the best way to learn is to watch people who are really screwing up?

Call it the Tool Man Phenomenon.

I’ve been reminded recently that if you really want to destroy your chances of success on a project, the best thing you can do is neglect communication.

Specifically in this case, if you want to make a mess of things be sure to rely on email communication with your team for simple one-sentence questions even though they are about 20 steps away from your desk.

Whatever you do, don’t have weekly one-on-ones with your team to discuss their concerns and feedback, talk about status of current work, and future work and milestones that are relevant to them as an individual.

Oh Oh! Be sure to undervalue the importance of team tag-ups too, and when you do have team discussions, be sure to bog it down by making everyone sit through your gathering of status updates (because you didn’t do that in a one-on-one).

When there are activities going on that are related to your team’s work, be sure to not share it, even as an F.Y.I. No, instead you should figure that if you can’t think of how it impacts their work in some direct way, there’s no reason for them to know anything about it.

What other lessons are waiting out there for all of us? Have you witnessed a Tim “The Toolman” Taylor performing some educational magic on what not to do with regards to communication? Do share!

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I think I’m guilty of number two – definitely relying on email (and chat) a bit too much, especially as a remote team member. I could probably pick up the phone (or convert the Gchat to Gvid) more often…

Josh Nankivel

Me too Andy. I catch myself doing that, in fact I think I already did it once this morning already! Good thing we don’t have to be flawless to try to do better.

Kevin Lanahan

More Power! Always look for a software solution instead of actually dealing with people. As long as you have a great Gantt chart and can spend your time making Project Management files, you’ll never have to talk to your staff again.

Josh Nankivel

Very nice Kevin, and so true!

You can spend a lot of time playing around with different power tools, but a whole lot more goes into building something than making sure you have the tool with the most horsepower, especially if you don’t know how to use it for it’s only REAL use – to get the job done.

Jim Salb

Andrew, you bring up a great point; is video chat an acceptable communication medium for teleworkers? I believe it’s a better way to communicate than e-mail but still not as good as f2f. Is anybody using it on a regular basis?

Josh Nankivel

I actually like using a screen-sharing tool like WebEx while on the phone (or using VOIP with the tool) – usually we’re talking about something where a visual illustration keeps us on the same page – otherwise we might be looking at different things and get confused.