Effectively managing project communication is one of the most critical, yet often misapplied, project management skills. The good news is that Guru.com is ready to support your project with several useful tools to keep everyone on the same page.  With this in mind, here are some general tips on how to maintain consistent, focused project communication.

Effective project communication requires that you:

  1. Share contact information. The lack of shared contact information is one of the primary contributing factors to communication lapses. While Guru.com Project Messages are ideal for most day-to-day project communication, it doesn’t hurt to share an alternative method of communication such as a business phone, IM information or an email address for backup use.
  2. Communicate according to a set schedule. Prior to starting the project, set the expectations for project communication by establishing a defined communication schedule that respects both parties’ time commitments (daily, weekly, bi-weekly).  Keep in mind that most Employers and Freelancers are simultaneously managing multiple projects. Guru.com’s Work Room  contains several project management tools (Discussions, Milestones & Tasks, and Files) that will help you to organize upcoming events and keep your project on track.
  3. Be clear and concise. As most folks are managing multiple project deadlines, it would be to everyone’s benefit to have discussion points and items of concern concisely outlined before presenting them to the other party. Organizing an agenda will ensure that teleconferences and chat discussions are are conducted in an efficient manner. This list can then be forwarded as an attachment to document discussion topics for future reference.
  4. Account for barriers. Participants in today’s global marketplace may encounter language obstacles which can hinder the understanding of project instructions and requests. While these situations can be awkward, it is best to address them upfront, rather than letting them persist. If spoken communication becomes arduous, you may want to suggest communicating through Guru.com Project Messages. Be sure to promptly seek clarification on fuzzy concepts, and ask pointed questions to confirm that the other party understands your direction. Also, remember to be mindful of time zone differences!
  5. Allow reasonable time for response.  Of course this rule is subject to looming deadlines, but in most non-critical cases, we’d suggest allowing one business day for a reply. The urge to send repeat follow up emails can be tough to resist, but oftentimes this practice creates additional layers of confusion, which in turn only serve to extend the timeframe for reply.  Similar to the second point mentioned above, it is recommended that response time be defined and agreed upon prior to the start of the project.

Have any additional tips on how to manage project communication? Please share your best stories and advice with the community here.

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