4 Tools to Achieve Excellent Project Communication

4 Tools to Achieve Excellent Project Communication

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Friday, 02 June 2017 08:09

If you have been managing projects for some time, you know the importance of good communication. Good communication is the key to setting the right expectations, to spot issues before they arise and to solve problems as soon as they come up.
Unfortunately, good communication does not come easy.
Have no worries: here is a roadmap for making it happen...


The following four tools can help you to effectively "engineer" a plan for keeping everyone on the same page. By using all these tools you will be able to achieve crystal clear and real-time communication with everyone involved in your projects.
Needless to say, this will result in lots of time and money saved and fewer headaches for you.


 

1. Project Schedule 

Having a clear vision of what comes next is the first important step to keep everyone walking in the same direction and at the same speed. With this in mind, the Project Schedule is vital for setting the pace on the project.

The best way to set up a Project Schedule is to use a Gantt Chart.
In-depth analysis of why Gantt Charts are important and how to use them can be found in these articles:

 

A few tools you can use for making your Gantt Charts are:

  1. Excel: forget it... it might be free to setup but it takes time and it take ages when you need to modify it or to update it.
  2. MS Project: still one of the best choices but expensive and not cloud based (unless you use the even more expensive server version). Not on the cloud means you work on physical files and they can be opened by one user at a time... meaning you risk working on outdated copies.
  3. Smartsheets, Tom's Planner, ConceptDraw: cloud based and packed with features. It can be a bit overwhelming to get started with these tools since they are quite complex.
  4. Leansite: cloud based, with all important features you need to make a plan without wasting your time obsessing about it.

 

Take your time to have a look at those tools and pick one, the one that makes the most sense given your organization, your projects and the time you have available for the schedule... and remember: proper planning is really important!

 

leansite gantt schedule


 

2. Board of Activities 

Having a clear picture of daily and weekly activities is the best way to avoid misunderstandings and to set the right expectations for everyone on the Team.

Kanban boards are with no doubt the best tool for this purpose. We talked extensively about Kanban and its importance in Project Managment. Here are a few articles you can read to get more info on Kanban boards:

 

When it come to creating Kanban boards you can use one of the following tools:

  1. Excel: really... do you want even to make coffee with Excel???
    Of course, you can make a Kanban board with it but do not expect it to be clear and useful for your Team. It will be very challenging to keep it updated (at least without massive waste of time). Also, it is not on the cloud, so not accessible to everyone at the same time.
  2. Trello: among the Kanban-like cloud software it deserves a special mention. Very powerful and useful.
  3. Kanbanflow and Kanbantool: these are simple cloud-based Kanban boards and they do just that... give you a Kanban view of your activities.
  4. Leansite: cloud-based, a simple and effective solution to represent on one board planned activities, activities in progress, completed and approved.

 

Again, you need to do your homework and decide which one is better for you... but you definitely need to use one Kanban board for the daily management of your projects.

 

leansite kanban board workplan


 

3. Discussion Board & File Sharing

Discussion boards is where things become tricky.
Most Teams do not use discussion boards at all and project's information mainly moves by email. This is a very inefficient way of working because it causes unnecessary email traffic which generates the following problems:


  • it gets harder to deal with your inbox. Too many messages make it more difficult to focus your attention on what is really important;
  • it is harder and time-consuming to retrieve project's info from your inbox when you need it;
  • when many people are addressed in the email, it is often not clear who should take action;
  • lots of duplicate files. Note that this is VERY dangerous because it allows for people to start working on the outdated version of files sent by email.

 

The list above is not exhaustive but it gives a pretty good idea of the magnitude of the risks involved when using email as the primary tool for project's communication.
We stressed the importance of discussion boards in several previous articles and you can go have a look if you want to get more details:

 

If you want to bring Communication to an outstanding level, you MUST use a discussion board.
A few great tools for this are:

  1. Basecamp: basically the father of discussion-board-based projects. Lots of features... it can get complicated.
  2. Trello: worth testing. It can be hard to retrieve files since there is no view for all the files hosted in the application.
  3. Leansite: it doesn't get easier than this. We made it really simple for you to drop messages, assign activities and share files, images, documents.

 

leansite kanban discussion board


 

4. Mobile Integration

Last but not least, you should make sure that the information keeps flowing even when people are on the go or on the construction site.
When using cloud-based applications it is really easy to stay connected at all times and share all the important updates in real time with the whole Team.
We spoke of mobile integrations in these articles:

 

Of course, if you are using a different tool for each step of the process (Schedule, Kanban board, Discussion & Files) it becomes more challenging to manage everything from a mobile device. 

However, you can choose to be smart and use the same tool for the whole process. Given the lists provided above, the only two VERY smart choices might be Trello and Leansite.

 

Closing note: do NOT try to use chat programs for this purpose... it is really counterproductive (read this to know why).

 leansite teaser


  

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Published in Construction Site Facts/


Read 295 times Last modified on Friday, 02 June 2017 10:34

Andrea Bronzini

Brilliant and committed professional.
Andrea has been working in construction industry since 2004 and he was certified as Passivhaus Consultant in 2010.
Among other skills, Andrea specialises in Sales and Marketing and collaborates with Leansite in quality of Marketing Consultant.

Website: andreabronzini.com