Planning and Communication

Good Planning and Proper Communication will enable a project to be successfully accomplished.

A project that is planned well and communicated effectively could maximize the benefits and minimize the negative impacts. As individuals if we are good planners who can communicate well, we can make a big difference in whatever we do.

Process of Planning and Communicating:

When there is adequate time to plan for a project normal communication process should be sufficient.

But often times there arises a need for projects that are required to be accomplished on an expedited basis. In this kind of situations an aggressive communication process must be enforced. Sometimes over-communicating may not be a bad thing  for expedited projects in order for them to be successful.

On the contrary, projects that are planned well in advance but poorly communicated may not be successful or might have negative impacts in some areas.

Sometimes, in spite of good planning and communication, there is a chance that projects might fail due to external factors that are beyond our control. (Most of us would be able to relate to some kind of experience like this for sure!)

Just a note that the word “Project” was used in this article in a broad sense which could be related to any thing that we do on a daily basis.

Examples:

Friend’s Visit: Not long ago a friend of mine planned to visit the part of the country where I reside. He planned his trip three months in advance and purchased the airline tickets. He was looking forward to the trip. However, he did not communicate his travel plans with me until two weeks before his travel date. By then, I planned a vacation in another part of the country with my family. Unfortunately my friend was not able to meet me during that trip.

This is an example of good planning  but poor communication.

System Maintenance at an Internet Service Provider (ISP) Company: Sometime ago an internet service provider company had to plan a downtime for a major systems upgrade. This update was required since the current systems were in jeopardy of crashing due to the increased load.

Even though  this project had to be implemented on an expedited basis, they communicated well with the user community. The company provided extensive details on what is being upgraded and how this upgrade would  be beneficial to the customers in the long run. They also outlined the benefits by stating that there will not be another major outage of this magnitude in the future since they will be installing redundant systems.

Their communication process was very aggressive. They communicated via regular mail, emails and through telephone calls. As the time drew closer to the major systems upgrade, they communicated with the users by calling them and letting the them know about the upcoming downtime. Everything went well and they delivered the service well ahead of time. The project was a major success.

This is an example where a project was planned on an expedited basis but utilized good communication mechanism that helped to implement this major project successfully.

Flying Abroad: A few years ago one of my friend’s was traveling to a foreign country.

She had a stopover at Frankfurt,Germany and she has to take another flight to the destination country. As the flight was approaching the destination country, the flight crew received a message that the air traffic controllers in the destination country were on strike and they are not allowing the flights to land in that country during that time.

The air crew communicated and negotiated but in vain as the air traffic controllers in destination country did not give permission for this flight to land. The air crew took a quick decision to return back to Frankfurt, Germany. The passengers were stranded at the Frankfurt airport for a few days. There was no clear information on when the flights to the destination country would resume again. My friend was very tired and exhausted due to this uncertainty. She decided to fly back to the United States.

This is an example where the project was well planned and communicated but was unsuccessful due to external facts that are out of an individual’s control.

Good planning and proper communication would enable a project to be successfully accomplished. Planning and Communication must go hand in hand for the overall success of any kind of project.

Thanks for taking time to read this article.

You can share your thoughts here and leave a comment if you like to!

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2 comments

  1. Good article stressing the fact that planning and communication are equally essential for project success. Below are some my thoughts after reading the article…
    In the current social networked society that we live in, I think aggressive communication is (the new way of) communication. Nowadays, Information and OPINIONS about information spreads out so quickly to people (users, customers, investors, vendors etc) that the originator of the information quickly loses control of his message,

    Case in Point: Netflix recently announced a new pricing structure, which is essential to sustain their business model. But since they announced their new pricing model, there was such a backlash from social media and news media that netflix CEO has ultimately apologized on how the transition was handled.
    This case adds another example to the above article. I think there was nothing wrong with the way they planned the new pricing model, but they were unable to control their message once it was made public. People (users, customers, investors, vendors etc) expect to know the why, how and when of something/anything that is going to affect them. They were taken by surprise when they heard the “final decision” from netflix about the new pricing and not enough about “why” the change is required.

    Similar thing happened a while back with facebook privacy policy update, FB published new privacy policy guidelines (internally developed by FB), which took users by surprise. After the severe user backlash, they set up a collaboration site where they listed their privacy policy and took user comments and made amendments to the policy. This back and forth communication with FB users on FB turf (a collaboration site) helped FB control its message and get a widely accepted privacy policy in place.

    If only netflix was aggressive in communicating an upcoming change, letting people know why it is needed and taking some feedback (making changes if necessary), maybe the rollout would not have been that rough.

    1. Praneeth – Good Stuff.These are very good examples on the need for good communication in the social networked society that we live in.Thanks for taking time to read this article and for sharing your thoughts. – Paul

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