Your team’s communication strategy is always evolving. Just moving from one project to the next, you’re likely to find different sets of requirements and expectations as your list of sponsors and end users changes. But communication trends are changing, too. By understanding these trends and how they affect your stakeholders’ preferences, you can more easily adjust your processes and better position your team to provide the information people want, quickly respond to inquiries, drive engagement across cross-functional groups, and deliver the best project results possible.
Data on demand. A growing array of people across the project spectrum—team members, end users, senior staff, vendors, business partners—have come to expect quick and easy access to data. The ability to provide reliable and timely data is now table stakes for many organizations, but your internal team may still lack the resources to push out every timeline revision or every budget update. That’s where the adoption of an on-demand data platform is key. You’ll know you’re communicating the latest, most accurate information to every stakeholder so everyone can make sound project decisions without weighing your group down with additional work.
Rich visual elements. Videos, photos, and other visual imagery have skyrocketed in popularity and project management is a sector that can greatly benefit from this communication trend. Look for opportunities to use graphics as part of your presentations, particularly when a visual representation enables you to translate complex or cumbersome data into a more easily digested form. With visual elements, your stakeholders can also get a first-hand look at the fruits of your company’s efforts—a video walk-through of a construction project or a virtual tour of the latest software release, for example. The ability to see project results beautifully rendered in a visual format, rather than simply reading about them in a weekly report, makes a significant difference in stakeholder engagement levels.
Frictionless collaboration. The big shift to work-from-home led to much wider use of online collaboration technologies, and that trend toward digital discussions is likely to continue even as onsite operations resume and stakeholders increasingly blend remote work with in-office visits. Share information, brainstorm, problem solve, and maintain robust ongoing conversations by utilizing collaboration tools that are already familiar to your team as well as your customers. You can bring everyone together no matter where they’re working and even allow anyone who missed a group event to review the material through recordings posted on your company or project intranet page.
Multiple engagement platforms. Your stakeholders likely use a greater number of disparate technologies to communicate than ever before. E-mail is still popular, of course, but it’s been joined by instant messenger and chat applications for quick communications. For more full-featured discussions, video conferencing solutions and other platforms support complementary elements such as virtual whiteboards and document sharing capabilities. By tapping into those same channels, you can continue to keep team members, business partners, and sponsors engaged and your project on track for a successful completion.
Online learning. The move toward e-learning has addressed many of the challenges project teams faced over the years. A wider variety of digital courses are more freely available and wait times for available seats are short (or nonexistent). Time is no longer consumed by travel, making the experience more efficient for employees as well as the business. Costs for online training is competitive with—and sometimes less than—traditional in-person sessions. If your team’s ongoing education program has lagged over the years, the trend toward e-learning opens up a can’t-miss opportunity to boost your knowledge base and improve your project performance over the long term.