Episode 062 - How to communicate like a conservation project manager
Here are five tips to integrate into your communication routine:
- Set project expectations. There are a few good ways to do this:
- Map the project with a responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed chart - a RACI chart
- Discuss your project goals and plan
- Discuss and approve what forms of communication you’ll use during the project.
- Discuss the project deliverables. What are you actually producing from this project and why. As a project manager you have to constantly check in on your deliverable status and review with your team where they are in the process. Communicating what you are going to deliver is essential for collaborating and building a stronger product at the end. Build your plan to include time to review, discuss, and critique your team deliverables.
- Conduct status meetings. Holding regular meetings will help you build your communication skills, your style, and reputations. Make sure status meetings are just that - you have an agenda, everyone shares, and that these brief get-togethers are just that… improve knowledge and collaboration. These are essential standup meetings that keeps everyone informed about the progress and what might be blocking progress. Decide if you want these meeting to be daily 15 minutes or weekly 50 minutes. This can change in various stages of your project as well. Towards the beginning weekly meetings might be more applicable as people do work, as the project comes to closure and there might be a need for daily updates. You have the responsibility and leadership to know what is best for the team.
- Ask questions… again project managers are inquisitive, you need to be in order to understand what’s going on and how you can help processes, people, and deliverables move along. Most of the team members you work with in a project are experts in their area - so they will have NEW ideas on how to do something while they are in the middle of the project. They may need to do a “work around” - a lot things may come up. So ask questions to understand if this new idea is scope creep or a work around for solve a project, keeping the project moving towards the purpose and goal is important and in the end the more you understand the work the easier it will be to advocate changes and new projects once you’ve completed this one. If you are not able to integrate the new idea this time, you can advocate for it and bring this topic up to stakeholders to plan for future projects.
- The last overarching topic for communicating like a conservation project manager is… to set the tone for effective communication. You are being paid to lead. And the bottom line is no matter what you do, be open to discussion how you communicate with your team. You want to know what is best for the project while also being open and willing to adapt if that will set a tone of positive collaboration. All that together will lead to success you can count on it.
There are more tips inside this episode. Make sure to listen through all of them.