4 reasons poor communication cause projects to fail
One of the deciding factors of a successful project is good communication. This helps promote effective collaboration, transparency, and strong stakeholder management. This doesn’t just mean communication to investors and interested parties, this also includes communication to the project team and associated partners.
“Your ability to communicate with others will account for 85% of your success in your business and in your life”
But what happens when a project doesn’t adequately invest in its communications?
Research conducted by the Project Management Institute found evidence suggesting that ineffective communication contributed to project failure. On average, one in five projects don’t meet their business goals or intent because of poor and ineffectual communication.
4 reasons why projects fail
No clear direction
Communication often fails when a project doesn’t have a defined and clear objective. If there isn’t a clear goal then stakeholders, employees, and the project team don’t know what they are meant to do or say.
When a project doesn’t have sufficient project management or a defined plan, the communications aren’t able to focus on expected outcomes.
The project isn’t able to properly raise awareness about its purpose, the benefits and outcomes or the actions required from individuals to ensure the projects success. It doesn’t get the full support or buy-in from stakeholders, employees, and other interested parties.
Lack of project communication plan
Without a well-developed project communication strategy and plan, the project isn’t able to effectively connect with its project team or stakeholders. These key people aren’t able to understand the objectives, benefits and milestones of the project and their role in achieving these goals.
Without clear planning, all involved could have very different concepts and expectations around what the project is all about. This could then lead to various problems, like delays and financial difficulties.
No stakeholder engagement
If you don’t have strong relationship with your stakeholders, they are not going to understand the reasons for the project or what they aim to solve, improve, develop or renew.
But just communicating isn’t enough. The communications need to resonate with the stakeholders. If the communications aren’t getting through, then you need to change your language, change your approach, develop a story that incites, inspires and encourages your people to connect with the project.
“Everyone needs to understand the long-term goal so they can know how they’re contributing, how they’re making an impact”
Lack of transparency
If you’re not honest and open with your stakeholders, people and interested parties, they won’t believe in your project and will disengage and distance themselves from it.
Even if the project isn’t going according to plan, this still needs to be communicated. Stakeholders need to be updated about the progress, what the project is for, what it will achieve and how it will benefit people after the project is complete.
If this doesn’t happen, then stakeholders and your people lose trust in your ability to deliver the project and could doubt its outcomes.
How you can help ensure your projects success
So, I’ve given you some insight into why projects fail due to poor communication. Let’s recap over how you can achieve project success through effective communication.
- Have a clear vision, project plan and timeline
- Develop a unified communication strategy and plan aligned to the project’s objectives
- Keep your stakeholders and people informed
- Use relatable, consistent language that resonates with your people
- Tell your stakeholder the good and the bad
“Consistent communication is critical to any successful project. Communications protocol developments and appropriate information and knowledge distribution allows the team to meet original business goals efficiently. The more information that is shared across the organisation regarding a project or deliverable, the chances of scope creep diminishes”
PMI’s The Essential Role of Communications