Your roadmap for unknown territory
Most project management challenges are (hidden) tasks related to communication. Our experience shows: Identifying these challenges helps project stakeholders to address and deal with them. This blog post provides an overview of the key elements of successful project communication. Upcoming blog posts will focus on the details of some of these key elements. In this English version of our blog, we will mainly be focussing on aspects that are relevant to international projects.
1. Internal project communication
Problems start at the top. Or, to put it into a more positive sentence: Only if your team feels really involved will it be possible to make use of their full potential for your project. This is what internal communication is all about. It includes four aspects:
1.1 Productive meetings
1.2 Informal interaction
1.3 Team building
1.4 Easy sharing of files and information
External communication: stakeholder involvement & pr
“Talk about your good deeds – and involve the relevant stakeholders as early as possible!” – Most funding bodies require you to share and publish your results, and they also want you to talk to relevant stakeholders at an earlier stage of your work. The idea is that, at an early stage, the exchange with stakeholders might not only help you to adapt your plans, but also gets them excited about (interesting) results that will come later. This can give you a good edge in the race for attention. However, choose the appropriate communication channels for your target group, and make sure you do not frustrate them. For example, do not actively involve your stakeholders in questioning your project targets if you have no intention of adapting them.
2.2 Activ involvement
2.3 Conferences and networking meetings (for expert audiences)
Tip: What are good formats to involve stakeholders?
Many helpful publications on how to design and implement participatory processes have already been written. An recent overview of different formats for the implementation of local case studies with stakeholder involvement can be found here:
Inman, A., Bendall, B., Borowski-Maaser, I. (2017). Stakeholder Involvement Strategies. A guide for Topsoil Pilots.
Communication with funding partners
Often neglected, this is a crucial point of successful project management: Good communication with the team of your funding body will help you tremendously, especially when you have to deal with unexpected problems, or when you need to adjust your project’s plan and budget. Of course, it might also have a positive impact on follow-up projects. So keep your contact person at the funding body well informed, even if no report is due right now – tell them about interesting news, and if you are writing a proposal, do not hesitate to ask for their feedback in an early phase. Funding bodies usually appreciate the chance to help with project ideas, because this way, the projects will better suit their programme later.
Full steam ahead?
Do you feel a bit overwhelmed by all the communication tasks lying ahead? Don’t worry. Good captains take a crew with them to make their journey a safe one. You can get support for your project, too. Ideally, some of your project proposal’s budget is already dedicated to this. But even if this is not the case, there usually is some flexibility that allows you to delegate some parts of the job to external experts. We can help you find it.
At your service: How can we support you?
We keep an eye on all aspects of project communication. For your external and internal communication, we offer: strategy development and implementation, moderation, mediation, event planning, set-up and implementation of public & stakeholder involvement processes. Of course, we are also happy to support you when developing your project idea and writing proposals for third party funding. Find out more!