Communication Diagram in Project Management

Communication Diagram
An effective communication diagram begins and ends with the project manager. The ultimate goal is to tell each one involved and communicate how each individual was contacted by the project manager.

Communication Diagram - Who Messed Up?

In one of Andy Griffith's funniest classic TV series, Barney the deputy joins the choir but couldn't sing. Among the scenes shows the choir sneaking in a rehearsal in an unannounced location without the tone-deaf deputy, to just have him appear. Very first thing he wants to know is--who messed up and forgot to phone him about the new spot? Even though this was a case of wittingly failing to communicate, in a project that goes sour because of a deficiency in communication, first thing every higher up will require the answer to is--who ruined?

A project manager worth being in charge automatically realizes that--in the end--any link of a broken communication chain, comes to rest solely on her shoulders. That's why it is crucial a savvy project manager create a communication diagram that begins and ends with her.

Communication Diagram - Solid Gold Communication

In accordance with the Project Management Templates website, interaction is primarily the effective and complete trade from one person or individuals on a project team to another individual or people. Effective communication on a project starts immediately--and it begins from the superior. The project manager is liable for relaying the objective of the task to her team.

A project that gets off on the wrong foot often starts with poor communication. If you have ever been in a workspace where the managers love keeping group employees in the dark until everything hits the fan, you know what a weakening environment poor interaction breeds. The circle of any communication diagram starts with a desire for the project manager to let everyone on the team know what is happening. It is the vital initial step in the successful management of any job.

The Circle of Interaction Diagram's Nuts and Bolts

The Circle of Interaction diagram includes:

Project manager name and contact information - Email, fax, work phone, home phone or cell phone. Single team members needs to have at least 3 ways to reach the manager in the event of an emergency.

Each group members contact information - Team members should be able to be reached two to three ways in the event of emergency.

Project purpose - A simple mission statement or objective statement narrating the project.

Coordination instructions - Previously called a Phone Tree, it can also be called a Contact Tree which means a basic list of who comes into contact with whom. This list should list the project manager at the top of the list. Even if another team member comes into contact with the project manager to alert her of a problem on the project, the executive should be reported first and in turn, formally begin the Contact Tree.

Notes on who contacted and how - This is crucial and each team member needs to document how he contacted the individual on his branch along with what the result was, e.g., left a message or made contact. Each member of the Contact Tree needs to broadcast this information to the next individual, so all of the documented contact information can be relayed to the project manager, hence finishing up the circle.

Communication Diagram - A Little Redundancy is a Good Thing

Business Success

The Chairman and previous CEO of Intel once remarked that only the paranoid survive and complacency breeds failure. Redundancy in the circle of an interaction diagram may at times seem like overkill, but it is essential. It serves the purpose of ensuring the project manager that each team member has been contacted and is updated on the task.

Whenever the project manager discovers a group member was left a message and not directly contacted, she needs to have back-up instructions to either contact that team member herself, or direct the individual chargeable for contacting that individual to keep trying until contact is made, based on the urgency of the communication. In the end of the circle, the project manager ought to know exactly who was correctly contacted, and who wasn't, and what's being done about it.

To take out the, "who ruined?" question being uttered on your watch, download this Circle of Communication Diagram and implement it the next time you're in charge.