Financial Project Management Communication Skills
Brent Loewen, Senior Manager, Rackspace Hosting
These are edited excerpts from Brent Loewen’s presentation at the ITFMA Financial World of Information Technology Conference July 2011
Poor communication is one of the biggest reasons why a project fails. Use an "elevator speech” to help team members practice framing the need and articulating the project vision in a clear, simple and meaningful way. It is the communication of clear purpose that helps to overcome resistance and accelerate projects. Try this...imagine a chance meeting of a team member and a key stakeholder in an empty elevator with a 90 second ride. Describe the need for the project and the vision of the new state, as one might respond to the question, "Why are we doing this project?” For example, "Your participation, as we collect data and understand what contributes to cycle time and risk of these transactions, will be important to our success. You will be able to track the project on the Intranet home page...”
In addition to being able to concisely describe your project, you will also need to develop a strategy to manage all financial project communications. Create a communication plan to ensure that the project’s champion, process owner, and key stakeholders are aware of the team’s purpose (why), affected parties (who), the team’s goals and objectives (what, how), timing (when), and the team’s members (by whom). An effective plan help’s create a shared need.
The language we use to communicate about a project has a strong influence on how the project is perceived inside and outside the project team. Keep your project from "spinning” out-of-control by pro-actively creating concise project definitions rather than letting them be defined by others’ reactive responses.
- Develop a 5 word definition for your project and control the buzzwords that will be associated with your project
- Develop a 5 sentence definition for your project – 5 sentences that can be shared in a 30 second conversation (elevator speech)
- Develop a 5 paragraph definition for your project – for a 10 minute talk with a high level manager that covers the project’s why, who, what, how, when and by whom as described above.
Copyright © 2011 by the IT Financial Management Association.
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