Communication is hard – and not just for project managers. What you may think is standard knowledge, may not necessarily be understood by others. Take, for example, text acronyms. As Phil Dunphy from Modern Family demonstrates in this clip “WTF” may mean something completely different to you than it does for someone else. The same goes for requirements docs, wireframes, mock-ups, etc. This is why team communication is so important.
It’s no surprise that the lack of effective team communication is a huge contributor to why projects stall or are delayed. It is also hard to communicate the technicalities of a project, especially when your audience isn’t technical. Visual tools such as use cases, diagrams, and flow charts are simple ways to try and address the communications divide, but static deliverables cannot fully illustrate stakeholder wants such as look and feel, business functionality, and the user experience.
Software is getting more complicated and that makes it even harder to communicate with just text. For example, when GMAC was launching their new venture, Ally Bank, they needed to be able to show their stakeholders how the new website would look in terms of branding and not necessarily explain to the non-technical executives how it worked. With iRise, stakeholders were able to review iDocs on their own time, and provide feedback without confusing requirements documents or wireframes. In the end, GMAC was able to successfully visualize the entire future of Ally’s online presence, get buy-off from all stakeholders, and ultimately get it into production much faster than if they had done it the “old way”. iRise enabled the team to have a clear and open line of communication throughout the project.
Don’t wait for the mistake to happen – keep lines of communication open to avoid project risk.