Project management is expanding within many associations and disciplines. However, looking for an ideal method of effective project management is one of the enormous challenges (Zulch, 2014). The core of each project deliverable is to create results using collaborative team effort, distinctive cost, a certain limit of time and related requirements. Consequently, projects can be considered as the association of various assets, including individuals, for the accomplishment of specific results with a timeline for completion.
A comparable report made by Zulch (2014) characterises project management as “an attempt with the particular target and restricted time” (p. 1003). The goal of a communications management plan is to advance the achievement of a project by meeting the data needs of project partners and blueprint the objectives of communications endeavours to reach and illuminate each gathering. Without point-by-point plans for communications exercises that recognise the authoritative approach and material assets expected to do them, Young (2013) argue that the project cannot secure required assets, facilitate endeavours with different gatherings or report its exercises and results to crucial oversight partners.
Communications planning exercises distinguish the fitting dimension of communication for each project partner as well as what data ought to be delivered and the recurrence of communications (Mikhieieva & Waidmann, 2017). This plan incorporates the tools of communications. The danger of poor planning could result in the inability to achieve key project targets, duplication of exertion and decreased partner certainty.
Therefore, the skill of communication is the principal factor for successful project management. Apart from that, communication is essential because of issues such as medium unpredictability, project update, alterations and the development process (Rathi & Given, 2017). Internal communication is a crucial skill for project managers in the era of data framework and hierarchical change projects (Mikhieieva & Waidmann, 2017).
It is the main route of communication through which project managers collaborate and maintain the association with partners. Furthermore, communication may not just be the information sent by the project administrator but it is also the serve as support for stakeholders (Mikhieieva & Waidmann, 2017). Therefore, communications assume a critical job for the accomplishment of any projects.
The skill of communication is the principal factor for successful project management. Moreover, communication is essential because of medium unpredictability, project updates, alterations and the development process. Effective internal communication is a crucial skill for project managers in the era of data framework and hierarchical change projects (Schwalbe, 2015). Based on these narratives, this investigation aims to evaluate critical analysis tools to support internal communication in IT project. This study will review the works of literature on project management, which would be its secondary sources.
Based on the purpose statement, this research formulates specific questions for intervention:
- What are the critical analysis tools in support of internal communication?
- How can project leaders communicate their activities internally?
Projects are commonly a transitory association that needs to be finished with lower dangers, costs and good management since they have explicit objectives at the start (Zulch, 2014). Projects are sure to work with a strong focal point of goals. They should be limited in a particular asset, specific time and specified organisation.
Communication is an essential component for the accomplishment of any project. It is necessary for progress in projects, alterations, task delivery and completion. The communication procedures of projects are described by the execution report, changes, conjectures, authoritative procedures and updates (Rodríguez, 2017). One central procedure of communication is information trade, which creates socialisation with stakeholders, coordination and shared comprehension in projects.
Internal communication is essential for projects progress and completion. External communication is related to dealing with the stream of data or overseeing communication to fulfil the requests of external partners (Rodríguez, 2017). When the multifaceted nature of projects is restricted, the understanding of communication is functional. Internal and external communication increases when the frequency of trade is high.
Research on project management revealed that deficient initiatives such as coordination, planning and specialised arrangements, restrictions of important deficient asset and evolving goals were the key indicators of project failures. The communication on projects showed that multifaceted project nature and rate change when social needs change. Consequently, the significance of project communication will heighten, as the project deliverables become complex (Rodríguez, 2017).
Internal communication is an element of successful collaboration among members within the association, while external communication is a trade of data with gatherings and different organisations outside the formal structure (Muszynska, 2018). Internal communication is fundamental for the best possible functioning of the organisation (Muszynska, 2018). Successful internal communication prompts a compelling picture of the organisation.
Some researchers compare internal and external communication by hierarchical limits because of the continuous interaction with external conditions. DeMaria (2016) contend that internal communication cannot be characterised based on the hierarchical limit because of the project workers affected by external conditions and media. The timing of data transfer is critical to the communication procedure. Internal communication deals with data trade, focusing on the messages, conveying communication and teaching employees to share data about their organisations (Newman, 2016).
Tools Used for Internal Communication
Tools are perceived as an item used to accomplish an original goal. As a result, communication tools empower data sharing between two or more partners. Information technology enables data to be transmitted between the encoder and the beneficiary (Parker, Kunde, & Zeppetella, 2017). A communication channel is a medium through which data voyages and a platform is a format by which data streams. Based on this context, the communication link is installed on the platform. Through this platform, data can be shared and searched among clients. Thus, a communication channel empowers discussions and texting.
Technology communication tools create channels for information transfer in virtual situations. As indicated by Turkulainen, Aaltonen and Lohikoski (2016), trust and security are vital in virtual conditions. However, Bourne (2016) recommended that data must be evaluated before transmission, but suggested that no proof of the relationship between data risk and confidentiality exists. Information technology will never have the capacity to supplant in-person communication in meetings, which will dependably be required to settle complex issues.
Furthermore, it has been suggested that information technology is relied upon to illuminate issues related to data sharing. However, individuals and organisations’ culture effect on project execution is regularly disparaged (Ozierańska, Skomra, Kuchta, & Rola, 2016). The challenge with information sharing is not to address knowledge zones, but to transmit data to be interpretable by the beneficiary as planned by the transmitter. Communication among members is one of the critical components in achieving project deliverables (Ozierańska et al., 2016). The most common tools used in support of internal communication management can be categorised into three divisions, which include in-person communication, printed communication and information technology communication.
Objectives and Methodology
The target of the research is to evaluate the critical analysis tools that support internal communication. This communication tool will be examined based on the developed criteria for effective internal communication. Proficient information exchange will result in recognisable proof of the most useful apparatus of correspondence. Further, the study will characterise how the apparatus can be deployed in an IT project to accomplish the best outcomes of data exchange. Project leaders in efficient task deliverables can deploy the result and enhance information management.
Criteria for Internal Communication in IT Project
The research identifies six criteria for internal communication management through references examination. The criteria include trust, communication, narrating application, spontaneity, collaborative involvement and adjusted discourse. In building trust, information management should be personalised for various groups because setting up connections dependent on common reliability is critical. As a result, sharing contacts, experience and confidential information becomes more straightforward and less risky to trust. Prompt criticism (collaboration and integration) is enhanced by a quick and genuine response to the conveyed message as it permits the adaptability of communication.
The collaborative involvement of more sense organs makes the content more grounded, progressively noteworthy and increasingly enlightening. As a result, face-to-face meetings provide an effective communication process. Impulsiveness in communication stimulates intuitive and uncontrolled messages, which enhance communication with progressive content. Adjusted discourse creates a balance in communication, were team leaders and stakeholders can both listen and make decisions using the interactive medium of communication. The context of the narrating application provides channels for shared emotions and storytelling. This criterion makes the discussion more fascinating.
Literature Review Process
Review of literature is one of the initial steps of data collection in any research project. At this stage, the researcher is expected to identify secondary sources of data relevant to the field of investigation (Pica, 2015). The primary focus of this study was to conduct critical analysis tools to support internal communication management in IT projects. The first step in the literature review process was to identify secondary sources that focus on this field.
They included relevant books, journal articles, and reliable online materials. These materials were used to conduct a general reading around the topic. The process made it possible to grasp facts about the topic under investigation (Rogers, 2016). It also helped in defining appropriate questions that the researcher had to use to collect data based on the topic of the study.
After formulating the questions, the researcher then focused on a more specific background reading of the literature. The aim at this stage was to answer the research questions and meet the set objectives using these secondary sources. The last stage was to draft the literature review section of the report that provides background information on the topic based on what other scholars have found out.
As shown in the Gantt chart at the appendix of this report, drafting of the literature review was a continuous process that started at the initial stages of the research to the final faces of writing the report. Some of the facts presented in the critical analysis had to be backed by information written by other scholars, making this process continuous. A list of all the secondary sources of data used in the paper is provided in the references section of this paper using American Psychological Association (APA) referencing format.
Figure 1 is a summary of the literature review process. Journal articles and books were obtained from Jstor, Google Scholar, Google Books, DOAJ and Ebsco. Through these sources, 95 abstracts were selected and their full texts reviewed. Then 40 of these sources were excluded for failure to meet specific criteria. The researcher used snowball references to add ten references. A further analysis of the sources was conducted and finally 57 were used in the report as shown in the figure below. The chart follows relevant academic standards.
Summary of Results
Analysis tools with quick reaction time and a medium where data can be stored are critical for an IT project. As a result, secured connections are considered to empower successful project communication. For the practical use of the outcomes in associations, the research suggests that the tools of communication are not connected in isolation. Communication tools form the general idea of internal communication, which results from organisational methodology and culture. In order to achieve results, it is vital to create the correct conditions for communication. The scope of its elements is broad, such as forming controls in the association, topology, setting up workplaces and virtual conditions.
The significance of Internal Communication Management in IT Projects
The concept of project management has gained massive popularity over the past two decades as an appropriate way of undertaking a given activity within a set period and with specific resources. According to Calvo-Mora, Navarro-García, and Periañez-Cristobal (2015), when undertaking an IT project or any other major project, one of the factors that would define success is the ability to maintain effective internal communication. In an IT project, different experts would be assigned different tasks depending on their skills and capacity.
These experts must maintain regular communication to ensure that they know milestones made, the next activities, and any new inputs that should be considered to enhance the success of the project (Schulzea, Nehler, Ottosson, & Thollander, 2016). The project manager has the sole responsibility of ensuring that he or she creates an effective internal communication system that would allow different stakeholders to share knowledge needed for the success of the project. The following are some of the areas that make internal communication management important:
Normal coordination of project’s activities
When undertaking a given IT project, the manager would need to coordinate activities of different teams to ensure that the intended goals are achieved within a given period (Schwalbe, 2015). One team may be assigned the responsibility of developing or assessing the software while another may be assigned to install the hardware. The project manager will need to communicate with different teams, understand the progress they have made, and determine how their activities can be merged at a given level. Effective communication is critical in achieving such goals (Conforto & Amaral, 2016). The form of communication that a manager would choose should depend on the size of the project, the size of the team involved in its implementation, and the geographic spread of the activities being undertaken.
Medium unpredictability is a common challenge when undertaking IT projects. It is common for issues to emerge that the team never expected in the process of undertaking a given project. Manole and Avramescu (2017) explain that whenever the project manager notices that new issues have emerged that was not previously anticipated, it would be necessary to communicate with all the relevant individuals. They need to be informed about these changes, what caused them, and most importantly their impact on the activities within the project. Such issues should be communicated as soon as they arise to ensure that necessary corrective measures can be taken.
When activities within the project are running as anticipated, the project manager should be informed about the milestones made by each team. It is not advisable to contact the project manager or other important stakeholders when everything is completed. Regular update of activities and follow-ups can help identify possible issues within the project and the manner in which they can be addressed before the completion of the project (Manole & Grabara, 2016). It ensures that everyone understands the progress and allows their inputs to enhance the success of the project.
According to Papke-Shields and Boyer-Wright (2017), it is common to have cases where alterations are needed when implementing an IT project. The alteration may be in the design, materials that should be used, or the audience targeted by the system. Emerging technologies or an increase in the size of an organisation may be the possible causes of the need to alter the original design of the project. Irrespective of the possible cause of the alteration, there should be immediate communication with the affected individuals within the project (Sheldon & Daniele, 2017). They should be promptly informed of the changes, possible reasons behind the alteration, and most importantly how they need to redefine their activities to meet the new objectives.
How Project Managers Communicate Their Activities Internally
Project managers have an important responsibility of ensuring that they maintain close internal communication with every stakeholder. In a report by Kerzner (2017b), the authors explain the significance of internal communication in project management and dangers that may arise when some stakeholders fail to maintain a regular and effective flow of information. Choosing the right communication platform is critical in enhancing project success (Snyder, 2013).
The size of the project team members, their geographic spread, the interval within which information should be shared, and technology embraced in the project are some of the factors that should be considered when choosing the right platform of communication (Rathi & Given, 2017). The following are popular communication platforms when undertaking IT projects.
Using face-to-face communication is one of the most popular approaches of delivering information from one party to the other. This traditional communication approach has remained popular in the era of technology. Milošević and Martinelli (2015) explain that when managing a project, this form of communication is the most effective. The physical interaction between the communicating parties often emphasises the significance of the need to pass the message.
One can read non-verbal cues such as facial expression and body language when communicating with an individual. It is also effective when conducting supervision of activities being undertaken in a given project. However, Chadli et al. (2016) point out that it is a physically demanding and time-consuming process. As such, it may not be used when supervising a large project that has numerous stakeholders who must be informed of various activities on a regular basis.
Phone calls have remained popular over the past century as a means of communication that enables both parties to get instant feedback. The emergence of cell phones has made it easy for project managers to communicate with specific individuals while they are in construction sites. Giudice and Peruta (2016) argue that using phone calls may be the most effective way of passing a message besides face-to-face communication. It allows the project manager to get clear information about a given issue and the manner in which it can be addressed. Radujković and Sjekavica (2017) argue that phone calls are popular because they are easy to use and do not require sophisticated installation like other complex communication systems such as video conferencing.
The biggest shortcoming of this form of communication is that the project manager will have to rely on the information given by the individual at the other end of the phone call. Some people tend to lie or exaggerate when communicating through phone calls (Niazia et al., 2016). As such, it may not be easy to ascertain the truth without being present at the site. Another shortcoming of this communication approach is that it only allows the project manager to speak to an individual at a time. Sometimes it becomes necessary to pass a message to a larger population. In such cases, the manager will have to make several phone calls and rely on team managers to deliver the message to specific team members.
Text messaging is another approach that a project manager can use to communicate with project members who are working on different tasks in a wide geographic location (Tan & Perleth, 2015). It addresses some of the shortcomings of phone calls. Instead of making phone calls to different individuals, the project manager can send a text message to every individual within the project. The mass-messaging application helps to reduce time that one would have taken to make phone calls to every team leader in the project.
However, this form of communication is less popular because of the lack of instant feedback that may be necessary (Kerzner, 2017a). It is not guaranteed that the recipient of the message would respond immediately. Just like phone calls, an individual may decide to lie about the progress of different activities involved in the project.
Project managers can communicate with team members internally through e-mails. This form of communication is effective when passing an urgent message to employees. Radujković and Sjekavica (2017) advises that employees should be encouraged to check their e-mails regularly to ensure that this form of communication is effective. Alternatively, a short message can be sent to these employees through their phones reminding them that a detailed message has been sent through their e-mail addresses.
Video conferencing is a relatively new communication platform that has gained popularity in the corporate world. It allows different parties to share knowledge and to discuss important issues affecting a firm without having to meet at a specific geographic location. The concept of video conferencing emerged out of the desire to have a system that would allow executives to have a boardroom discussion without having to travel to a specific central location (Siew et al., 2016).
It is not a popular form of internal communication when undertaking projects. However, it may be considered in some rare occasions, especially when the project manager has to communicate with projects coordinator or other top company officials who may want to know about the progress made in the project (Wang & Rafiq, 2014). It would allow the project manager to show to the parties involved the milestones and areas that still need to be addressed.
Use of social media
Social media has become one of the dominant communication platforms, which are very popular among young adults. In a report by Audretsch, Link, and Walshok (2015), almost every adult below 54 years who owns a smartphone uses some form of social media. Facebook is one of the popular social media platforms. This application has been enhanced and can be used by project managers to monitor the progress of different activities.
Unlike the videoconferences that require sophisticated systems to function, Facebook can be used in live coverage of activities within a given area so long as the user has a smartphone (Warburton, 2013). A project manager can monitor such progress by instructing the team leaders to use live coverage to report about the milestone. Other parties interested in the progress of the project can access such videos upon request.
WhatsApp has also become a popular chatting platform that can help in sharing critical information in a given project (Bachrach, Bendoly, & Wezel, 2015). A project manager can form a WhatsApp group where members can share about different issues that affect their operations, how to overcome these challenges, milestones achieved and new issues that might arise in the implementation process.
Carvalho (2015) warns that project managers should not ignore the power of social media, especially when dealing with millennial. However, mechanisms should be put in place to ensure that individuals involved in project implementation do not spend all their time on social media instead of working. Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and WhatsApp are very addictive (Campbell & Göritz, 2014). It is possible to find cases where employees spend their time on these platforms instead of undertaking specific tasks assigned to them. As such, team leaders should find ways of moderating the use of phone or other hand-held devices, which may be used to visit social media platforms when these employees are expected to work on given assignments.
Critical Analysis Tools to Support Internal Communication Management
When selecting an appropriate internal communication tool when undertaking an IT project, care should be taken to ensure that the intended goal is achieved. Barnes (2017) explains that most of the internal communications are often meant to be private. Some of these projects are sensitive and meant to grant a given firm competitive edge over rivals in the market. If such confidential information is released to the unintended audience, it may have serious ramifications.
It may cause a situation where the benefits that were meant to be enjoyed by a specific firm are shared by other entities, making it difficult to achieve the desired competitiveness in the market. As Cox (2013) explains, the desire to achieve secrecy should not impede the efficiency of the communication system. The platform chosen should allow the project manager to protect confidential information while at the same time making it possible for every stakeholder involved to access messages relevant for undertaking specific roles.
The critical analysis tools to support internal communication management helps to understand the effectiveness of each system that is used in project communication. Gao, Chai, and Liu (2018) argue that a firm may embrace different tools depending on the mode of communication taken and goals that have to be realised. A project manager should identify analysis tools to support internal communication management in the project.
He or she should know whether the communication system embraced in the project is capable of achieving the desired goals. The analysis tool that is used to support internal communication management would depend on the form of communication selected (Young, 2013). In this study, the researcher has classified the form of communication into three classes, in-person communication, printed communication, and information technology communication. In each category, different tools or concepts of analysis would be appropriate.
In-person communication, often referred to as face-to-face communication, is a form where two or more parties meet physically to deliver a message or to discuss an issue that relates to project development. Guggilla (2017) argues that face-to-face communication one of the popular forms of communication for hands-on managers who want their presence to be felt in the firm. The effectiveness of this communication approach can be analysed using the impact-measurement concept (Hill & Hill, 2018).
In this context, the project manager or the bearer of the message would be allowed to convey the information to the targeted audience. After an agreed-upon period, a different team will be instructed to conduct a follow-up to determine the impact of the message previously delivered (Lee & Tang, 2018). If the information focused on embracing a new design of undertaking a given project, the follow-up team will be assigned the responsibility of determining if the new design has been understood and implemented as expected (Kumar, 2017).
Face-to-face communication is often very effective, but it is not an automatic guarantee that the intended audience will understand the message. Their output would help reflect how well they understood the message.
This tool focuses on the outcome of the message passed as a way of determining its effectiveness in enhancing internal communication in a given project. Khanna (2015) explains that one of the main weaknesses of this tool is that it highly depends on the skills and competencies of the individuals involved in the implementation of different activities in the project. Sometimes the information is passed in an effective way but the individuals involved lack the necessary skills needed to achieve the desired result. When the effectiveness of the communication system is based on what employees deliver, it is possible to conclude that the system of passing the message is poor while the truth is that the intended audience lacks the capacity to do what they were told.
Communication in project management may take the printed format. It may be a letter, an internal memo, internal newsletters, or any other such related prints. The primary goal of these printed communications is to pass messages that would inform, instruct, guide, or prepare the intended audience in a given manner (Miller, 2015). When analysing the appropriateness of each of these internal communication platforms, one must understand the goal that needs to be achieved.
For instance, a memo is often meant to pass a general message to employees working within a given location. A simple CCTV camera may be an appropriate tool that a manager can use to monitor the number of employees who visit the sites where the memo is pinned to get the message communicated. Most importantly, it will be necessary to conduct a follow-up to determine whether everyone got the message on the board. Miller (2017) explains that it would be necessary to inculcate a culture where all employees make a regular visit to specific locations where the memos are pinned.
When the print communication is a letter, one of the first steps that should be taken before delivering it is the accuracy of its content. Grammatical mistakes and use of wrong phrases and words can lead to misinterpretation of the message. Using simple grammar-check tools would help in eliminating such mistakes (Hana, 2015). The sender should also understand the capacity of the audience to decode the message conveyed.
When the recipient has limited education, care should be taken to use simple and straightforward sentences, phrases, and words to avoid misinterpretation. Simplifying the message is crucial because the sender may not be available to help in the interpretation of the message (Huemann, 2016). However, taking such measures does not mean that the project manager would not need to make the necessary follow-ups to ensure that the audience understood the message and is acting upon it.
Information technology communication
Information technology has redefined the mode of communication in modern society. The use of letters or face-to-face communications is becoming less common because they are time-consuming. According to Huhtala, Tolvanen, Mauno and Feldt (2015), the use of hand-held devices such as phones and tablets is becoming a popular form of internal communication when undertaking a given project.
When there is a minor change in the communication design that needs to be implemented, the project manager can send the information to the engineers implementing the design through WhatsApp (Kogon, Blakemore, & Wood, 2015). Using their tablet, the engineers would view the new design and understand where the change should be implemented. In case workers on the ground have an issue that requires the attention of the project manager, they can use the same system to pass their message to the project manager.
When analysing the effectiveness of these communication applications, one of the factors that should be considered is their effectiveness in passing the intended message. As Kloppenborg (2015) notes, these applications are uniquely effective in facilitating a conversation (Lock, 2014). When a project manager has sent a message, immediate feedback would be given. In case of any doubts, the manager can make a video call to monitor the progress of the project.
Some of these applications on handheld devices allow users to make graphical designs on architectural plans of an IT project (O’Reilly, Caldwell, Chatman, & Doerr, 2014). When an engineer realises that the proposed design has weaknesses, he or she can propose changes using the tablet and send the new design to the approving authority using Facebook or WhatsApp.
The close communication among parties involved would enhance the ability to achieve the desired level of success (Nicholas & Steyn, 2017). One of the biggest concerns when using these platforms is the possibility of cyber-attacks. It is possible for cybercriminals to hijack such communication and manipulate data or steal it for the benefit of other parties. Appropriate tools (software) may be needed to help in protecting important data.
The gadgets used in the communication should be protected against malware that would make data vulnerable to cybercriminals. Pauleen and Wang (2017) advise that it may be necessary to have back-up databases to protect important information in the project just in case of an attack. When data is manipulated, the project manager should be able to have a point of reference.
Success of any project depends on the ability of the project manager to define an effective internal communication system. Such a system would guarantee that every time the manager receives a piece of information, it is disseminated to relevant experts responsible for the implementation of the project. Communication platforms such as phone calls, e-mails, video-conferencing or face-to-face communication can be used to ensure that information is shared in a timely manner. The project manager should assess each of the tools used in communicating internal messages and choose the most effective one in a given project.
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Rathi, D., & Given, L. M. (2017). Non-profit organizations’ use of tools and technologies for knowledge management: A comparative study. Journal of Knowledge Management, 21(4), 718-740.
Rodríguez, P. (2017). Conceptual model of communication theories within project process. INNOVA Research Journal, 2(3), 42-51.
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Course Work Gantt Chart