How To Improve Communication On Your Projects

Shubhangi Pandey
By | Updated December 3, 2023 | 15 min read
Project Management Templates for PPM

Key Take Aways

  • Tips and best-practices to improve your project communication
  • 4 reasons for poor project communication
  • Consequences of poor project communication
  • 4 ways to improve communication on your project
  • How BrightWork 365 can help you to centralize and streamline project management

Poor communication is a common cause of project failure.

Ineffective communication is frequently at the heart of project failures. The way team members communicate can be the deciding factor in the success or downfall of a project, playing a crucial role in guiding team collaboration.

This is why understanding the nuances of poor communication and its impact is essential for developing a robust communication plan that genuinely addresses the needs of your project.

In this article, we explore the common reasons communication fails in projects, including the challenges posed by remote working. We also provide practical strategies to improve communication in four key areas.

From the planning stage to execution, you’ll learn how to navigate the complexities of project communication effectively.

Join us as we delve into the intricacies of project communication, offering you the tools and knowledge to enhance collaboration and drive your projects toward success.

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4 Reasons for Poor Project Communication

1. We take it for granted

Effective communication often fails because we take it for granted. Project managers assume that communication occurs as project teams attend in-person and virtual meetings, use emails and IM, update documents, etc.

However, this passive communication approach overlooks the importance of active engagement with the entire team. Team members scramble to understand the big picture without real visibility and direction.

2. No project communication plan

High-performance organizations that finished 80% of projects are twice as likely to have communication plans in place than low-performing counterparts.

A project communication plan is a blueprint for communication processes during your project. The program should provide the correct information to the right person at the right time in a format that works for them.

A plan becomes even more critical when working with remote team members across multiple time zones.

Without a communication plan, your team will struggle to understand the objectives of the project and their role in achieving these goals. They won’t know where to find documents, how to check work status, or who to ask for help with a task.

For more insights on creating an effective communication plan for a project, check out our detailed guide.

3. Lack of stakeholder engagement

If you don’t have a communication plan, you’ll also encounter stakeholder engagement and vendor management problems. Engaging potential stakeholders is vital in project management, ensuring all key players are on the same page.

4. No project management software

Too many tools, unclear assignments, and remote team members can quickly lead to communication snags. An effective project management tool can centralize internal communications and streamline communication.

2 Consequences of Poor Project Communication

Poor communication can have a domino effect that results in project failure. There are several consequences of ineffective communication – here are two issues to consider.

1. Requirements management

47% of failed projects are linked to requirements management. Within these failed projects, 75% reported poor communication led to misplanned requirements.

This makes sense as many tools for gathering requirements, such as focus groups, meetings, and interviews, rely on clear communication from the project manager and various contributors.

If everyone has a different understanding of the requirements, you’ll quickly have to manage the following:

  • Scope Creep: When project boundaries are unclear or communicated, the project can expand beyond its original scope, leading to delays and budget overruns.
  • Resource Shortages: Misaligned requirements can result in inadequate resource allocation, impacting the project timeline and quality.
  • Ineffective Solutions: Without a clear understanding of the requirements, the final deliverables may fail to meet the original objectives, rendering the project ineffective.
  • Damaged Stakeholder Relationships: Poor communication can lead to unmet expectations, eroding stakeholder trust and confidence.


2. Collaboration

Effective leadership and collaboration is only possible with communication between the team!

Communication is needed to keep the team on track, from clear task instructions to asking questions, brainstorming sessions, and problem-solving.

Collaboration relies heavily on active listening, as team members must be willing to compromise and be open to new ideas while presenting respectful challenges.

Poor communication can quickly isolate team members, who become disconnected from the purpose of the project, their roles, and the value of their contributions.

Work is executed in silos, and conflicts quickly arise as individuals lose track of completed and upcoming tasks. Poor communication can undermine your project in several areas. If you want to take some steps to address poor project communication, read on.

4 Ways to Improve Communication On Your Projects

Effective communication is the backbone of successful project management. It’s not just about exchanging information; it’s about ensuring clarity, understanding, and alignment among all team members and stakeholders. This section explores four pivotal strategies to enhance communication in your projects.

1. Have a plan

As noted above, communication plans increase project success. Your goal should include project objectives as the primary objective, detailing the types and modes of communication and scheduling regular meetings to ensure ongoing alignment.

If your team is working remotely, use the plan to set clear expectations around how often you need to meet and what channels should be used for particular purposes.

2. Engage stakeholders

Align your communication plan with key stakeholders. This involves understanding and incorporating their communication preferences into your project management communication strategies.

Once the project is underway, you’ll monitor and adjust stakeholder communications to increase support and minimize any resistance to the project.

3. Encourage team communication

Effective communication is pivotal for team success, a fact underscored by recent research.

The 2023 State of Business Communication report by Grammarly, in collaboration with The Harris Poll, reveals that 72% of business leaders believe effective communication has significantly increased their team’s productivity.

This insight is crucial in today’s diverse and often remote work environments, where clear and inclusive communication can bridge gaps and foster collaboration.

Reflect on your team’s communication practices:

  • Primary Communication Tools: Is there an over-dependence on email, or are more dynamic platforms in use?
  • Encouraging Spontaneity: Are there designated spaces or platforms that facilitate spontaneous, informal conversations?
  • Meeting Dynamics: Are meetings structured to be engaging and productive, or do they need a revamp?
  • Remote Communication: How effectively are video and other tools used to maintain personal connections in remote settings?
  • Personal Communication Styles: Understanding your style (be it passive, aggressive, passive-aggressive, or assertive) and that of your team can lead to more tailored and effective interactions.

Remember, not just the frequency of communication matters, but its quality. Creating an environment where every team member feels heard and valued is critical to building trust, engagement, and productivity.

Discover more communication secrets that great leaders use to enhance team productivity and collaboration.

4. Use project management software

Implementing a ‘single source of truth’ such as our BrightWork 365 project management solution can be a game-changer for your team and stakeholders.

Moreover, with its seamless integration with Microsoft 365 apps, BrightWork enhances the collaborative capabilities of your team, ensuring a more unified and efficient workflow.

This ‘single source of truth’ streamlines communication and fosters a more collaborative and transparent work environment.

Using BrightWork 365 for Project Communication

Here’s how the BrightWork can transform your project management process:

Centralized Project Goals and Objectives

how to start a project - project charter

A centralized approach to project goals and objectives is crucial for team alignment and clarity. BrightWork 365 offers a structured way to set and track these goals.

  • Clarity and Alignment: The project site is a central hub where every team member can clearly understand the project’s objectives and goals. This alignment ensures that everyone works towards the same result, reducing miscommunication and misaligned efforts.
  • Dynamic Goal Tracking: Goals can evolve as the project progresses. BrightWork allows for dynamic updating and tracking of these changes, ensuring the team is always aligned with the current objectives.


Streamlined Access to Project Documents

Efficient document management is crucial to project success. BrightWork 365 provides a centralized system for managing all project-related documents, enhancing accessibility and organization.

  • Document Management: Store, share, and manage all your project-related documents in one place. This centralized repository ensures that everyone has access to the latest versions of documents, eliminating the confusion of multiple interpretations.
  • Version Control: Keep track of document revisions and changes with integrated version control. This feature is crucial for maintaining the integrity of project documents over time.


Enhanced Task Management

Task management is the heartbeat of project execution. BrightWork 365 simplifies task visibility and assignment, fostering a more efficient and collaborative work environment.

  • Task Visibility and Assignment: Easily find, assign, and update tasks. The platform’s intuitive interface allows team members to understand their responsibilities and the status of their tasks quickly.
  • Collaborative Task Completion: Team members can collaborate on tasks, share updates, and flag issues directly within the system, fostering a more cohesive team environment.


Real-Time Project Tracking

Keeping a real-time pulse on project progress is essential for timely adjustments and decision-making. BrightWork 365 enables continuous monitoring and tracking of project milestones and progress.

  • Progress Monitoring: Track the overall progress of the project with real-time updates. This feature allows for proactive adjustments and decision-making to keep the project on track.
  • Milestone Achievement: Celebrate and monitor key milestones as the project progresses, keeping the team motivated and focused.


Risk and Issue Logging

Proactive risk management is vital for project resilience. The BrightWork 365 solution offers robust tools for logging and tracking risks and issues, aiding in effective risk mitigation.

  • Proactive Risk Management: Log and track potential risks and issues as they arise. The BrightWork solution helps identify trends and risk patterns, enabling proactive mitigation strategies.
  • Issue Resolution Tracking: Record how problems are resolved, creating a knowledge base for future projects and enhancing the team’s problem-solving capabilities.


Stakeholder Engagement with Real-Time Dashboards

Engaging stakeholders with clear, concise information is crucial. BrightWork 365’s real-time dashboards provide a transparent view of project health and metrics, enhancing stakeholder trust and involvement.

  • High-Level Data Visualization: Real-time dashboards give stakeholders a high-level overview of project status, health, and critical metrics. This transparency is crucial for stakeholder engagement and trust.
  • Customizable Dashboards: Tailor dashboards to show relevant data for different stakeholders, ensuring that each stakeholder has access to the information most pertinent to their needs.


Additional Features for Comprehensive Project Management

BrightWork 365 goes beyond basic project management functionalities. It offers integration capabilities for customizable workflows and ensures security and compliance, making it a comprehensive tool for modern project management needs.

  • Integration Capabilities: Seamlessly integrate with your organization’s other tools and platforms, ensuring a unified workflow.
  • Customizable Workflows: Adapt the platform to fit your specific project management processes with customizable workflows.
  • Security and Compliance: Ensure data security and compliance with industry standards, giving the team and stakeholders peace of mind.


For a deeper understanding of how our Microsoft 365 project management system can enhance your project’s efficiency and collaboration, visit our detailed guide.

Project management on Microsoft 365

Watch a demo of BrightWork 365 project and portfolio management templates for Microsoft 365, Power Platform, and Teams.

Next Steps

Improving communication in your projects is a journey, not a one-time fix. At BrightWork, we advocate for the REP approach to foster continuous improvement:

  • Research: Identify areas in your project communication that need enhancement. Start small by implementing just one or two new strategies or tools. This could be as simple as setting up a centralized communication platform or revising your communication plan.
  • Execute: Put these new methods into practice over a few weeks. Observe how they impact your team’s dynamics and project progress. It’s essential to be patient and allow time for everyone to adapt to these changes.
  • Reflect: After a trial period, conduct a thorough review. Gather feedback from your team and stakeholders. What worked well? What could be improved? Use these insights to refine your approach.


Improving communication requires understanding the chain of command, consulting subject matter experts, and recognizing language barriers within the team.

Corrective action should be taken to address any lack of communication and to establish a level playing field for all team members.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in November 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness

Shubhangi Pandey
Shubhangi Pandey

BrightWork Content Marketer

Shubhangi is a product marketing enthusiast, who enjoys testing and sharing the BrightWork 365 project portfolio management solution capabilities with Microsoft 365 users. You can see her take on the experience of the template-driven BrightWork 365 solution, its unique project management success approach, and other personalized services across the site and social channels. Beyond BrightWork, Shubhangi loves to hunt for the newest Chai Latte-serving café, where she can read and write for hours.

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