People first, work second

People first, work second
The Borg Queen

Image courtesy of Sheila Kunkle at Other Voices.

In her article, @commsabilities talks of the importance of communication in a successful project.  She says, ” at their heart projects and programmes are all about people”, and I believe she couldn’t be more right.

Projects are about the people first, and the work second. It takes people to get the work done (the work by itself just sits like a lump waiting for a person to come along and do it). Each person involved in a project only knows what they know. As a project grows in complexity the number of people needed to perform the work increases. Each one of them brings extra pieces of knowledge crucial to the project’s success with them.

If we were all hardwired machines capable of instantly passing our bits of knowledge through to everyone else on the chain, a) our projects would experience a tremendous success rate and b) we’d have to seriously rethink skincare (see photo).

Unfortunately, as human beings, we have to rely on more mundane vehicles to transmit our knowledge.  Lucky for us we have a wide array of tools at our disposal, not least of which is face-to-face communications.  Get up from your desk, walk down the hall, knock on a door and start talking.

If you’re lucky enough to be in the planning stages of your project, Tech Republic offers a good primer on building a successful communications plan at, which I like because it also provides a nerdy Star Trek reference.  🙂

But if you didn’t build a communications plan at the start, then just like @commsabilities says, “the secret is to start communicating as soon as you recognise the need.”

I’m a professor of project management at the college where I work. My students continually amaze me with their insights, passion and all-around awesomeness. I figure they deserve access to more answers than I can give them by myself. This site is for them.