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Source: journyx (2013)

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Description

‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍The PMBOK definition of communication management as the process required to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and ultimate disposition of project information‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ (PMBOK, 2008). Different types of communication exist- verbal, non-verbal, formal, informal, and the way of encoding and decoding them correctly may affect positively the performance and the organisation’s outcomes.Communication in projects is often referred as a desirable competence of the project manager for managing projects successfully (Henderson, 2008). Project communication management can also be explained as the process of managing the communication between different stakeholders on a project. According to Pinto (2010) the project manager should develop good presentation and meeting skills, in order to manage different types of communication, such as formal and informal, with different people, working on the project. Pinto (2010) suggests that in projects, one of the most important ways of communicating is through meetings. Meetings give the project manager the possibility of communicating with various parties interested in the project, such as top management, client, team members, which might help in understanding their requirements, expectations, needs and desires.

Agile values


‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍The Agile Manifesto ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍value‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ "Individuals and Interactions over process over processes and tools" can be related to Communication management as the communication between the team members, which appears to be extremely important in order to have successful working environment. People working together effectively suggests excellent communications management, where “interactions” also means having constant meetings, which in ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍Agile are the face-to-face meetings and face-to-face conversation (the Agile Manifesto principle- "The most effiect and effective methog of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation). ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍According to ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍the general Agile Methodology‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ the people and how they work together are the most important factor, not the processes and tools or following strictly well planned pattern, with barely no possibility of flexibility.
Communication on a project also involves the written one, such as for example piles of documentation, informing the client what is going to be build during the project. However, Agile Project Management suggests less documentation and more emphasis on presenting the actual working product, which will be easily understandable and more lucid for them, than a complex technical document. This facilitates the communication between the two parties.
‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍Another aspect of communication management, which can be found as the value "Customer collaboration over contract negotiation" is the customer collaboration. In fact the communication with the customers is of crucial importance, because the more the customers are informed about the progress of the project, the higher their support and willing to help is‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍. Communicating constantly with the customer helps the team and the manager understand better their needs and expectations.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

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Agile Manifesto Principles


  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. According to PMI (2008), project communications management is aimed at identifying stakeholders early in the project, planning communications, distributing information, managing stakeholder expectations and reporting performance. Stakeholders may be internal or external to the project. Stakeholders are the people and organizations such as sponsors, customers, performing organizations and the public that are involved in the project whose interest may negatively or positively affect the completion of the project. Although, the products are delivered according to the customer’s expectations, they are not delivered early. OGC (2009) indicates that the plan theme promotes communication and control by describing the means of delivering the products. Products are not delivered early as project needs to go through all the stages and consultation is done frequently between the project board and project manager at each stage boundaries sequentially before delivery.
    The traditional approach (waterfall) is not supported by this principle because during the implementation of a project, the project cannot continue until the previous phase has been properly approved by the stakeholder. More time is spent on requirements and design in order to reduce coding and testing costs (France, 2015).
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. This principle relates to project communication management. OGC (2009) indicates Change as one of the themes of Prince2 and controlled changed is emphasized when it is in-line with the business case. PRINCE2 responds to change and the Project Board are responsible for deferring, rejecting or approving change. They may also delegate some decisions to the Change Authority. A change request may prompt ad hoc direction, the Corporate may revise the project mandate in response to change or inform that the project board to close the project. According to OGC (2009: 93) change are prioritized, using MoSCoW (Must have, Should have, Could have and Won’t have for now). Only changes that are essential for the viability of the project are implemented even in late development and this change is communicated across the project team. PMI (2008) points out that for change to occur in a project even late in development, the change must be communicated across the project team, evaluated for its impact on the project before it can be rejected or approved by the change control board. Only change with a positive impact are implemented on a project. The traditional plan driven approach does not relate to this principle. This approach discourages change, mainly during late development. It finds out the root of change and assesses the impact through an integrated change control process (Vaishampayan, 2014). Waterfall methodology can be easily understood and communicated to all stakeholders (France, 2015).
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
    During the development and implementation phases of a project, software is delivered to clients, commonly according to their requirements and specifications. This is practically impossible without the constant communication between the project manager, the project team, the clients’ teams/the end users, and all sponsors and stakeholders. Organisations which adopt effective and efficient communication methods are likely to stay within scope, exceed quality requirements and standards, and deliver the intended business benefits (Communication: The Message Is Clear, 2013).
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. It is generally agreed that communication in any project is the most important component and aspect contributing towards project successes. It is crucial that the business personnel interact and communicate with software developers, so that requirements are clearly discussed and understood (Charvat, 2002). Communication is most effective when people work together and carry out the correct work to achieve the correct outcome objectives. Effective communicators recognise that sharing information has a direct correlation with achieving goals, and that this sharing of information is typically a two wat street, where managers communicate the change and the requirements they would like to see to the developers. Developers in turn will understand and achieve the required standards of software change/software development (AgileModeling, 2016).
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
    By providing the right environment and support, individuals feel empowered and able to communicate any issues or concerns, and commit to one another. This aids teams and organisations to succeed in their projects as trust is instilled via constant and open communication, especially in project teams. According to pmi.org (2011), the best way to build positive relationships in project teams is to create trust, and this is achieved through open communication and honesty. Thus, communication, motivation and trust all complement one another. Effective communication and the completion of tasks as a result, leads to motivated individuals, creating the right environments, support and trust.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. PMbok approach to communications management involves having a communication plan, defining key stakeholders and requirements, appointing a lead, and defining the medium of communication. Agile however identified that most effective method of communication as being face to face, enabling decisions to be made quickly. It also saves time used to send emails and waiting for a reply and allows nonverbal communication to be taken into consideration which is absent in other types of communication like telephone and email. Face to face communication exists (including through meetings) in the PMI approach alongside other forms of communication. However, the comparative smaller and regulated number of meetings in the traditional approach may mean that vital topics are forgotten before the meeting is convened. This principle will also be difficult with virtual teams or distributed agile projects because people can still be distracted with video conferencing. (Robarts, 2008).
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress. In an agile environment, progress is demonstrated to sponsors by having something to show such as a working software (Thomas and Hunt,1999). This is a type visual communication which helps the customer to decide quickly if their requirements are satisfied or otherwise. PMI (2013) has a structured way of communication which may take time and be impracticable if used in software development, as developers may need to ask a quick question towards the end of an iteration meant to deliver a working software.This is however somewhat similar to the PRINCE2 approach where the project is in stages with each stage having its predetermined deliverables. APM (2012) approach allows for flexibility and places emphasis on the interpersonal skills, especially of the project or programme manager to ensure an effective communication by using appropriate methods. The traditional approach to communication could be made more agile by dividing the projects into subprojects for better communication (Ip et al.,2004).This is similar to the spiral model (Boehm,1988).

  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Communication in project management is one of the major values which makes a project resourceful (PMI, 2013). According to PMI (2015), communication between project sponsors, developers and users is what underpins the effectiveness of agile development process, to maintain constant pace between stakeholders indefinitely. Haughey, (2015), argues that, PRINCE2 method recommends that, the entire project team and the customer should communicate regularly and organise reviewing meetings with the customer, in order to achieve constant progress in the product development process. Hass (2010) reveals that, in traditional methodology, there is effective communication between the project team and customer before the project scope is finalised, but the traditional methodology does not support communication between project team and clients, in areas, like, making changes according to time and user needs, because the method does not support continuous changes or feedbacks of new requirements between the project team and the customer after the project scope have been finalised for each stages of its sequential process.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. According to PMBOK (2015) effective communication keeps stakeholders engaged and motivated to deliver good product and excellent design. According to PMI (2012), APM support communication management, because in APM communication is use to identify stakeholders, assess their interest and influence individuals and group performing the work. Saad et al, (2013) identified that, this principle can be related to PRINCE2, because in PRINCE2 quality assurance section, the technical team communicate effectively to ensure that, agreed specification and standards are communicated and performed following specified requirement from the customer, as their aim and responsibility is to achieve technical excellence and good design, as well as achieving continuous progress in the technical team. Haughey (2008), reveals that, traditional methodology supports effective communication among stakeholders. This ensures that there is continuous attention to technical excellence and product specifications are effectively communicated and implemented in order to achieve excellent product and good design to meet project objectives and users needs at each stage of its sequential process. Thus, achieving excellent product and good design can bring success to the team, satisfy clients and enhance the project team progress journey.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.This principle cannot be related to communication management. (Back, 2001) points out that every time the exchange of information takes place time and project resources are used up. Internet can be a major tool to aid the management of communication but can also be a major source of the consumption of time and resources (Giffin, 2002). PMI communication management has three processes, plan, manage and control.(PMI, 2013)
    This principle could be applied by simplifying the processes, by not writing and spending time in documentation for the processes but rather what is required when its required, to find out what the stakeholder requires at each stage and only that information is relayed as quickly as possible rather than generating information that is required at later stages. Using the appropriate method were possible that is, face to face and if the stakeholder requires more information, keep it simple and as clear and accurate as possible.

  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. OGC (2009) states that the organization theme is used to define the roles and responsibilities of the project team members and it also establishes the project’s structure of accountability and responsibility. The project manager assembles the project team and they effectively work together during projects, strategies for communication within the project are established at the beginning of the project and maintained throughout the project life cycle. The project manager is responsible for managing the team members. Similarly, traditional project management teams are also manager-led teams (Kaltenecker & Hundermark, 2014). PMI (2008) project teams are manager-led teams, where the project manager acquire, develop and manage the project team but establishes a reporting line of informal and formal communication across the team. Thus, Prince 2 teams, PMI and traditional project management teams are not self-organizing teams although there is effective communication across the group which enhances project success.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. This principle can be related to project communication management. In the prince 2 principle, lesson from experience which implies that lessons are sought, recorded and actioned throughout the course of the project. During progress reviews, this lessons are identified and communicated across the team. It is possible that this lessons may be a root cause of a problem or could be a enabler to project achievement. The project team is then required to take actions to implement improvements across the team (OGC, 2009). According to (PMI, 2008) lessons learnt are defined as learning achieved from process of performing the project. The lessons learned can be identified and documented at any phase of the project life cycle. It draws both the positive and the negative experience. It boosts the repetitiveness of a wanted outcome or result and stops the occurrence of the unwanted outcome. The lessons learnt are discussed openly among the project team, project support staff and selected stakeholders in order to remove the occurrence of issues that are likely to be unavoidable in future project. This will enable the team to be more effective and efficient in the future. Collison & Parcell (2004) concludes that lessons learned requires an effective means of communication. Conversation is the most efficient way of sharing lessons learnt.
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Other Agile principles


‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍•Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ (Agile Manifesto) In relation without good communication between the customers and developers, requirements for the release cannot be known; hence this could affect the planning to meet the needs of the customer on time. ‍
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project (Agile Manifesto) This is can be achievable, when the business people and developers have good communication culture. The application of stakeholders analyst could be of an advantage to the developers at this stage, as it could help them to prioritized the in the each iterations in relation to the level of importance to the business people (product owner) using the stakeholder analysis.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation (Agile Manifesto). A communication method do varies from group meetings, telephone calls, video conferences calls, and online chats as the case maybe. In bid to disseminate information. However, the most effective and efficient means of conveying information is through face-to-face conversation. This is so, because it creates the platform for the developers to ask specific questions, create mutual trust and social bond with product owner.

Agile practices


‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍These are some of the basic practices relevant to communication management;‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
Daily Stand-up (Scrum):- This practice is applied in scrum‍‍ to gather information on progress, and obstacle encountered in the process to achieves the requirement set by the product owner. These meetings as a form of communication method are done every day on the iterations.
‍‍Coding Standards (XP practice):‍‍ for effective development of the software, accepted codes are used by the team for communication. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍These rules help the pair programmers to comprehend each other's the language ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍. And easily update or correct any synthesis errors.
‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍Story Mapping (Scrum):- is the concept of in house communication by the team mates, using of model (presentation notes) to identifying functionality and setbacks in planning to satisfying customer's requirement on a release. ‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍
Pair Programming (XP practice): is deliberate sharing of knowledge by working in pair on a system. This activity helps to reduce errors in the development of the software. This activity is efficient and effective, when an individual encoding the software can be helped by his/her colleague, as they switch places. This enhances good communication culture between colleagues.‍‍‍‍
Onsite Customer (XP practice):- help teammates to communicate the requirement with customer as the work progresses.

Discussion


In Project Communication Management, one of the most efficient interactive ways of communicating is in the form of a "meeting". In the traditional approach the meeting has more formal nature, the participants are informed in advance about the meeting. A meeting agenda is prepared containing the objectives, subjects to discuss and roles and responsibilities. It usually lasts about an hour, with the recording of proceedings by minute taking. The meeting minute contains the results from the meeting and what is to be done before the next meeting. However, in Agile Project Management, a daily stand-ups is held.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍ This meetings is time-boxed 15 minutes, there is no follow-up documentation, because the relevant information passed by any of the parties is immediately resolved after the meetings. The objective of the daily stand-up is to discuss the previous activities and obstacle encountered and possible improvement on the day activities. Mores so, project using XP framework, communicate business requirement on each iterations and prioritise it, using planning game, and pair programming in a bid to eliminate complex, reduce bugs in course of coding the software.

Links from this KA to other KAs


‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍Project communication management can be linked to other knowledge areas, good communication is required to manage conflict resulting from Quality Management and requirement change in a project. More so, the knowledge of communication management helps in the prioritisation of stakeholders needs, as at the iteration of each stage is worked on. Project communication management can be linked to information management and knowledge management as well, as its definition and process of implementation encapsulate both knowledge areas. Information management is the collection of open information from different sources then it translated to different parties; this carries an element of communication management as described above.‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍‍

References


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Boehm, B.W. (1988) A spiral model of software development and enhancement. Computer, 21(5), pp.61-72
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Office of Government Commerce (OGC) (2009) Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2TM. London: The Stationary Office
‍‍Pinto, J. K. (2010) Project Management: Achieving Competitive Advantage. 2nd edn. Pearson Education Inc

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PMI (2013) Communication- The message is clear. White Paper. Project Management Institute, Inc. [Online]. Available at: http://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Knowledge%20Center/Communications_whitepaper_v2.ashx (Accessed: 20th February 2016).

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Project Management Institute (2013) A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) 5th Edn. Newtown Square: Project Management Institute. pp. 287-291.

Robarts, J.M. (2008) Practical considerations for distributed agile projects. In Agile, 2008. AGILE'08. Conference IEEE. pp. 327-332. Available at: http://www.studynet1.herts.ac.uk/crs/15/7BSP1270-0206.nsf/Teaching+Documents/688793A8242A46CC80257F3D007C9254/$FILE/agile10%20case%20study%205.pdf [Accessed: 24 February, 2016].

Saad, S., Ibrahim, A., Asma, O., Khan, M. S. & Qadir, A. A. (2013) PRINCE2 innovation techniques. Available at: http://cgr.umt.edu.pk/icobm2013/papers/Papers/IC3-Jan-2013-049.pdf [Accessed: 22 February, 2016].

Thomas, D. and Hunt, A., 1999. The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master. Available at: ftp://89.22.96.127/docs/cs/essays/The%20Pragmatic%20Programmer,%20From%20Journeyman%20To%20Master.pdf [Accessed: 24 February, 2016].

Vaishampayan V. (2014) PMI-ACP EXAM PREP STUDY GUIDE: EXTRA PREPARATION FOR PMI-ACP CERTIFICATION EXAMINATION. Bloomington: iUniverse LLC.

External links


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Communications_management
Wikipedia entry on this KA
http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dd997578.aspx
http://www.ambysoft.com/essays/agileManifesto.html
http://www.agilemodeling.com/essays/communication.htm
http://www.slideshare.net/abualward/pmbok-4th-edition-chapter-10-project-communication-management
About.com entry on this KA>


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