By Sean Wilson
One of the senior PMs on my PMO team was exceptional at communicating out of the ordinary situations on his projects. He only did this when something significant had or was about to occur. He took the time to write a succinct email message that followed a very effective rubric:
Morning Sean –
I wanted to make you aware of a situation on project XYZ. (High level description of the issue, key players involved, and it’s impact on the business and/or project). We discussed the issue ad nauseam, then brainstormed alternatives and decided to do (this, that, and this other thing). Will know more by the end of the week after (these things play out) and I’ll send you an update. I don’t need anything from you at this time, but wanted to bring this to your attention in the event it comes up in another setting.
Why did I appreciate this? He covered all of the bases, respected my time, took initiative, made it clear if he needed my help, and made sure I was informed.
The senior PM took the time to describe the key facts surrounding the issue including the who, what, where, when and why. If he thought it was helpful, he would include more details in a following paragraph knowing that I’m a detailed person. As a side note, I once worked for a partner in a consulting firm who told us if an email message was long enough to require him to use the scroll bar, he wouldn’t read it! Be aware of the recipient’s communication style.
The senior PM was also thoughtful enough to drop into my office after I had a chance to read the email. He wanted to see if he had missed anything from my point of view, and if I had questions. (most of the time he hadn’t missed anything because he took the time to review his notes and recollection of the conversation). He also made sure his direct supervisor was in the loop…. he used the same methods with them. He treated project team members the same way.
When I need to send a communication, I always think about how effective his messages were. They were organized, logical, factual, and most importantly, informative. What do you think?