Communication and Media Richness Assurance in High-performance Projects
Securing consistently lossless or low-loss communication in any project is key to achieving success. Project purpose fulfilment quite simply relies on apt stakeholder communication. In high-performing projects, the effectiveness of this communication becomes vital not only for accuracy but also speed; things need to happen both precisely and quickly, allowing superb optimisation of project resources. Given the importance of communication in projects, the question is ‘how does one go about it?’.
With a plethora of available communication tools and often high degrees of freedom in their timing, choosing the right tool at the right time is non-trivial. Depending on the choice of tools and timing, results will vary from excellent through acceptable to undesired. However, as no universally successful recipe exists for ensuring positive outcomes, having a good understanding of the various communication options and their attributes will increase chances of making rational decisions accumulated and translating in turn into complex, fit-for-purpose solutions.
This article seeks to help project practitioners gain awareness of different communication tools and timing from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Disciplines covered are human biology, psychology, mathematics, linguistics and culture, with use of case studies and best practice. The diverse angles on the topic are interweaved to bring a unified, in-depth understanding of the topic aiding practitioners to achieving better results in their practical application in project implementations.
A key concept discussed throughout the article is Media Richness Theory (MRT), or Information Richness Theory. Different information channels are analysed in terms of their communication advantages/weaknesses and inter-channel relationships.
Table of Contents
The article is divided into sub-sections, each adding their angle and contribution to the main topic:
1) Human nature: Human beings have the inherent abilities of communicating and cooperating with each other. This section gives basic biological and psychological understanding and provides historic information on how communication has helped humans through history to achieve various results.
2) Information channels: outline of each of the key 5-10 methods of communicating (incl. face-to-face conversation, video conferencing, telephone call, internet chat, email, text messaging), and comparison/contrasting of advantages/weaknesses.
3) Case studies: A comparison/contrast between three similar real-life projects, where outcomes in terms of project success could be classed respectively as poor, OK and good.
4) Situation-based opportunities and challenges: A look at which factors to a given degree could either boost or compromise project proceedings. This list could be endless, so the most appropriate few will be selected later as the article starts to take shape.
Subject Source/Title Authors/Creators Year
Media Relations Theory Journal article: Organizational Information Requirements, Media Richness and Structural Design (from the authors’ book ‘Management Science’?) Richard L. Daft and Robert H. Lengel 1986
Project Management standards / best practice PMI Projects book, Prince2 book Misc. Misc.