Between 2011 and 2016, more than a billion dollars was spent by the Veterans Affairs Department on failed IT projects that were intended to update the agency’s outdated records management system.
This was not a waste of money and the fact that the project had been completely rescheduled are not surprising. The Standish Group found that only 6.4% of the 3,555 projects that had at least $10,000,000 in labor costs between 2003-2012 were considered successful. More than 41% of the 3,555 projects with labor costs at least $10 million between 2003 and 2012 were declared complete failures. These projects were either abandoned entirely or completely redesigned.
It’s not just the government that has to deal with project failure.
The Brightline Initiative estimates that global organizations waste $1 million every twenty seconds, or $2 trillion annually, on poorly managed projects.
It’s impossible for us to pinpoint exactly what caused all those failed projects. However, we do know that poor communication is the leading cause of failure on nearly a third of doomed projects (29%).
It’s not about a lack of time or money, but that we all learn quickly after we are born and continue learning for the rest our lives.
Poor communication is the reason that almost a third fail to complete projects. Organizations that can salvage more projects and improve communication fundamentals will be more efficient and more successful than those that fail to improve.
You may be thinking: “So, all that I have to do to save 33% of my failed project is communicate better with my staff?”
It’s not that easy.
A combination of technology and soft skills is necessary for effective communication. Poor communication can’t be fixed overnight. However, it is crucial that you make communication a priority.
Poor communication can destroy everything you have built, from the foundation to your top floor. You can improve all aspects of your business, including profits and market share, if you improve communication across the organization.
Let’s take a look at the how.
How to fix poor communication at work
As with most issues, fixing poor communications starts with admitting that there is a problem.
Failure is when you act like communication will improve by itself. Below we will examine six common communication issues in the workplace and offer potential solutions.
1. Email purgatory is causing project details to get lost. Communication between teams is not happening. Teams communicate via too many channels Multiple managers are giving contradicting instructions5. The status updates are not being provided by key contributors6. You have more meetings but less progress. The path to better project communication6 common workplace communication issues
1. Email purgatory is causing project details to get lost
THE PROBLEM: Although you have important details about your project, such as documentation and milestone dates, they are hidden in a series email threads spread across multiple threads.
It can be a chore to hunt for them every time you need one.
THE SOLUTION: Stop using email for ongoing project communication. Email was a revolutionary tool for project teams to communicate back in the 1980s, but its time as an effective communication tool for project management has passed.
Email is still a useful tool for many things, including receiving inquiries from outside entities, sending messages to large groups or subscribing industry newsletters. It’s not good enough for project collaboration.
Instead, you can use project management software to keep track and update status updates and communicate with others.
2. Communication problems