Information / Communications

Project Info/Coms Management

What should I know about information and communications in project management?

About Info/Coms

Why do you call it Info/Coms?

·         Because communication by itself is not enough

·         There must be information to communicate

·         And it must be relevant

·         And timely

·         Information that is communicated

·         That is neither timely, nor relevant

·         Just wastes everyone's time and energy

·         It just makes sense to combine the two!

·         In these Issacons we'll refer to it simply as "I/C"

Knowledge versus information - 1

·      While on the subject of information

·         It is useful to distinguish between knowledge and information

·      Knowledge

·         Represents a body of things known

·         Typically through research, learning or education

·         Such as the ability to manage a project !

·         It can be applied only with an intelligent understanding of the particular circumstances

·         Before knowledge can be used

·         It must be converted to useful information

Knowledge versus information - 2

·      Information

·         As distinct from knowledge

·         Represents specifics that can be applied to a project situation

·         In order to achieve some objective

·         Such as a change in direction

·      Both knowledge and information can be stored

·         E.g. in databases

·      But, the project focus must always be

·         On the free flow of information, i.e. communication

·         And its effective use

·         By knowledgeable people !

Why is Info/Coms important?

Consider the analogy of the automobile

·         The engine of a car needs fuel energy to move it

·         In project management, that means people to do the work

·         But the car needs direction

·         On the project, that means information

·         The car needs oil to keep it running

·         I.e. constant communication between its parts

·         So, on a project

·         Without people there is no one to do the work

·         Without communication, no one knows what to do!

Information problem

Information on a project is a major problem

·         Consider this list for example

·         Architecture and design briefs

·         Cellular and web communications

·         Cost estimates and budgets

·         Equipment lists

·         Flow diagrams, charts and drawings

·         Forecasts and change orders

·         Letters, memos, Emails

·         Meeting minutes, of all kinds

·         Policies and procedures of all kinds

·         Progress reports of all types

·         Requests for proposals and submissions

·         Requisitions and purchase orders

·         Schedules

·         Supplier information and documentation

·         User and operating manuals of all kinds


·      What is "information"?

·         Information is

·         Knowledge communicated, news, intelligence, data or facts

·         That is conveyed in some form such as verbal, written, electronic, etc

·         And that may or may not be reliable

·      However, project information

·         Is more than just plain "information"

·         It must be specific, relevant, reliable, timely

·         And useful !

Project information

Project Information relies heavily on information systems

·         A combination of personnel, efforts, forms, instructions, procedures, data, communication facilities and equipment

·         Providing an organized and interconnected means

·         For displaying information

·         In support of specific functions

·         And decision-making


What is "communication"?

·         Communication is

·         The transmission of information

·         So that the recipient understands

·         What the sender intends

·         Communication media may take several forms

·         Oral, written, textural, numerical, graphic, body language, paper, electronic, physical, etc

I/C Management defined

·      How would you define project information/communication management?

·         The proper organization, recording, storage, retrieval and control of information (data)

·         Exchanged by whatever means

·         To satisfy the needs of the project

·         Note: Data includes all recorded information

·         Regardless of form or characteristic

·      It requires the skills of

·         Transmitting, filtering, receiving and interpreting or understanding information

·         At a level appropriate to the project environment

I/C and the PLC

·      How does I/C relate to the project life cycle?

·         Unlike most of the other project management functions

·         There does not appear to be an I/C life cycle

·         I/C is in constant and consistent use

·         Throughout the project

·         However, as the project progresses

·         It does appear to involve increasing detail

·      Interestingly

·         The project concept and definition phases are essentially exercises in I/C management

Final comment

Information/communications management

·         Is at once both the master and the servant of a project

·         In that it provides the means for interaction

·         Between the many disciplines, functions and activities

·         Both internal and external to the project

·         Which together result in successful project completion