Effective commnication is vital on any IT project. It is even more important on a project under pressure or in crisis. When a project is struggling and most at risk, some people find it harder than normal to communicate. They prefer to struggle on and try to resolve an issue rather than admit that they have a problem.
Its important to build relationships with everyone on the project so that they feel comfortable talking to you. Its useful to speak to people outside of the work place where the social boundaries are little less formal. A meeting room is too formal. “How’s it going?” can sound like the start of an interagation. A coffee bar with a cup of decaf latte or a wine bar with a glass of old speckled hen provide the a much better environment to have a difficult conversation.
But not if its the first time you do it.
Its important to establish the place out of work where to have the conversation before you need to have that first difficult conversation. Otherwise it will be seen as manipulative.
Instead, take time to get to know the team. Take them for a coffee, for lunch, for a glass of wine to chew the fat and get to know them.
When you need it, you will appreciate the option of having a safe place to go and chat where the rule of formality are a bit more relaxed. A place where people will communicate more than they normally would.
As I’ve written this down I’m concerned that someone might read this as a management technique. Its not. I enjoy getting to learn about the people I work with. This is a great way for me to justify those all those coffees I drink.