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Business project management (BPM) refers to an approach that involves synchronization of business processes and operations in order to satisfy the needs of customers (Chong, 2010). Its main role is to improve the efficiency, flexibility, and effectiveness of businesses processes through innovation and incorporation of technology. In order to achieve success during BPM projects, it is imperative to understand, develop, and apply effective and efficacious communication strategies (Chong & Rosemann, 2010).
Many leaders are conversant with the most important aspects of business process management. However, their projects fail because project managers lack knowledge on the importance of effective communication. Application of effective communication strategies in implementation of BPM projects plays several roles.
It eradicates high-level resistance among employees, elicits support from different business stakeholders, facilitates sharing of knowledge, and wins the trust and confidence of employees and stakeholders (Chong & Rosemann, 2010). The successful completion of a BPM project depends on the application and use of effective communication strategies to produce, collect, distribute, and store project information (Majed, 2002).
Importance of effective communication
Many implementers of BPM projects concentrate more on two main requirements that include information technology (IT) and key performance indicators (KPIs) (Chong & Rosemann, 2010). IT and KPIs are core aspects of the planning phase of any project. In many instances, they overshadow the importance of proper communications strategies. Therefore, communication strategies are not incorporated into the project’s blueprint.
Effective communication is important because it enables employees to comprehend, embrace, and support their organization’s project (Chong & Rosemann, 2010). It also facilitates exchange of ideas and opinions among employees.
In many instances, executives responsible for BPM programs fail to communicate with stakeholders regarding the planning and completion of projects (Chong, 2010). Lack of effective communication has adverse effects on projects. Many executives rely on personal beliefs and judgments that are often inaccurate and biased (Chong & Rosemann, 2010).
This results in deviation from desired results and the expectation of stakeholders. On the other hand, certain communication strategies are so complicated that stakeholders fail to understand the aim of organizational projects (Majed, 2002). If this happens, stakeholders refrain from participating in the project’s implementation because of poor comprehension regarding the usefulness of the project. It is important to win the trust and confidence of stakeholders through effective communication.
One of the most important roles of communication in BPM projects is giving assurance to employees that the organization is fully committed to the success of its project (Kirchmer, 2011). Another role is to inform employees of their individual roles in the implementation of the project. Therefore, a simple communication strategy should be created and implemented. The success of a BPM initiative bases on three core factors.
These include effective communication, clear understanding of the project’s implementation methods, and comprehension of BPM frameworks (Kirchmer, 2011). In order to build process capabilities, employees should be aware of all BPM frameworks and implementation methods.
An effective communication strategy creates demand among stakeholders and hence motivates them to participate in the implementation of the project (Majed, 2002). During the planning phase, both internal and external stakeholders must be considered in the development of a communication plan.
Effective communication is also important with regard to marketing of BPM projects. Techniques of marketing communication are important because they provide a communication framework to apply (Chong, 2010). One of the most important factors in modern marketing is marketing mix, which comprises elements that an organization considers in order to attain desired outcomes. In this context, the 4P framework of marketing communication can be used in implementation of BPM projects.
The 4Ps include product, price, promotion, and place (Chong & Rosemann, 2010). In order to apply these concepts in BPM initiatives, effective communication is necessary. The 4Ps represent different aspects of an implementation plan (Kirchmer, 2011). Stakeholders represent the target market. Project implementers must communicate their ideas to all BPM users including teams, departments, and individual employees (Chong & Rosemann, 2010).
Effective communication helps to pass necessary information regarding the project to users that possess similar information that requires harmonization (Plankiewicz, 2010). The product is represented by the content of the BPM project. Implementers must communicate the project’s facilities, application tools, and other features that are important to users. In addition, they must communicate the availability of varied process designs available to different user segments in the organization.
The place is represented by distribution of information regarding the project. Implementers must communicate with users and avail knowledge regarding the benefits of BPM (Plankiewicz, 2010). In addition, they must create awareness regarding different aspects and applications of the project. Finally, the price aspect is represented by the project’s cost. Project managers must communicate to users and stakeholders about costs associated with implementation of the BPM project in the organization.
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Another important role of effective communication in BPM projects is eradication of high-level resistance among employees (Gina & Meryl, 2007). Employees resist change because it introduces additional responsibilities and new ways of implementing organizational processes. In order to eradicate employee resistance, the project’s executive must communicate the importance of BPM with regard to improvement of organizational processes and operations (Śliwiński & Gabryelczyk, 2010).
It is important to prepare employees for change in order to avoid interrupting the day-to-day operations of the organization. Preparing employees for change is important because it prevents development of negative attitudes and perceptions. In addition, it prevents a decline of employees’ efficiency and productivity, which is usually a sign of resistance to change (Plankiewicz, 2010).
The main role of BPM is to enhance the efficiency, flexibility, and effectiveness of business processes. This is possible if employees embrace change, which results from implementation of a BPM project. In order to encourage embracement of BPM, leaders should communicate the importance of BPM to employees and stakeholders (Gina & Meryl, 2007). This is achieved through training courses, team building activities, and interaction sessions.
Before implementing a project, leaders must first convince employees that their productivity and performance will improve through embracement of BPM (Plankiewicz, 2010). Successful implementation of a BPM project requires a well-developed communication strategy.
An effective implementation plan contains an effective communication plan and key performance indicators to measure the success of the project. Lack of a communication plan results in either failure of the project or achievement of poor results that are contrary to shareholders’ expectations (Kirchmer, 2011). A communication plan is necessary during the comprehension and implementation phases of the project.
Choice of an effective communication method
The choice of a communication method to use determines the level of success achieved (Śliwiński & Gabryelczyk, 2010). Many communication methods are available to project implementers for use. One of the factors to consider when choosing an effective method is the recipient.
Some methods will work well with employees while others will work well with stakeholders. Communication methods that can be used in BPM projects include formal and informal methods (Kirchmer, 2011). Formal communication tools include memos, interviews, posters, pamphlets, newsletters, and branded shirts. Formal communication channels include road shows, workshops, study tours, team building, mass emails, announcements through the media, and conferences.
On the other hand, informal communication tools include retreats, networking, word of mouth, and interaction sessions. Informal communication channels include coaching, phone calls, face-to-face meetings, committee meetings, and training courses (Śliwiński & Gabryelczyk, 2010). A BPM project implementation committee should choose the most appropriate and effective communication method to use. Choosing an appropriate method improves the delivery and reception of information regarding various aspects of the project.
Business project management (BPM) aims to improve the effectiveness of organizational processes and operations through embracement of innovation and technology. Effective communication plays several roles in the implementation BPM projects. It eradicates high-level resistance among employees, promotes sharing of knowledge, ideas, as well as information, and elicits support and investment from stakeholders.
Leaders should communicate the benefits and opportunities associated with BPM in order to get support from employees and stakeholders. Employees resist change because it introduces new responsibilities and ways of executing organizational processes. Project implementers must ensure that the chosen method of communication is effective for interactions with employees and stakeholders. There are formal and informal communication methods.
With a wide variety of communication channels available for use, project managers must practice caution in choosing a communication strategy. It is important for employees and stakeholders to develop trust and confidence in the project. Otherwise, it fails completely or it produces results that are contrary to the expectations of stakeholders.
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