Project Management Institute

Project team performance

a study of electronic task and coordination communication

Many researchers have noted that those project teams which communicate often will usually perform better. But practitioners often lack a comprehensive understanding of how they can ensure that their project teams communicate effectively. This article examines how self-directed project teams can use collective asynchronous electronic communication tools--such as e-mail and team discussion boards--to effectively communicate among themselves and efficiently share information about project tasks and team coordination. In doing so, it reviews the literature on using technology to communicate effectively; it identifies the four complexities involved in communicating information about project tasks to team members. It describes the challenges and the advantages of relying on electronic communication tools. It then outlines a study--involving 134 college students working in one of 34 teams to create psychological assessments--that uses time-series analysis to track how each project team's performance was affected by how well and how often they used electronic tools to communicate--throughout the project's life cycle--information about project tasks and team coordination. It describes the study's methodology, purpose, and measures of performance; it analyzes its results, showing the key differences between low-performing and high-performing teams. It also explains why this study's findings are relevant to project professionals.
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