by Achmad Chadran, Portfolio Manager
“Communication and communication strategy is not just part of the game – it is the game.”
– Oscar Muñoz
Communication is a double-edged sword for large infrastructure expansion and modernization projects. Essential for project success, it’s nonetheless often the weakest link in the value chain. At any given time, one missed detail can result in serious delays and cost overruns. Given the demands of large infrastructure project management, dropped connections, miscommunications, and misinterpretations are all too common.
Leveraging “Push” and “Pull” Communication Models
Strategic collaboration is vital for the success of any initiative, but especially those with constrained budgets, multiple sites, and high visibility. That’s how our developers came to create Program Management, a centralized, all-in-one resource portal that – among its many design tenets – provides stakeholders the benefits of both push and pull communication technologies.
Push describes sender-to-receiver communications, such as email and SMS texting. Pull describes a communication process that centralizes information for on-demand access, e.g., via knowledge bases or news feeds.
Program Management integrates the two techniques in a way that helps maximize communications timeliness, clarity, continuity, and accountability.
The primary push communication feature Program Management users leverage is native email integration. Though seemingly straightforward, integrated email functionality can significantly boost productivity. Should a piece of equipment go missing, for example, a site manager doesn’t need to leave Program Management to draft the message, add a subject, select recipients, or send. Instead, he or she can create the message, add all the header information, and even attach relevant files or data from within the Program Management interface. Email integration saves time, reduces fatigue, and lessens the risk of human error.
Moreover, once the site manager sends the message, Program Management retains a copy of the email and all subsequent replies. This keeps the email thread on record, and associates it with the site and/or the asset it pertains to. Users can easily access knowledge and insight contained in the thread as needed for post-mortem reviews, for example, or to head off similar issues in the future. Push meets pull, to benefit efficiency, knowledge transfer, and accountability.
Another way Program Management leverages pull communication processes is through its user blog capability. In addition to stored email threads and shared files – e.g., documents, photographs, CAD renderings, etc. – users can conveniently enter notes about specific sites or assets. These often include exceptions, resolutions, and other information that can save time and money for others down the road. The Program Management user blog lets stakeholders – no matter where in the hierarchy or in the world – enter data and information in real time. This creates a living, organic information log that can be accessed over the duration of the project.
By design, Program Management helps ensure that every person on your team stays in the loop, on the same page, all at once. One Atonix Digital customer, an energy generation and distribution company charged with enhancing security and resilience across a network of sites spread over four states, approached us after struggling to manage crews, subcontractors and suppliers over this vast area. Standard email and weekly status review calls proved labor-intensive and distracting. Worse, they failed to prevent poor handoffs, recurring errors, and waste. With all the moving pieces, site-specific deadlines, dependencies, company resources were stretched nearly to the breaking point.
Fortunately, the company adopted Program Management, which quickly helped straighten out these tangles. Working with the Atonix Digital implementation team, the company mapped desired workflows into the software, revised its strategy based on centralized resources, and devised policies to give all stakeholders the appropriate access to enter, review and revise data based on roles and responsibilities. Program Management wound up saving the company nearly the cost to hire four senior project managers.
When in Doubt, Overcommunicate
Program Management’s secure, all-in-one resource streamlines both communications and status updates, relieving stakeholders from the burden of toggling among numerous programs or applications. More effective collaboration also improves execution, knowledge transfer and accountability. It’s a resource that aligns everyone—from the boardroom to the field—to the project vision and to the inevitable minutia that constantly threaten to alter that vision.
Integrated push and pull communication is one of many Atonix Digital innovations designed to ensure success for organizations building, expanding, or modernizing large infrastructures. Program Management helps organizations derive the full benefit of their talent pools and their preferred platforms and tools by centralizing access to knowledge and integrating the functionality of multiple discrete programs.
Learn more about Program Management.