The Not-So-Secret Guidelines to Effective Communication in IT Projects

In IT project management, clear and effective communication is crucial. Prioritize clarity and professionalism to ensure smooth collaboration and successful outcomes.

In IT project management, communication isn't just a skill—it's the secret weapon for success. Imagine a project/organization where every email, meeting, and conversation flows seamlessly, fostering clarity and collaboration. This is achievable by mastering communication and embracing continuous learning.

Think of communication as the lifeblood of our daily operations. Every interaction—whether an email, a report, or a quick chat—shapes our project's outcome. Did you know the average person speaks 7,000 to 20,000 words a day? That's 28 to 80 pages of single-spaced text! With so much communication happening, keeping it simple and making every word count is crucial.

Let's dive into how the 7 Cs of Communication can help us achieve clearer, more effective exchanges. This timeless guide ensures our messages are always on point, driving our projects towards success.


Clarity is about minimizing the number of ideas in each sentence to avoid confusion. Ensure your instructions are easy to comprehend, leaving no room for assumptions.


  • Be explicit with instructions.
  • Use straightforward language.
  • Break down complex information into digestible parts.


  • Avoid leaving room for misinterpretation.
  • Don’t combine multiple ideas in one sentence.


  • Instead of: "We might have some server maintenance soon, make sure you have everything backed up."
  • Say: "Server maintenance will be on Friday (14.6) from 10 PM to 1 AM. Complete backups by 9 PM to prevent data loss."


Being concise means getting to the point quickly, avoiding unnecessary filler words, and reducing redundancy.


  • Get straight to the point.
  • Use bullet points for lists.


  • Avoid filler words.
  • Don’t use overly complex sentences or repetitive ideas.


  • Instead of: "You see, it is really important that you, for instance, write your estimations by Monday. Basically, we need it, so you know we can literally have to prepare everything."
  • Say: "Sprint planning is on Monday at 1 PM. Please review your items and provide estimations."


Concrete communication is about sharing enough detail to convey your message without overwhelming the recipient with unnecessary information.


  • Provide specific details.
  • Ensure all necessary information is included.


  • Don’t assume the recipient knows what you mean.
  • Avoid adding unnecessary information.


  • Instead of: "You know that report we talked about a few days ago, you need to send it to me so I can review it. Also, maintenance should start sometime today, so be aware that you might have some issues."
  • Say: "Sprint backlog should be ready for review on Monday, 17.6."


Ensure the accuracy of your information and eliminate grammatical errors.


  • Check your grammar and spelling.
  • Proofread your message before sending.


  • Don’t overlook grammar and spelling.


  • Instead of: "Their team meeting is on June 21st at 3 pm at conference room B."
  • Say: "Team meeting for team C1 is on Friday, June 21st at 3 PM in Conference room B."


Coherent communication means that your messages are logically organized and maintain a consistent tone throughout.


  • Organize your messages logically.
  • Ensure all points are connected to the main topic.


  • Don’t mix two topics into one.
  • Avoid leaving out necessary information.


  • Instead of: "Release notes will be ready soon, you should update the client for the next release and provide a roadmap report for the next two releases."
  • Say: "Release notes will be sent on Friday 6/14. Please notify clients."


Make sure all relevant information is included and provide a clear call to action if necessary.


  • Include all relevant information.
  • Provide clear instructions.


  • Don’t leave out important details.
  • Don’t assume everyone knows what you mean.


  • Subject: Suggested timeline for release 3.0
  • "Hi team, Timeline for release 3.0 is provided to you on a spreadsheet attached to the email. Please review it and provide feedback by Monday, June 16th. If you have questions, let me know."


Maintain a friendly, polite, and professional tone. Avoid hidden insults or passive-aggressive language.


  • Use polite language and a respectful tone.
  • Consider your reader’s perspective.


  • Don’t use harsh or rude language.
  • Don’t dismiss the recipient’s concerns.


  • Subject: Deployment notes for release 6/16
  • "Hello team,  
    Please be informed that deployment of release will be on Sunday 6/16 from 11 PM to 2 AM. Note that, during the mentioned time, the application will not be available for use. If you have any scheduled work during this time, please let me know.
    Kind regards,"

Conclusion and Key Takeaways

It might seem obvious to emphasize communication—something we all think we know—but it's surprising how often we overlook its importance in our daily interactions.

Effective communication is essential for success in IT project management. The 7 Cs of Communication—Clear, Concise, Concrete, Correct, Coherent, Complete, and Courteous—provide a guide to improving your communication skills.

Empathy and adaptability are also crucial. Understanding your audience’s needs and adjusting your communication style can significantly enhance interactions.

Key Takeaways

  1. Prioritize Clarity: Ensure your messages are easily understood without assumptions.
  1. Be Brief: Communicate your points succinctly and avoid unnecessary filler.
  1. Detail Matters: Provide enough specific information to convey your message effectively.
  1. Accuracy Counts: Double-check your facts and correct any grammatical errors.
  1. Logical Flow: Structure your communication in a logical, easy-to-follow manner.
  1. Complete Information: Make sure your messages include all necessary details and clear instructions.
  1. Respectful Tone: Maintain a polite, professional, and empathetic approach in all communications.

By applying these principles, you can ensure your messages are always clear and impactful, helping you navigate project management challenges with ease.

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