| I had a boss once who continually
asked me what the purpose of my work was, who were my
customers, and how was I keeping my customers informed
about my team's work. At first I found these questions
perplexing, as my customers should have known the answers.
I had covered them in my monthly/quarterly reports or
in my project meeting notes.
Finally, I confronted him about his questions. He
acknowledged that my customers had this information,
but he was hearing some disturbing comments between
when I submitted my reports, comments like, "What has
he done for me lately?"
I decided to take this input to heart. My ideas about
communications norms needed a major overhaul. The communication
norms I was comfortable with were becoming outdated. I
realized the written and verbal communications response
time was suddenly being measured in days or minutes. People's
perception of a project team based on monthly or quarterly
meetings was no longer adequate. In the past, once the
team's credibility was established it was hard to change.
In a rapid-fire communications world, no news causes people
to question what the team is doing to move the business/project
do not want to communicate their efforts until they
have all the data.
I decided I needed to change my "communications game"
and began developing a proactive communications strategy
to maintain the high credibility of the team and market
their excellent work. This strategy required several
With these components in mind, I implemented a "Blurb"
approach. What is a " Blurb"? It's a sound bite or a small
piece of information explaining some excellent work someone
is doing. The intent is to continually remind people the
team is credible and very much in control. It also serves
the dual purpose of sharing information throughout various
organizations so they can benefit from what one team has
learned and hence not waste time trying to reinvent the
- Definition: we had to define our target audiences
and understand what would be important to them.
- Timeliness: what are we doing for our customers
today? Forget the axiom no news is good news.
- Consistency: we're in control of problems and here's
what we are doing about them.
- Recognition: we showcase the project team's work
while allowing hierarchy an opportunity to quickly
recognize their contributions.
- Versatility: we needed to take advantage of all
available communications technologies, e.g., e-mail,
presentation software, face-to-face...
I soon realized marketing a "Blurb" approach would not
be easy. People typically do not want to communicate their
efforts until they have all the data. It would take time
too before people or teams saw the benefits of this type
of communications and became proactive participants. Hence,
I took it upon myself to market the "Blurb." It has become
my personal crusade.
took it upon myself to market the 'Blurb'.
In my organization, I believe the "Blurb" communication
model has been a tremendous success for people who have
embraced it. The proactive nature of sharing the team's
successes and acknowledging their temporary setbacks
has given teams solid credibility throughout their careers.
It is easy to become cynical about traditional and non-traditional
rewards and recognition programs. However, as we continue
to raise the bar on what we expect out of our project
managers, we need to look for new and exciting ways
to celebrate not only their team's successes but also
their individual success.