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Project Communication on a Budget

Trying to communicate about a project on a tight budget encompasses the experience of just about every project team. At her blog, Elizabeth Harrin explains why cheap is good and free is better (though funding is best):

Email newsletters, intranet sites, leaflets, meeting people and buying them coffee, Town Hall style meetings, Quizzes – these are surprisingly popular and only need a small token prize, using your team as ‘marketing outreach’ people to spread the message.

The previous passage is just a laundry list, but a good place to start when thinking thrifty about project communication. Once you’ve exhausted all the low-hanging fruit, here are some more creative approaches.

Clever, or Just Crafty?

As it turns out, there really is a place for arts and crafts in the project management world. Harrin used her family as free labor to create customized labels for wine bottles as a gift to project staff. But just as you may not harbor a particularly strong ability (or desire) to crochet a desk ornament, you may want to consider the effectiveness of your crafty crusades on a case-by-case basis.

Let Them Eat Cake

It’s probably an unspoken rule that food communicates intentions. But, if one is so inclined, you can also use food to communicate by literally printing and attaching logos and other company information to tasty food (e.g. – rice paper printouts for cake toppers).

Video Killed the Rainbow Cake Message

But if you’re not quite an artist (no talent), not really into baked goods (too messy), there is always the clean and straightforward approach of making video. Good news – video production, thanks to the brilliance of today’s digital technologies, is practically free and virtually idiot-proof. There can be no underestimating its power. A few recommendations by Harrin: use natural light without shooting into that light, cut out background noise to improve audio quality, and eliminate any distractions in view.

The last piece of cake (err, advice), however disingenuous, is good advice – get a bigger budget! The best chance of achieving this goal is to set the money aside while you still have it.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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