Information sharing is a key project management soft skill and is crucial for any project to succeed. It is by information sharing that the project development, status, issues, and accomplishments are evaluated and necessary steps taken by the stakeholders/ management to ensure that the project succeeds. Information can be shared differently depending on the nature of the organization. Nowadays, with the increase in technology, information is shared among the management through electronic means (Jennifer & John 2000). Both large and small organizations rely mostly on electronic communication to share information concerning its products, projects, accomplishments, status and new products. Electronic communication has boosted sharing of information between companies and the clients/ customers. This is because customers nowadays research everything they wish to buy online and make orders online depending on the information they find shared there.
Email has substantially contributed to sharing of company ideas currently. Every decision made by management is shared to other stakeholders and customers through email or emails follow through after meetings. Organizations use emails to keep track of project development, issues arising from the projects, and accomplishments since at least every employee has an access to a personal email and the company email (Buckner, & Gillham, 2000). When the information does not involve critical issues for discussion t, emails serve as the quickest and reliable means of sharing such information among all the involved parties at the same time. New ideas like engineering secrets, new designs, and products are exchanged via internet though email or phone links. Furthermore, an organization may buy new project products, and make new business deals specifically for the project via the internet. Perhaps, information sharing via internet is faster and efficient. When the management wants to share information concerning the progress of the project, they use emails to communicate since it is the most efficient, cheap and most accurate means of communication (Boneva, Kraut, & Frohlich, 2001).
Documentation is also another type of information sharing in projects communication. Documents are used to share knowledge, information and thinking efficiently among project participants. They help all project stakeholders to easily consult projects documentation recipository to find all content that relates to their interests. Information that is shared through documents is divided into two permanent and temporally. Permanent information shared by documents includes; user manuals, training materials, contract forms, and help information. Also, information concerning project design specifications, database definitions and process diagrams is shared by documents. On the other hand, Information intended for internal communication like passing of ideas, issues, control and working papers is shared via documents temporarily (Jennifer & John, 2000).
Information can also be shared in meetings. Meetings are used to exchange ideas, communicate with the top management and record employee’s conditions as well as hear their ideas. Further, Information concerning new project dimensions, rearranging of the older project procedures, safety factors of employees, insurance, holidays, or vacation changes are shared in meetings. Incases where the organization has branches overseas and in different states it can organize internet meeting so that it can save on travelling costs and time.
Social networking has revolutionalized information sharing and is essential in project communications because it promotes sharing of values, visions, and ideas. Social networks can be defined as nodes of individuals, groups, organizations, and related systems that tie in one or more types of interdependence. Organizations which are networked socially succeed faster than those organizations which are not. Steve, Scott, & Warren (2009) denote that Social networks affect the effectiveness and efficiency of project communication positively in that they:
- Recognize the individuals, groups and units that play a crucial role in the p[project.
- Leverage friends support
- Improve innovation and learning
- Help in refining project strategies
- Strengthen the efficiency and effectiveness of existing official communication channels.
- Create opportunities to speed up flow of knowledge across functional and organizational boundaries.
Finally, organizational information can take different forms but of importance is how the information is shared among the involved parties and how it is used to effectively and efficiently enable project management.
Boneva, B., Kraut, R., & Frohlich, D., (2001). Using e-mail for personal relationships, American Behavioral Scientist, 45 (3) 530-549.
Buckner, K. & Gillham, M., (2000). Using e-mail for social and domestic purposes: processes, Practices and attitudes. Boston: Kluwer.
Jennifer, R. & John, F., (2000). Organizing knowledge: an introduction to managing access to information ISBN 0-566-08047-8.
Murray, A. (2008). Electronic resource management 2.0: Using web 2.0 technologies as cost effective alternatives to an electronic resource management system. Journal of Electronic Resources Librarianship, 20(3), 156-168.
Steve, B., Scott, C. & Warren, A., (2009), “What Does the CFO Know about Technology Anyway?” Chronicle of Higher Education Audio.