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Improving Project Communications
Presenters: Everette Chartier PE, R. W. Beck, Inc.
Ronald Leaders, Buckley & Leaders

Description: Inadequate communications are a primary root cause of poor financial results, disputes and claims on design and construction projects. Many technical project managers and team members are not comfortable with non-technical aspects of the project such as communications, team-building, effective sharing of information and team organization/delegation. This program demonstrates how technical project managers and teams can improve project communication through the use of a systems approach of using consistent practices, scheduled activities and guide documents to facilitate project communications. We will discuss use of proposals, scope definition and negotiations, design development discussions, and notices of changing conditions as opportunities to achieve shared understandings and improve project communications with clients and the design team. Multi-level client communication channels and delegation of certain communication responsibilities will also be examined as methods for overcoming project team or client resistance to improving project communication. Discussion will integrate case study examples from large, complex projects.

Learning objectives:
1. Create additional communication opportunities during regular project document preparation activities.

2. Develop and implement uniform documents, practices and expectations for your project team which will result in improved project communication without relying on improving interpersonal communication skills of each project team member.

3. Establish guide documents, clauses and practices which anticipate changing conditions and other common areas of communication problems, to facilitate implementation of successful solutions and avoid misunderstandings, uncompensated work, disputes and claims.

Everette Chartier is a principal and National Director of Technical Energy Services for R. W. Beck, Inc. He is a registered Professional Engineer and has over 30 years of experience in managing design and construction phase services for various engineering firms. He serves as senior program manager on major infrastructure projects and provides advice and counsel to other project managers on a wide range of project types and sizes.

Ronald Leaders is an engineer and attorney, and a principal in the Washington State law firm of Buckley & Leaders. For more than 20 years, Mr. Leaders has provided general counsel, contract negotiations and management advice and other legal advisory services to engineering and scientific professional service firms. He is a frequent speaker on methods to negotiate and achieve more favorable contract results for A/Es.

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