The Contribution of Communication to IT Project Success


By Ann Pilkington

United Kingdom


There is a specific set of communication challenges that come with an IT led change project. Not least among them is the lack of resources so often put into the communication function. When millions are being spent on hardware and software, it is a false economy to assume that the project manager or a non-communication specialist can take it on. The project manager should be over-seeing, not doing communication and why would someone without the relevant experience and/or qualification be suitable for the role? What project manager would put a communicator in charge of user acceptance testing? Exactly! So why is it acceptable to put a non-communicator in charge of communication?

So aside from the right person for the role, what are the communication challenges for IT projects? Here are my top three:

Overselling:   communicators themselves can be guilty of this. It goes with an approach to change communication that is all about “selling” the change. This sell approach pervades through much project communication and is flawed for a number of reasons. Firstly, stakeholders are often cynical and don’t believe the “puffery”. This results from a history of IT projects that have failed to deliver what they promised. There is a great model that helps explain this:


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About the Author


Ann Pilkington

United Kingdom



Ann Pilkington
is the author of Communicating Projects published by Gower. She is a founding director of the PR Academy which provides qualifications, training and consultancy in all aspects of communication including change project communication and project management.

Information about Ann’s book, Communicating Projects, An End-to-End Guide to Planning, Implementing and Evaluating Effective Communication, can be found here and at http://www.gowerpublishing.com/isbn/9781409453192.

Ann can be contacted at [email protected]