Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

University System of Maryland

Effective Communication for Program and Project Stakeholders and Teams

University System of Maryland and University of Maryland, College Park via edX


“Everyone communicates, but few connect” is a famous book and message by John C. Maxwell on leadership. The meaning behind this message is that as leaders of programs and projects, we need to be not just communicators, but effective communicators.

Obtaining your Project Management Professional (PMP) certification or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or similar project management certificate is the first step. But, as you gain program management and project management experience, you realize that effective communication goes beyond what you learned in "A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge" (PMBOK).

Gaining a program management certification or project management certification (such as the PMP certification) equips you with the necessary project management tools to begin your project or project management career. There is more to effective program and project communication than what is on the PMP exam.

For communication from program managers and project managers to be truly effective, there must be understanding beyond what you learned from your professional certification. The communicator and the receiver must use feedback to determine how the message was received and if the communicator created the intended level of understanding in the receiver for the communication to succeed.

In this course, you will learn about the Understanding Triad - know-what, know-how, and know-why. The Understanding Triad aids you in crafting just the right level of explanation for all your audiences. The Understanding Triad will make you a more effective program manager, traditional project manager, agile project manager, or certified scrum master.

The Project Management Institute, Inc (PMI) teaches that project management communication is the transfer of information. The project or program manager sends messages to their project teams, stakeholders, customers, and executive sponsors. If the program manager or project manager believes that communicating a clear message is enough for good communication, then the manager may be fooled into thinking their communication efforts are complete. Even if there is feedback, the feedback is usually limited to confirming that the message was received as intended. However, communication is not merely the transmission of information. The difference can be days, months, or years of wasted time and effort; or successful, early delivery.

Certified program and certified project managers earn 10 professional development units (PDU) as they learn how communication can make a difference in every interaction, and become a truly effective program or project manager. Gain the power skill of communication in this certificate program.


Week One - Defining Communication

Module One - The Transmission Model of Communication

Module Two - The Emergence Model of Communication

Module Three - Program and Project Management Communication - Tasks, Resources, and Schedules

Module Four - Program and Project Management Communication - Visioning and Building a Team

Week Two - Creating Messages to be Understood

Module One - The Building Blocks of a Message

Module Two - What is Understanding - Know-What

Module Three - What is Understanding - Know-How

Module Four - What is Understanding - Know-Why

Module Five - Putting It All Together With Building Blocks

Week Three - Feedback and Understanding

Module One - What is Good Feedback?

Module Two - How to Give Good Feedback

Module Three - How to Use Feedback for Testing Understanding

Module Four - Incorporating Continuous Feedback into Your Project

Module Five - Putting It All Together and Preview of the Next Module

Week Four - Audience Analysis

Module One - The Different Audiences in a Program or Project

Module Two - What Information Does Each Audience Need

Module Three - Balancing the Understanding Triad in Your Message

Module Four - Troubleshooting Understanding

Taught by

Bill Brantley


4.6 rating, based on 73 Class Central reviews

4.5 rating at edX based on 15 ratings

Start your review of Effective Communication for Program and Project Stakeholders and Teams

  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed the course and learned a lot. The speaker was too fast for me so I relied on the transcript and was not really able to watch the video, but at some point I stopped it to have a good visual of the content as well as they are so helpful to deepen the knowledge. There were some questions in the quiz that were not grammatically correct or even having the answer in it already, but overall they helped to reflect back the most important things of the module. I would recommend the course to my colleagues.
  • Anonymous
    This course was very timely and well done. The instructor offered realistic explanations to project/program management scenarios that a working project manager could use in the field. The supplement resources were just as good even though some links no longer worked it did not detract from the overall experience. I would highly recommend this course to any on in the project management field, regardless of level. The information is useful and is in alignment with modern project management practices.
  • Profile image for Rose F
    Rose F
    This course taught me about different theories of communication, how they have evolved over time, and how important and relevant understanding is within communication to ensure successful project management. The course is formatted to include videos as well as written material and links to supplemental articles, along with quizzes and knowledge checks to ensure retention and understanding of the material. it is self-paced, which is essential for me as a professional working full-time.
  • Anonymous
    This was a very informative course. Even knowing some of the information prior to this course, I learned better strategies and gained more resources to improve my skills. The check were helpful to help you understand the information you received. The instructor was knowledgeable and easy to listen to. I would recommend this course to anyone looking start gaining skills in or to advance their skills in effective communication.
  • Anonymous
    The course was incredibly helpful. It covered a variety of topics, teaching me how to communicate effectively in project teams. The practical exercises and real-world examples made the learning experience practical and engaging. Overall, this course has greatly improved my communication skills for successful project management. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to enhance their abilities in project communication.
  • Anonymous
    This course helped me to have a better understanding in all of the work that I am currently doing. It helped me realize that communication is a great tool, but better uses for it can be done with a more strategic format. I got to use new things such as the understanding triad. I feel that i am better equipped to develop my skills thanks to a lot of the subjects that are covered here.
  • Anonymous
    Interesting and very educating class. The case studies relate to real like cases and solutions provided were practical. I acquired some new knowledge and skills and would recommend it to friends in the communications and program/project management fields.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this course! It was helpful to enhance my communication skills both personally and professionally. The course materials were well-organized and presented clearly and logically, which made it easy to understand. Highly recommend.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed Effective Communication for Program and Project Stakeholders and Teams. This course was informative and jam-packed with communication jewels. I look forward to utilizing what I have learned from this course soon.
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed Effective Communication for Program and Project Stakeholders and Teams. This course was informative and jam-packed with communication jewels. I look forward to utilizing what I have learned from this course soon.
  • Anonymous
    The class was helpful in explaining how to communicate with stakeholders. Learning about the Emergence Model and Understanding Triad will help me better manage project work and stakeholder expectations. Highly recommend.
  • Anonymous
    Love it, very informative. Self pace learning were very flexible. Will take more classes. Quiz were not hard.
  • Anonymous
    Like others, I agree that the course content is excellent but its execution is not good. There are typos and not much care was made in the formatting of the text. As someone who works within open edX, I understand some of the challenges, but it does…
  • Anonymous
    Enjoyed the course. There were things that I was doing (and had seen other do) that I wasn't sure of why I did them the way I did. In hindsight this course provided a lot of the why to the what I was doing. I enjoyed most of the videos but at times it did get into the weeds. Would definately recommend.
  • Anonymous
    I didn't realise how little I knew about communication until I took this course. It has enlightened me not only about communication but also about other useful Project Management skills and tools. I will recommend this to anyone who desires to run successful and engaging projects.
  • Anonymous
    Really insightful and easy to follow class. The material was relevant and was very easy to apply to my current role. The instructor also did a great job of carrying us along and even though the class was delivered online, I found the content very engaging.
  • Anonymous
    The course is good one particularly for those who are leading big teams and multiple stakeholders in any Project. It gives you an insight which can be used in day to day working as regard communication, feedback, gap analysis, risk, responsibilities etc.
  • Anonymous
    I found the course very good and helpful for my work as a manager in an international programme. I was able to gain some new skills and knowledge and use them in my work. The videos and animations were a bit "outdated", but they serve their purpose.
  • Anonymous
    I was really enjoying the course and feel the content was useful. However, I did not feel the course was professionally executed. There were typos, which is ironic for a communications course. There were also technical issues with the videos when we got to Week 4. 2 videos didn't match the transcript and it took several weeks to get it fixed for the first one so I just read the transcript for the second one so I wouldn't have to wait for it. In addition, there was a question on the final exam that I believe had the wrong answer. So the quality at the end was not what I hoped it to be and will not be paying to get a verification certificate on any other course as it is not worth the money in my opinion.
  • Anonymous
    The graphic presentation used for the class was interesting to watch. I liked that you could also see the transcript while watching the video and scroll it back if you missed something. The synopsis after the video was helpful too, it reinforced what was in the video. The reference links at the end of each module were helpful. I really liked the one about people who inspire and the remark, "Martin Luther King had a dream and not just a plan."

Never Stop Learning.

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Someone learning on their laptop while sitting on the floor.