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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

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4.6 rating, based on 37 reviews

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

  • 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
    I really liked this course. I found the videos captivating. I sometimes struggle to listen to a conference when you are just looking at a lecturer talking, but the use use of illustrations to support the content helped to stay focused. I also appreciated the written summary of the videos that followed. The reference materials were interesting to get more information.

    However, it seems that there were some mistakes in the quizzes.

  • Anonymous
    Unfortunately, transcription is not correct almost all the time - it looks like it was some poor AI doing transcription.

    Pictures sometimes do not correspond to the text in the description (for example in 4.3.2 - no cybersecurity in the table).

    And I am wondering what is the sense of blocking automated quizzes? I thought people can take the whole course and pay to have a verified certificate to put on the office wall or on Linkedin.
  • Profile image for Marcela Criado
    Marcela Criado
    I enjoyed structure of the course with the right mix of videos, reading and quizzes. The instructor is very clear and the annimation of the videos helps the understanding.

    The concepts and examples are very good.

    This is a very good way to acquire these concepts.

    I highly recommend this course.

  • Florencia MARTINO LOPEZ
    Easy to consume, interactive and with great content this course has been a real discovery for those in the Project Management universe!

    I found very attractive not only the videos but also the additional material provided that made me discovered some interesting articles around the topic!
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this class. I appreciated the pace and the videos. It was helpful to have small lessons each day. Each one reiterated things learned from the previous lessons. This kind of repetition is a good way to retain information. I plan to take the next class in the series.
  • Profile image for Arianne Melara
    Arianne Melara
    I really enjoyed this course and learned a lot. I find it very helpful to have both videos and text as the content can respond and meet the needs of diverse learners. I do think that the videos could be improved a bit in terms of some typos both in the...
  • Profile image for Nicholas Alexander Brown
    Nicholas Alexander Brown
    Really interesting content. Some of the models discussed are very different from other models (e.g., Simon Sinek's start with why). Useful for managers and leaders at every level, and especially communications professionals
  • Anonymous
    This course was easy to follow and provided useful information whether you are a project manager or looking to improve your combination skills. Great course for anyone looking to enhance their skills in any field!
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed this course specially it contains lots of new information about communication and good use of videos and reading material. I will recommend this course to my colleague and friends.
  • Profile image for Eu S
    Eu S
    i really enjoyed the course it clarified to me several things that I unawares did but know I know the reasons why should be that way.
  • Anonymous
    Loved the course, it made my aspect on how risk assessment and communication play a huge role into becoming a PM
  • Anonymous
    I enjoyed this course very much. I learned a lot and had it was fun. Not to easy with great explanations.
  • Anonymous
    I really appreciated the format and structure of the course : you can watch the video or focus on the take-out. The videos are well done : they help to visualize the concepts and memorise them. The use of historical / real life examples is interesting...
  • Anonymous
    What I really liked about the course was that the professor did not only explain the content in a very clear way but also that his speech was accompanied by drawings. The drawings were understandable and creative and therefore it was both appropriate for the auditory and visual learning type. After each module there was a written summary, which was perfect to refresh the content. The professor referred to historical events and pointed out to which extend the communication was affected and drew parallels to the communication in project teams. This was quiet interesting. All in all I enjoyed the course and would recommend it.
  • Anonymous
    This course was a great way for me to learn how to become a more effective project manager. I am very new at project management, and I have a lot to learn. I was able to take away some information from this course. I have a better knowledge of the Understanding triad and how to use it when communicating with other people. Also, how the understanding triad is closely assisted to the Emergence Model of Communication, the two tools, can give better feedback when doing evaluations. I have better knowledge of how to conduct a stakeholder analysis and assess their roles in the project.
  • Anonymous
    This course was a great way for me to learn how to become a more effective project manager. I am very new at project management, and I have a lot to learn. I was able to take away some information from this course. I have a better knowledge of the Understanding triad and how to use it when communicating with other people. Also, how the understanding triad is closely assisted to the Emergence Model of Communication, the two tools, can give better feedback when doing evaluations. I have better knowledge of how to conduct a stakeholder analysis and assess their roles in the project.
  • Anonymous
    It was a good and smooth course to learn from, the way they have presenting were so easy and understandable, the speaker was talking clearly and he used his experiences and lessons learned to inherit each idea that he gave.

    I was so excited while i was learning more about how to divide the steps during communication, many people think that thing is easy to do, but when you go deep inside that processes and how much you have to be smart while you are designing the best way and time to deliver your message you will discover the importance of raising your communication effectiveness.
  • Anonymous
    most questions are "knowledge level". You need to click three times the "submit" before the answers will be verified and given points. I am also confused about the question about Paul Shannon Vs. Claude Shannon. The name should be Claude and not Paul and the answer should be false. If possible provide enough bibliography and also inserted in the paragraph to its validity and reliability. If possible don't keep on repeating the questions. The choices also is not that good cause you can easily guess even you didn't read anything about it. honestly, I am bit disappointed.
  • Anonymous
    I found this course to be very useful and easy to learn and understand. the videos are short and to the point and each week takes an hour of your time at most. After taking this class I now know things to think about and look out for when communicating with others that generally has improved what I have done. The course is easy to complete and teaches useful information in short and digestible sized portions that make it simple for anyone to learn from. I would recommend taking this course to anyone interesting in project management or any line of work.

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