Document Detail

Title: RR105-11 - An Assessment Tool for Improving Team Communications
Publication Date: 1/1/1997
Product Type: Research Report
Status: Reference
Pages: 218
Tucker, Kelly, Thomas, Univ. of Texas at Austin
Order Now  


Research conducted by the Project Team Communications research team confirms that which has been acknowledged by project managers for years: effective communication is one of the major challenges to a project’s success. While studies have highlighted the importance of effective communications for project success, there has been little effort to reliably measure communications effectiveness. An important step then in improving team communications is the development of a diagnostic tool for assessing the effectiveness of team communications. This report documents the investigative efforts of Research Team 105, commissioned by the Construction Industry Institute (CII) to develop such a tool.

The research team established specific objectives based on the hypothesis that the successful completion of a project is positively correlated with the effectiveness of the project team’s communication. The methodology followed by the research team in evaluating this hypothesis concluded with development of the communications assessment tool. This methodology consisted of three phases: (1) questionnaire development, (2) data collection and analysis, and (3) diagnostic tool development. The research team was made up of seasoned industry executives and academics. After conducting a thorough search of current literature, members drew upon their professional experience in developing survey questionnaires. Following a series of pre-tests and revisions, the team conducted a highly successful data collection effort. The ensuing statistical analysis of questionnaire responses identified critical communications and success variables used in validating the research hypothesis. This validation led the research team to conclude that the survey questionnaires were capable of measuring communications effectiveness.

To gain acceptance within an industry known to resist change, the diagnostic tool had to provide an easily understood, meaningful, and reliable assessment with minimal administrative overhead. The research team addressed these issues by developing COMPASS, a computer automated diagnostic tool which expedites data collection and analysis, provides benchmark results from 72 surveyed projects, and offers a variety of reports to assess and pinpoint project communications problems. The benefits gained from this research are significant. Project communications can now be reliably measured and monitored supporting programs for improvement. Also, a research database and methodology have been established supporting further research.