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Opinions of Thursday, 7 February 2019

Columnist: Engr. Kwame Ofori-Addo & Isaac Ato Mensah

The annoying project communication etiquette of Ghanaians

It can be very annoying and frustrating working with Ghanaian contractors; they often lack basic project communication skills.

This happens because anybody at all who has money thinks (s)he can jump into construction forgetting that it is a sector that deals with professionals.

The perception out there is that there is so much money in construction.

‘Please exercise patience, we are mobilising funds,’ is the typical irritating Ghanaian response.

And such responses only come when you get annoyed and fire off a strongly-worded email or WhatsApp message seeking a rational explanation for inordinate delays and lack of communication.

Otherwise, you are ignored; nobody feels that they owe you timely explanations.

The danger is that you may end up damaging relationships with your terse message announcing your annoyance.

Haven’t we all had sleepless nights about how to wash our hands off a project?

Often in Ghana, we hear in the news that a contractor has locked a project site and taken the keys away.

This means the contractors are also being frustrated by the project financiers.

It is a mess out there; there is disconnect between schooling and practice; it is so frustrating.

Let us leave you with some project communication research published in 2016 by Jean Binder on taylorfrancis.com.

‘Many project managers still rely exclusively on the so-called ‘hard’ skills, such as planning, scheduling and controlling, to coordinate the projects. The ‘soft’ skills (for example, communication, understanding of cultural differences and team building) and the ‘informal’ project management techniques (such as networking, influencing and improvising) are essential for the success of global projects, and require special attention from organisations.’

We know the Ghanaian terrain is particularly challenging.

But please do not send any angry-sounding emails yet.

Outsource your project communication tasks to us; we shall help you communicate with clarity and precision; we can still punch if you want us to – no sweat.

Feedback; ato@writersghana.com or WhatsApp Engr. Ofori-Addo through 026 300 0076.