Effective Communication for Program and Project Stakeholders and Teams

Go beyond the communication methods you learned in the project management training. Learn how to structure your program and project communications for the most effective understanding by your stakeholders, project managers, and project teams.

Course 1 of 5:Professional Certificate in Program Management and the Art of Communication 5 Weeks 3 - 5 Hours per week recommended

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About this course

“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.

What you’ll learn

  • Explain how to craft a clear and effective message.
  • The Understanding Triad: know-what, know-how, and know-why.
  • Design feedback so that you can test for understanding by your audience.
  • Analyze your audience to determine the optimum balance of know-what, know-how, and know-why in your message design.


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

  1. Module Four – Troubleshooting Understanding

Meet your instructor

Bill Brantley

Dr. Brantley is a certified training manager and certified in creating leadership development programs. He is the program manager for the Career Coaching Program at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He’s served as a trainer for over two decades, designing courses completely from the ground-up. He concurrently held positions as an adjunct college professor at UMD and the University of Louisville (Kentucky). There he designed and delivered courses in a wide variety of topics, consistently using leading-edge techniques such as microlearning and flipped classroom to create courses and training programs. In 2019, Dr. Brantley was recognized as an Emerging Training Leader by Training Magazine for his work in the Enterprise Training Division - specifically the recovery and redesign of the Supervisory Certificate Program (SCP) training he developed at USPTO. The Emerging Training Leader is a national award given out annually to the top 25 training leaders in industry, government, and the nonprofit sector. Dr. Brantley’s relentless focus on ensuring delivery of benefits and incorporation of modern course pedagogy.


5 weeks

Experience Level


Learning Partner

University System of Maryland