The project will suffer through shortage or lack of communication of information and ideas


The project will suffer through shortage or lack of communication of information and ideas.  The communications paths are not in place or are insufficient and inadequate.  See also CostOfCommunication dealing with communication that is too expensive, and DifficultyInCommunication dealing with misunderstanding of communicated information.


There are many sorts of information that get collected, created and communicated during a project.  Certain major flows of information are absolutely necessary for the performance of essential tasks.  Without these flows, the tasks will not get performed, or will be based on guesswork.  In addition to these, there are also subsidiary flows of information that support decision-making, but are not absolutely essential.  When they are in place, better decisions are made than when the information is unavailable.  In addition to these, there are flows of information that do not affect the quality of the product directly, but affect the morale of the team.  When these are in place, team members feel connected and integrated as part of a team.  Without them, certain team members feel isolated and their quality of work is likely to be affected.

Prevention, Amelioration, Cure

In general, the problems of tailoring organization and roles are covered in InappropriateOrganization; here we assume organization is already appropriate.  Of the patterns covered there, OrganizationFollowsLocation and ThreeToSevenHelpersPerRole are the most significant in dealing directly with organization for communication.


The general problems of communication are addressed by ShapingCirculationRealms.  Specific problems in communication are dealt with by several patterns.  When geographical separation is unavoidable, work FaceToFaceBeforeWorkingRemotely.  In communication with the customer and other outside influences, a GateKeeper may be useful to filter the information being passed.  To get the required bandwidth of communication with a customer that has conflicts of priority, a CustomerInterface may be appropriate.  Within the team, it may help to establish a team that already communicates to each other, by SelfSelectingTeam.  The additional flows of information that aid decision-making and team morale are addressed by HallwayChatter, made easier by having an OpenWorkspace.


Modern, agile approaches have communication as one of their main principles – “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools”.  Small teams are advocated, and internal communications supported by OpenWorkspace and DevelopingInPairs.  Communications with the customer are greatly enhanced by having the CustomerOnSite.