In the context of organizational project and program management, communications is a core competency that, when properly executed, connects every member of a project team to a common set of strategies, goals and actions. Unless these components are effectively shared by project leads and understood by stakeholders, project outcomes are jeopardized and budgets incur unnecessary risk. As reported by PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the ProfessionTM, an organization’s ability to meet project timelines, budgets and especially goals significantly impacts its ability to survive—and even thrive. As they address the urgent need to improve project success rates, organizations are faced with a complex and risky environment that includes: » A “do more with less” economic climate » Expanding global priorities » Necessity to enable innovation The Pulse study also revealed that the most crucial success factor in project management is effective communications to all stakeholders—a critical core competency to all organizations. In a complex and competitive business climate, organizations cannot afford to overlook this key element of project success and long-term profitability. Business research from Forbes, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLC and Towers Watson shows that organizations are very aware of the positive impact that effective communications has on projects, programs, and portfolios. However, what hasn’t been clear until now is how much of an impact ineffective communications has on project outcomes and subsequent business success. PMI’s Pulse of the ProfessionTM In-Depth Report: The Essential Role of Communications provides that eye-opening insight. PMI’s 2013 Pulse of the ProfessionTM report revealed that US$135 million is at risk for every US$1 billion spent on a project. Further research on the importance of effective communications uncovers that a startling 56 percent (US$75 million of that US$135 million) is at risk due to ineffective communications. (See Figure 1) Despite this risk, many organizations admit that they are currently not placing adequate importance on effectively communicating critical project information, especially when explaining the business benefits of strategic initiatives to stakeholders at all levels of a project. Organizations cannot execute strategic initiatives unless they can effectively communicate their strategic alignment and business benefits. PMI’s Pulse communications research finds that effective communications leads to more successful projects, allowing organizations to become high performers (completing an average of 80 percent of projects on time, on budget and meeting original goals). These organizations risk 14 times fewer dollars than their low-performing counterparts. The report also focuses on communications challenges that prevent organizations from accomplishing more successful projects, and identifies key initiatives that can help organizations improve their communication as they face their own unique challenges in such a complex and risky environment.