Push and Pull Communication in Project Management

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Nov 17, 2022

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Every list of highly desirable characteristics for any project manager worldwide inevitably includes the ability to communicate effectively so that the intended objective is attained. In project management, communication is crucial. Staff will be unclear about things if the managers don't properly communicate with them.

Managers will not be able to track the development of a project if they don't know what the team is doing, which will ultimately result in project failure. They must be able to maintain clear lines of communication with all parties involved in a project, from the bottom up, including project members and stakeholders.

Overloading a stakeholder with information can cause them to tune out, and providing scant or unclear information might result in incorrect assumptions and poor-quality work. Effective communication is interactive. Moreover, it depends on verbal, nonverbal, written, contextual, or subjective components to convey a message, and uses those components to obtain feedback.

Project management relies heavily on push-and-pull communication. But what are they? Let’s explore what makes these communication methods unique, including the definition of push communication and pull communication and how they can serve as a catalyst for building a stronger team.

Push communication - what is it?

Push communication, which is one-directional and textual, is frequently employed when the sender doesn't anticipate a quick response. The sender should mention whether they require assurance that the recipient has received or understood the communication.

 It is interesting that push communication is a form of broadcast managed by the sender. Specifically, one chooses who gets the message and when. For instance, all one needs to do to inform the stakeholders about a presentation is to send them an email.

 The push communication technique is also appropriate for conveying sensitive information. Push communication is an excellent strategy because it allows for speedy communication, automated message creation and message distribution to a large audience, and feedback may be received as well.

 On the other hand, its disadvantages must also be taken into account because one can never be sure if the recipient of a message has understood it. This method of communication does not foster empathy or critical thinking and is not appropriate for conveying urgent information.

 A push communication method can cause a communication delay or result in the recipient not reading the message, therefore one might want to give it more thought before using it.


When to use Push communication?

Push communication works best for simultaneously sending out urgent information to many recipients. It can be used, for instance, to let everyone on a team know about a change in the schedule. It's the best choice when one needs to call or send an email.


Push communication instances include the following

 Slack messages: A slack message is sent by default to every user in the channel. One must send it with direct news if one wants it sent discreetly.

 Emails: Emails can be designated as urgent or high priority by allowing them to pass spam filters (which will result in them being read immediately).

 Phone calls: Calls can be put on hold and promptly transferred so that numerous many people can hear them at once.


 Apart from these, voicemails, reports, faxes, and lectures fall under the push communication style. It's often conducted through written media rather than face-to-face. This communication method has one drawback; where a sender can ascertain only that the message was sent successfully.

 While some clients who have been sent emails may alert the sender when they open the email, this function cannot ensure that the receiver has comprehended the message. So, before advancing with a push communication style, one must ensure the 5-sentence rule while writing emails. Create consistent feedback channels, use simple language and assist expressions while communicating.

 Also, the five W’s - (why, where, when, what & who) should always be addressed. When everything comes together, one can implement an appropriate push communication style.


Pull communication - what is it?

Pull communication allows the receiver to get information, but it necessitates that the recipient starts the conversation to get the information. For solely informational exchanges, pull communication is effective. The project will not be impacted even if the recipients choose not to read it.

 In pull communication, the reader is not drawn in to read the message. Instead, pull communication focuses on granting group members access to shared information. However, this information needs to be recovered by the recipient.

 This technique is employed for a large audience that needs access to the required information. Pull communication is a reliable communication medium because the information is only be accessed when necessary.

 Pull communication is a good option if one has to maintain continual communication and provide frequent updates. Additionally, it can be automated and shared simultaneously with a broad audience. It also offers transparency.

 However, this method is inappropriate for urgent situations because one cannot determine whether the intended receiver has got or understood a message. For instance, one might notice a problem with health and safety and send a message, but if no one gets it, neither is the problem revealed nor is any action taken regarding it.

When to use Pull communication?

When someone needs assistance with a task or wants feedback on something they have done, pull communication involves that person sending out an invitation or notice. It's used by managers to solicit feedback from staff members before confirming project proposals/presentations.

 Pull communication functions best when one is in charge of numerous individuals or tasks. It's a productive method to ensure everyone is on the same page without consuming their time with pointless questions.


One must consider using pull communication when


●    several people who don't directly answer to one are working on a project

●    the team needs to provide regular updates

●    a task that demands autonomous effort has been entrusted to someone.


Other pull communication examples include blogs, websites, intranets, a database of lessons learned, bulletin boards, webinars and more.

Push vs. pull communication

The term "communication" is quite broad. It is described as exchanging differing ideas, concepts, or understandings between two parties. Push, pull, and interactive communication are the three broad categories under which one can place communication techniques.

Now that the push and pull communication approaches have been explained, here is a Push vs. Pull communication comparison.


Basis of difference

Push communication

Pull communication


Sender-to-receiver communication with a typical barrier in the middle

Supplying information that is available to all members, but they must acquire it

Nature of communication

Sensitive and urgent

Casual and informal

Required Action

Although an immediate response is unnecessary, the recipient must act after they receive the message.

No action is required

Media to communicate

Memos, Letters, Emails, Reports, Faxes, and other

Websites, blogs, bulletins, databases & more.


Sending a message to the technical staff to fix a problem but not getting a response right away

Visiting websites to find information


Ensuring effective connections with push and pull communications

So, how can one ensure effective communication in project management? Here are some tips to know the various ways.

1. Holding regular meetings

 Regular team meetings help team members comprehend goals and due dates more clearly. Members of the project can express any thoughts or worries they may have during the sessions, which will make them feel supported and valued while collaborating with managers.

 2. Being inclusive

 When sending out project reports or inviting participants to different meetings, consider every possibility. It is better to keep everyone who needs to know informed so that they are at least aware of any changes or new information regarding the project.Moreover, sending a bit too much information is usually preferable to sending too little. As some communication techniques may exclude other people, ask the coworkers what they prefer.

 3. Being clear and precise

 One must reduce time wasted during a genuine conversation, whether one is delivering updates or asking for feedback. It’s better to use email or phone calls to get prepared in advance and take a moment to organize one's words.Everyone will be able to comprehend one's thoughts and opinions if one presents information in an understandable and comprehensible manner.


Key takeaways

Having high levels of involvement, understanding, and comfort working with a team on diverse tasks leads to efficient communication. Although a project manager must possess various talents, effective communication is one of the most crucial factors in corporate success.


Each form of communication has its characteristics and uses. The push and pull communication strategies must be used following the needs of the stakeholders and for the project's benefit. They should be a component of any communication management plan.


For anyone thinking about studying for the PMP exam, StarAgile consulting provides several Pmp certifications that will ensure your success, including PMP certification online. Get a certification today!




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