“Lost in Translation”: When Communication Breakdowns Lead to Costly Misunderstandings 

Estimated read time 2 min read

Ah, communication. It is the cornerstone of any successful project and the occasional source of some genuinely epic misunderstandings in infrastructure cost estimation.

We’ve all been there. You meticulously craft an estimate, outlining every detail in what you believe to be crystal clear language. Then,  poof! It all goes sideways when the stakeholders come back with questions that make you wonder if you were somehow sending messages in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. Is communication lost in translation? For sure!

Let’s explore some classic “lost in translation” moments in cost estimation:

  • The Metric Mishap: You specify millimetres; they hear inches. Suddenly, your meticulously planned bridge needs twice the steel (and your budget weeps).
  • The “Custom” Catastrophe: You estimate for a standard pipe; they envision a bespoke, hand-crafted work of art with a price tag to match.
  • The Emoji Enigma: A casual thumbs-up emoji in your email gets misinterpreted as enthusiastic approval for a significant design change (cue the frantic scrambling to adjust the budget).

So, how do we avoid these communication conundrums?

  • Clarity is essential: Use concise language and avoid technical jargon whenever possible.
  • Visualise your message: Strategically include diagrams, sketches, or even (gasp!) emojis to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Active listening is golden: Pay close attention to questions and concerns, and be prepared to re-explain concepts if needed.
  • Open and frequent communication: Regularly update stakeholders on the project’s progress and potential cost implications.

When we prioritise clear communication, we can bridge the gap between cost estimation and project reality, ensuring a smoother journey for everyone involved (and hopefully avoiding any hieroglyphic-induced meltdowns).

Now, share your “lost in translation” stories (work-appropriate, of course)! What are some of the funniest (or most frustrating) communication breakdowns you’ve encountered in infrastructure projects?

#Infrastructure #CostManagement #ProjectManagement #Communication #Transparency #Linkedin #CostPlanning #Estimation #CivilEngineering #CivilsBites #InfrastructureHumor #CostPlanning #InfrastructureAdventures #UnexpectedCosts

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