The Ultimate Project Communication Management Plan

George J. Newton, pmStudent Contributor, helps you plan your project communications.
The Project Communication Management Plans will provide you with a guideline on how to communicate with all key stakeholders, including the client and team. Your stakeholders are essential to your project because they provide visibility, set clear expectations, reduce meetings time, and act as champions.
It doesn’t matter if you use informal communication such as email and discussion boards, or formal documentation such as status reports, it’s important to have a plan that everyone knows about. Let’s look at the What, How and Why of project communication.
Step 1: What are you communicating?
To create a communication plan that works, you must first determine the communication needs of your team and make sure they are included in your plan. This will require you to look at the entire project’s life cycle and determine the appropriate communication at each stage.
This can be tailored to your project. Listen to stakeholders and discuss it with your team. To set realistic expectations, look at the scope of the project and the work you have done.
Step 2: How are you communicating?
Next, decide the method of communication that you will use. Are you going to have weekly updates meetings or can you do without status reports and a discussion board? Consider the needs and preferences of each member of your team. You can tailor your communication to your client’s preferences and expectations.
It is important to plan ahead for how you will communicate sensitive information to clients or stakeholders.
Step 3: Why are you communicating?
You must make sure that you have a clear plan and consider communication necessity. You should set clear goals and guidelines for each communication method. This is especially useful for meetings. You can create meeting agendas and outline them to make sure they don’t wander off track.
To ensure that all team members understand the guidelines, make sure they are clear and concise. Avoid overcommunication. Due to the volume of information they receive, too many notifications and messages can cause key information to be lost.
Step Four: When Are You Communicating?
To avoid being bombarded with status updates, set out the frequency you will communicate each method in your plan. Over-communication can lead to people not being able to access key information. Information overload is a problem in the digital age. Knowing how often you will share key information will help team members prioritize.
Plan for changes and contingency plans in case of unexpected events. Scope creep is a common problem that can impact timelines.
Step Five: To Whom Are You Communicating?
The answer to who is communicating with you and who owns the communication will have two parts. For the first part, make sure you have identified all clients, team members, and stakeholders who will require regular updates. Talk to them about their preferred communication methods and adapt as much as possible. Not all stakeholders or team members need to receive every communication.
You should assign the person responsible for communicating with the rest of your team. This is typically a project manager, but it could be assigned to a team member or to a project analyst. This can provide accountability and highlight potential.

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