October 11, 2019

Project Communication Plan | Guide to Communications Management Plan

Project Communication Plan

It is commonly accepted that a project manager spends up to 80% of his/her time communicating.
Either by presenting at project meetings – ask me how many meetings that should have been an email I have survived! – sending emails about the project, producing project reports or simply providing a
project update to the project sponsor by the coffee machine, project managers spend plenty of time
communicating about and on the project. With so much time invested in communications, it is probably reasonable not to leave this aspect of the project to chance, don’t you agree? This is why a Project Communication Plan is so important.

project communication plan, Communications Management Plan
Project Communication Plan

The project’s Communication Plan is a document that describes how the communication requirements from the different stakeholder groups are going to be addressed by the project. In fact, it is the project stakeholders who make or break a project, hence, to ensure that they are receiving appropriate communication from the project management team is key to keep them engaged and up to date with the status and progress of the project.

Such as other management plans that form the reference guidance for the project, the Communication
Management Plan is also where the project team can find out the main information about
communications scheduled for the project. This Plan is a responsibility of the project manager and is
completed during the Planning phase of the project, along with other plans such as the Stakeholder
Engagement Plan.

Typical sections in a Project Communication Plan include:

Communication Items: 

lists the key pieces of communication in the project, including their purpose and frequency; these should be addressed as any other configuration item in the project, subject to version control where applicable.

Communication Matrix: 

Project Communication Matrix, Communication Matrix
Project Communication Matrix

defines the authorized communication channels between stakeholder groups (e.g. who can talk directly to the supplier about the project). It should be noted that as the number of people involved in the project increases so does the number of possible communication channels and conversely the complexity in the management of these channels, making it challenging to separate between noise and real value-added conversations.

Project Meetings: 

outlines the key meetings planned for the project, including regular meetings (such as project board and project team meetings) and one-off meetings (such as the kick-off or closure meeting), and their purpose, chair, and participants involved Project Reporting: outlines the key reports to be generated in the project, their purpose, ownership and authorized distribution list.

Communication Processes Management: 

describes the key processes involved in the management of communications in the project, including specialist roles identified for the project (e.g. communication specialist) and their involvement in these processes.

Communication Management Standards and Procedures:

identifies any communication procedures to be followed by the project team. Should there be any corporate standards or guidelines on communication, these should be mentioned here, highlighting any tailoring applied to it to make them relevant for the project.

Communication Management Methods, Tools, and Techniques: 

Communications Management Plan, project communication management, project communication plan
Communications Management Plan

lists any specific methods, tools, and/or techniques whose use is advisable or required in the project. If the organization has an Intranet, a community of practice, or mandates certain corporate tools, these should be outlined in this section.

Regardless of the content of the Communication Management Plan, there is a golden rule of
communication that should be followed: you should aim to share just enough information to the relevant stakeholders so that they can perform their specific roles or satisfy their interests. Too much
communication leads to spamming and micromanagement and too little communication runs the risk of confusion and losing sight of the end goals. Therefore, finding the right balance and tailor the
communication to your interlocutor is the key to success.

Make no mistake: the major risk in project communication is the assumption that it took place. Thus,
don’t be afraid to spend some time planning your communication. After all, you will spend most of your time communicating with others!

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