A Quick Guide to Creating a Project Communication Management Plan
By George J. Newton
If you're a project manager for a company or organization, then you'll know that in order for a project to be successful, there has to be effective communication. Therefore, you and your team have to have a communication plan for your projects.
A project communication plan lets you have effective communication on a project with your client, team, and other stakeholders. When you set clear guidelines for how the team (and everyone else involved) will share information, project communication will be successful.
Why This Plan Is Important
Project communications should be mapped out and organized in every aspect - tasks, deliverables, etc. Mapping things out helps you and the team to stay on track during the course of the project. Here's what a communication plan can do in every project:
- Create helpful written documentation
- Setting clear expectations on any updates shared
- Increase project and status
- Welcomes feedback
- Boosts team productivity
- Ensures continuity in projects to align with goals
"Typically, there are no right or wrong ways for project teams to communicate," says Carl Samson, a business blogger at Origin Writings and 1 Day 2 write. "There are many methods of communication to choose from, when planning project communication." Here are just a few communication methods to consider:
- Forum boards
- Meetings (in-person, online, phone, or video chat)
You may want to experiment with various methods, and see which have benefited both you and the team. Also, take in mind how clients and stakeholders prefer to communicate, and make sure that your project team can accommodate to their methods of communication.
What To Include
Despite various scopes and types of projects that you and your team will work on, there are still a few key aspects to include in every one of your project communications plans:
- Key stakeholders: Keep in mind all your stakeholders, including your primary client contact. You'll need their phone numbers, emails, etc. to stay in contact with them.
- Team members: Your main team members should be assigned roles for every project (new or familiar). List team members involved in:
- Communicating deliverables
- Leading strategic discussions, OR
- Handling technical conversations between stakeholders and your team
- Methods of Communication: As mentioned earlier, there are many ways to communicate with team members, clients, and stakeholders.
- Types of Communication: Types of communication involves:
- How often you'll communicate with each other (i.e. daily, weekly, etc.)
- Who communicates with whom, AND
- What information needs to be reported
- Style of Communication: You must determine if communications are either formal or informal (casual).
- Meeting schedule: You'll need to set meeting times for team members, and that of when you meet clients and stakeholders.
- Key messages: Speak to stakeholders with effect messages or information. You may want to tailor your key message or information (i.e. feedback) that are project-based.
- Communication goals: These goals help you make good decisions based on certain achievements.
So, if you are ready to launch your communication plan right now, then follow these 5 simple steps to put your plan into effect right now. Read on!
List Communication Needs
Since every project is going to be different, you'll need to take into account the following factors:
- The project size
- Nature of the work being done, and
- The client's unique preferences
Knowing these factors will help you and your team to use the right types of communication in the project. These types of communication may vary from time to time. Here are the steps.
Your plan needs to have purpose, no matter the type of project. In other words, sending people too many messages and emails won't cut it! Although, if you want to take communication a step further, then be sure it's something that EVERYONE involved will sign on for. You may want to circulate a proposed agenda, to see if it needs improvement, or if it's ready to be presented.
Identify Owner and Stakeholders
You'll need to know who the owner and the stakeholders are. When you assign ownership, you're creating accountability for ensuring successful planning. Plus, when you identify stakeholders, not only are you establishing communications with them, you're also not leaving them in the dark.
Choose Communication Method
Remember: Your job is not to bombard people with too many messages. If one meeting is enough for everyone involved, then stick with one meeting. Instead, look at how your team is working, and then determine if addition meetings or messages are needed, so that everyone can stay productive in his or her work.
Define How You'll Measure Communication
To measure communication is to establish a regular frequency for communication. In other words, you're setting clear expectations for everyone on the team to understand, without the need for further clarification. This also helps team members to be involved in planning for effective times to have important meetings.
Word of Advice
"Project managers should spend time on planning communication in the early stages of a project," says Mira Stone, a tech writer at PhD Kingdom. "Spending this time in the early stages helps you identify all of the stakeholders involved. In addition, the early stages are when you approach how you'll communicate with your team overall."
As you will discover, having an effective project communication plan allows you to communicate well with your team members, clients, and stakeholders. This way, you'll notice any discrepancies that might occur, and can fix them right away. In addition, a plan lets you re-evaluate your approach and your client's needs when necessary. Further, it helps you to determine whether or not some methods of communication are better than your default method.
No matter what approach you choose, it is still important to have a plan, so that everyone is on the same page, and the project is commencing on schedule. However, you may find that the frequency of meetings may need to be varied according to the project's size and place in its project life span.
We hope this quick guide will help you create a successful project communication management plan.
George J. Newton is a writer and editor at Write my dissertation. As a business development manager, he has overseen many project communication initiatives nationwide. He may be reached via this link: write my dissertation.