Communications in Project Management
Communication in business and in project management can be difficult, especially when you’re collaborating with virtual teams or working on global projects. But clear communication is a critical component to a project’s success.
In our previous post, we covered the essential element, Identify and Analyze Risk. By using risk identification and analysis throughout a project, you can increase the odds that it will go smoothly, that you’ll stick to your budget and anticipated resource requirements, and that you’ll finish on schedule to impress and satisfy your stakeholders. Now, it’s time to cover the importance of a project management communications plan, which is yet another essential aspect of successful project execution.
Did you know that a project manager spends 90% of his or her time communicating? Yet, our studies show that communication issues are the most preventable problems on projects.
What’s the secret to good communication? Well, it’s the realization that it must be planned. And this leads to the development of a project management communication plan.
What Is a Project Management Communications Plan?
This plan is an easy tool that you can use to improve communication with everyone on your team, as well as with your client and your stakeholders. Essentially, it will outline the methods that you’ll use to deliver important details and information while you’re working on your project, from start to finish.
- The goal of a project management communication plan is to establish guidelines that everyone who’s involved in the project will end up following whenever information needs to be shared with others.
- In addition to detailing how information is to be delivered, this plan also defines how often information will be shared, and who will be responsible for sharing it.
Keep in mind that it’s best to create a new project management communications plan for each project you start. That’s because every project is unique, with its own timeline, deliverables, team, and budget, so the same communication plan won’t work on all projects.
Create a Project Management Communications Plan
When coming up with a good project management communication plan, it starts with stakeholder management, which is the identification of stakeholders and their requirements and expectations.
You’ll also utilize the project management scope statement and the WBS (work breakdown structure) that have been created. Communications management planning benefits from this understanding and detailed documentation.
As you work on creating your plan, ask questions like the following so you can move in the right direction:
- Would it be better to communicate the information in an email or telephone call?
- Is this an issue that is best discussed in person?
- Is the communication important enough to call a meeting, or is it fine to simply create a report?
Ideas to Consider in Your Communication Plan
When creating a project management communications plan, here are come questions and thought starters to consider:
- What needs to be communicated, and why?
- Best method for communicating: What reporting format does the sponsor require? What reporting format do you want from the project team? Who is responsible for sending information? When and how often should information be sent?
- How will you clearly delineate project roles and responsibilities?
- What methods should the team use to bring problems or issues to your attention?
- Where does the project fit into the organizational initiatives, portfolio, and programs?
- How will changes be communicated?
Also, take into account any project risks, as well as the project status, project charter, stakeholder expectations, project management plan, and WBS. And don’t forget to also consider problems, changes, and updates to components of the project management plan, as well as upcoming work and delays.
Set Your Plan in Motion
Always remember that, in project management, good communication must be planned into the project and managed throughout. And the methods and frequency of communication must meet the needs of your stakeholders.
In the end, what your plan looks like will depend on the needs of the project itself, as well as the people involved. Writing down your project management communications plan is wise, as it can serve as a valuable reference throughout your project. The best part is that it doesn’t need to be too formal either, yet it will certainly help you and your team succeed.
All of these elements can be found in much more detail in Rita Mulcahy’s PMP® Exam Prep Ninth Edition book, so definitely check it out if you want to learn more.
A whitepaper by RMC Learning Solutions, “6 Essential Elements to Effective Project Management.”