Due to the complexity and importance of communications within project management, it is not possible to leave it to chance.
Now that you have an understanding of the communication process and the available choices for methods of communication, the next step is to plan and outline the communication framework to be used in your project. In other words, how do you intend to get the right messages to the right people at the right time?
Benefits of preparing communication plan
A communication plan manages the expectations of all members of the project team. It allows them to understand communication flows throughout the project and the requirements of their communication responsibilities.
- By documenting the process the team can refer to it as frequently as they need to.
- Stakeholders’ and team members’ communication needs and processes are made explicit at the start of the project.
- The chances of critical communications being missed (or misplaced) during the project are reduced.
Criteria for assessing a communication plan.
At a minimum, your communication plan should include the following information:
- What to communicate: how are the various pieces of information dealt with? Who needs to see progress reports, invoices etc. Are standardised formats to be used?
- To whom: not every stakeholder or team member requires every piece of information that is generated throughout the project.
- Frequency:when should communication be expected? Daily, weekly, monthly meetings or emails? Contingent or triggered communication based on events that occur e.g. phase completion.
- Communication Channel: what range of communication channels are used for each type of event and for each participant?
WEnote: Is a communication plan / matrix required for a small project that only involves 3 – 4 people? Support your opinion.
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Creating a Communications Plan
- Prepare a Communication plan template
- Create a simple document or spreadsheet template for use in the learning challenge.
- Column one event, then 1 – 6 from the text (Whom, Why. What, When, How, Who).
- Using the template create a practice example for one communication activity that addresses step 1 – 6 from the text.