A communications plan, in project management, will guide the messages to a project’s affected stakeholders is a critical part of any project. When working on specific projects, a project communications plan is important to ensure that you meet the milestones essential to attain the goal. The communications planning procedure concerns define who should be given specific information, when that information will deliver, who will receive it, what communication channels will be used and the timing of its release and distribution. An effective communications management plan related to information and it’s important to make sure everybody gets the right message at the right time.
A good communication plan usually cover the following elements:
- Communication objectives
- Target audiences
- Key content for the communications
- Communication tools and methods
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The project manager needs to define what you expect to achieve by communicating. Actually, it is dependent on what your project will accomplish. Good communication plays an important part in effectively achieving your project goals and keeping things running smoothly from project start to finish. Generally, these should be focused on updating anyone impacted by the project. Here are a few ideas:
- Increase consciousness about the project.
- Make a conversation among staffs and key stakeholders to achieve acceptance of the project.
- Provide time for feedback from stakeholder groups.
Completing a complex project successfully requires good communication among team members. Communication won’t come from just one person during your project and will need to be communicated to specific audience segments. The project team must identify all audiences that will receive communications. Stakeholders are obvious candidates. The project also addresses who has the authority to communicate confidential or sensitive information and how information should be preached.
Key content for the communications
The Project Management Channel explains how to set up a simple communication plan. All projects need an excellent communication plan, but not all projects will have the same types of communication or the same methods for distributing the information. Management stakeholders aren’t dedicated to the project, but they make key decisions about it. So, they need to know what’s going on at a high level. Consider all factors that will affect the project communications plan, like project status, project scope statements and updates, project baseline information, risks, action items, performance measures, project acceptance, and much more.
Communication tools and methods
What tools the project manager use and how a message is delivered will vary from project to project. The key to remember is to not get “stuck” using a single method for sharing the messages. Different audiences need different types of information. So you need to set up a communication information list that will explain the types of information that are distributed. Brainstorming a list of possible methods can get you started. Here are just a few:
- Identify your stakeholders and their expectation
- Identify time-frame of communication messages
- How will the message be communicated? In person, email, Newsletter, Social Media?
- Why you producing the specific communication deliverable and what value does it bring?
Once you complete the template and answer this questions, the next step is to ensure the document is signed off and agreed by all parties. A project planning program can help the project manager to identify milestones that will effectively complete the project communications plan on time.
Magalie D. is a Diploma holder in Public Administration & Management from McGill University of Canada. She shares management tips here in MGTBlog when she has nothing to do and gets some free time after working in a multinational company at Toronto.