In previous post we briefly touched how to planning risks of projects, in this post we will look at planning of project communications.
Projects get successfully delivery only when people work together. Project team can work together only when they know what they should do and they would know this, only when they are informed about it. That’s the precise reason why organizations should have communication plan. Communication plan is about establishing appropriate channels to let correct information flow top-down as well as bottom-up manner.
Identifying Project Stakeholders
The first thing that needs to be done at the time of creating communication plan for a project is, to identify stakeholders of the project and their information relevance (extent of information & time of receiving/sharing information). Stakeholders could be customers (internal/external), vendors, employees, partners, etc. and of course at different levels in the project organization with differential interest, importance & influence over project.
Planning project communication:
It is important for project manager to categorize project stakeholders & identify apt communication channels as per stakeholders’ category. Such arrangement will save project managers’ time during project execution while dealing with amount of information he/she receives & has to communicate.
Just for example, some stakeholders necessarily have to receive certain information (e.g. project sponsors to know about achievement/failure to achieve milestones in respect of specific timeline) similarly; project planner can identify categories of project stakeholders such as follows
For each of the identified stakeholder category, there has to be modes of communication that we need to establish as appropriate to the context of the project.
Project manager need to be clear about how information would be gathered & shared–
- Receiving information: should it be through meeting (e.g. User Acceptance Test meeting with customer) or over email (collect status of activities/issues over email or s/w tool from team members )or some other means
- Sharing Information: should it be done through meeting (e.g. stakeholder meeting) & then sharing MoM mail or over email (project activities are to be completed by team members)
What can we expect from communication plan?
|Sr. No||To distribute/share||To receive|
|1.1||Must Inform||Must get response/update from|
|1.2||Should Inform||Should get response/update from|
|1.3||Could Possibly Inform||Could Possibly get update from|
|1.4||Need not inform||Need not get update from|
|Sr. No||Importance||Other Factors|
|2.1||Critical | Information/action||Immediate (time, frequency)|
|2.2||Mandatory | Information/action||As per schedule (time, frequency)|
|2.3||Information only||Email/press release/Language, format|
|2.4||For action & updates||Authority to share/ receive/ commit|
|2.5||Can Ignore | Confidential||Escalation Matrix for reference|
Table 4: Categorization of project stakeholders & information
New generation of online project management software have implicit capability to manage most of the project communication.
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