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What is a Project Management Communication Plan?

In these strange times, companies around the world are learning how to balance their workforce and workflow either remotely or with social distancing measures in place. Many of our clients are approaching us to identify tools or techniques that can increase their company’s efficiency and effectiveness. This is why it’s more important than ever to have a project communication plan to keep everything on track.

An Introduction to Project Management

While no project is identical, we have identified tried-and-tested practices that ensure much greater project success. Let’s consider the definition of project management: 

Planning and executing a project to achieve specific goals over a certain period of time

There are many roadblocks that project managers face, such as poor communication, over-planning, tight timelines, and inadequate monitoring, to name a few. Not to mention the new hurdles of managing a remote workforce for the first time due to COVID-19. 

We always keep clients up to date on project management trends to ensure that they’re 100% optimized for success. Can you guess the #1 technique that we recommend for more reliable project management? 

A Project Communication Plan for Effective Management

Successful plans should have a project communication plan that is rooted in project management best practices. These steps help create clear-cut guidelines for how information should be shared, who is responsible for what, and who needs to be privy to each type of communication over the project.  

A good project management communication plan will determine how critical information is delivered to stakeholders throughout the project timeline. This helps with crucial details, including who receives the information, how people receive it, when they get it, and how often they get it. 

We’ve all had to deal with communication breakdown at some point during a project (or during regular business communication for that matter). If you have already forecasted every task, deliverable, and scope for a project, it makes perfect sense to do the same for communication. 

Famed composer John Powell noted that “Communication works for those who work at it.” We all know he has a point. Let’s quantify how:

  • Creating a project management communication plan will ensure that the entire team has access to the rules as a reference point. First, create a physical or virtual document with the project management communication plan. Then, make sure to send it to the entire team to have it on hand for reference.
  • Ensure that expectations and procedures are set. You will rest easier at night knowing that everyone is versed on your project framework for communication. It should be easy for everyone to identify how issues, queries, or updates are shared.
  • Once everything has been systemized, your team will be more productive and focused. Enjoy more effective, direct, and precise communication. 

How to Create a Project Management Communication Plan

Okay, so we understand that project management communication plans are a reliable tactic to stay on track. Now, here are three steps for creating one.

  1. List the types of communication needed for the project and who will be involved. It’s also useful to identify what type of communication is a no-go. Rid yourselves of extra meetings, emails, and nonsense that may slow down the project.
  1. Establish communication guidelines to set the timing and pace of communication throughout the project. These guidelines help set expectations for updates, schedules, meetings, and reports.
  1. Determine the stakeholders and owners of each communication funnel. This creates accountability to help everyone understand their role and the preferred way to communicate over the project timeline.
  1. Finally, the ultimate step is to pick a format or platform for the project communication plan. Sometimes project managers merely use a Word document or an Excel spreadsheet. Others use a timeline, flowchart, or a dashboard with extended reporting capabilities.

There are many examples of a project communication plan. Below is a high-level Excel spreadsheet that could serve as an initial outline for a team to measure their process.

Taking the time to plan your project communication protocols allows for a clear and effective project that benefits from full team synergy. Your team can benefit from tools such as project dashboards to streamline your process and create efficiencies. 

Do you need a project management communication plan? Or perhaps you need a communication plan and a range of software tools that make your projects easy and efficient. Trinity can help you take advantage of these tools and make it simple to adapt to new processes. No matter your industry, our customizable software solutions can adapt to any industry. If your project management could use a vital boost, we’re here to help.

Scott Burday

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