Project managers juggle multiple responsibilities like delegating, removing blockages and communicating well within the team, working efficiently with a project management tool, delivering the product at the set deadline, etc. The responsibilities further zero down to managing reports, giving guidelines, and providing resources while the project is in the initial phases.
A frail communication plan will lead to the project breaking down and will not just lead to financial losses but putting time at stake too.
Since communications take most of the time during the life of the project, it is important for a manager to maintain a meticulous structure. A robust project management communication plan provides for the much needed clarity and transparency in the process.
What Is Project Communication Management Plan?
The prime objective is to communicate the plan well to the stakeholders which acts as a link between the team members and the stakeholders. The project manager ensures that the project aligns throughout the life of the project.
The objectives zero down to the medium through which the stakeholders/clients will receive the information, how often will the information be made available to them, and to whom the updates will be made available.
The key aspects of a strong project communication management plan:
- A written document of the communication plan serves the purpose of a centralized repository for the entire team to refer to when the need be. Though thanks to changing times, this aspect has now gone from hard copies to soft online copies. Documentation increases the transparency on the stakeholder’s side too which helps keep an eye on the process as it unfolds.
- This allows the stakeholders to give feedback which thereby will let the team members pivot the work operations according to the stakeholder’s expectations in the initial phases of the project itself.
- The assurance that the stakeholders will receive timely updates.
- Regular review meetings aid in eliminating any roadblocks in the process and ensures smooth functioning on both sides. Further, this ensures delivering the product in a timely fashion.
- Consider the scale of the project, the people involved, their preferred communication style, and the kind of work to be done.
- It is important to consider linguistics while communicating so that the message isn’t misinterpreted.
How To Make A Project Management Communication Plan?
1.Picking a format
Picking a format that suits both sides is just as important as setting up an efficient communication plan. One of the most important factors to consider is that it is easy to exchange feedback, communicate regularly, and share resources at a common platform.
The project manager can decide on periodic meetings, emails, or telephone calls to constantly be in touch with the client. Apart from these mediums, the manager can opt for a flowchart to monitor the progress of a project. At times when streamlining is required or there are additional tasks, the manager should use another optimum tool to communicate that too so that nothing is left behind.
Policies related to technology, organizational rules, and legislation should be followed too while making changes in the communication framework.
2. A communication milestone
About the need to update the stakeholders about the communication plan?
Communication done too often could lead to the details being ignored due to minute details shared every alternate day. Hence it is important to maintain a structure while communicating to be more focused.
Unnecessary meetings or consistent updates might be cumbersome for both sides and might lead to a loss of focus. If the details need to be covered, a team member can note them down, and mention them in the meetings to come.
The time taken to create and send this information across too is a waste of time. In order to save time, it is important to have a template or a format prepared beforehand while sending updates.
With periodic updates to the stakeholders and the teammates, neither of the sides will be constantly asking each other for updates, resources, or information regarding the project.
3. Identify the stakeholders and the departments
With large organizations, there ought to be many levels of executives and stakeholders. This makes it obvious that all of them might not be involved in the project and including everyone in the review meetings and the constant feedback loop might result in wasting everyone’s time and resources.
There could be instances when the information conveyed could be confidential and needs to be targeted to a specific person. The importance of a powerful project management communication plan can never be underestimated, especially on occasions when information cannot be afforded to be shared or leaked to another employee.
4. Modes and ways of communication
Just as it is important to communicate, identifying the right ways to let the information flow will allow it to end up with the right people at the right time. The factors such as what is the medium the stakeholders prefer to receive information without it landing in spam folders while the team awaits their response. It is important to determine if the associates prefer to receive the updates via emails bi-monthly or on a quicker basis with a project collaboration app like Flujo.
The communication platform you choose also depends on the information that is supposed to be sent to the stakeholders. For example – Meeting agendas couldn’t be sent across as a Slack message or an instant message.
5. The frequency of communication
Both sides need to be aware of how frequently each side will touch base with each other.
This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or on preferred days of the month. With frequent contact, it’s easy to connect over agendas like budgets, the finished tasks/ deliverables, the outline for the tasks to cover etc. This is to keep the client/s updated about the ongoings in the team and the progress/ development of the project.
With a suitable project management software, it is not only easy to touch base with the stakeholders or the clients as guest collaborators.
Flujo can help you keep in touch with both your team & clients and keep the communication lines active.
6. The information to be incorporated in the report
It is important for the team leader to make sure ahead of time, the deliverables and the agendas that are going to be discussed in the communication plan
- The report should include the purpose of goals.
- The means by which the information will be shared with the stakeholders from time to time.
- The time gap via which the information will be made available to the stakeholders.
- The timings of the meetings and the agenda that will be discussed so that everyone comes prepared.
- The work schedules.
- Meeting summaries
- To-do lists
- Recently introduced changes in the framework of the plan.
- Introduced changes in the development of the product.
Just as anything in the world, projects, and businesses too are not immune to rapid and unforeseen changes. These changes may take place as the expectations of the stakeholders tend to switch if there are any other characteristics to be inculcated in the product or due to any other factor like market fluctuations. While these changes are made, the responsibility of making everyone aware of the shift in plan rests with the manager.
Circumstances like these will persuade you to go back to the previous stages of the project and maybe revise some too. As long as a strong communication plan is set in motion, adapting, and readjusting to a new process won’t be as difficult.
Needless to say, using multiple platforms and tools for a single project completely defeats the purpose of letting the project reach its full potential. Balancing productivity while also keeping everyone posted about the stages of the project is what an ideal project communication plan aims at.
It could be possible that some associates might have access to certain tools while some don’t. It’s easy to manage the life of the project with a collaboration app that puts everyone on the same page.
With Flujo, it’s easy to keep up with the visibility and status of the task. Working with tools like team messenger, AV call, meetings and topics makes communicating and collaborating on projects an effortless experience. You can learn more about all the features of Flujo here.