Project Communication Management

The impact of technology and its influence on organizational processes and development is now an essential aspect of any growth strategy. It is hard to find any development or procedure change that does not have an information technology (IT) aspect. In many cases it is the changes in technology that drives the need to change the processes.

This driving force has led to a merging of IT professionals working practices, such as project management, being integrated into those of general management. You are likely to find yourself frequently involved in projects that are being managed using a formalized project management methodology.

Project Communication Management

Whilst communication is regarded as a general management skill and you may perform this role well, you will need to adapt such skills when communicating in a project management environment.

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When managing a project, your communications fall into two separate areas:

1) Strategic Issues

Every project has stakeholders (a person, group or organization) who have a vested interest in the success of the project. They are involved in the project because they are positively or negatively affected by its execution or completion and you need to identify and evaluate their interest from the outset.

Our free template helps you identify your stakeholders and collect the necessary information you need to assess Stakeholder Interest. This data then enables you to plan the correct level, frequency and type of communication each stakeholder requires to retain their support and confidence.

Poor communication to this group can undermine your success because gossip, rumors and the unexpected undermine the respect, trust and belief the stakeholders have in your ability to succeed.

2) Management Issues

The second part of your project communications is to the actual project team members and between the different project groups. These communications are equally vital to your success because they shape the infrastructure that enables you to communicate the right information at the right time to the right people.

Your communications at this lower level must be well planned for each of the project processes and described in detail in the Project Management Plan. The plan communicates the explicit activities, work packages and instructions that enable the project team to successfully complete on time and to budget. Our free Project Plan checklist provides you with guidelines on the purpose of each area and its associated plan, documents and processes.

The language used for the project communications will differ considerably from that used at the high-level in two distinct ways, firstly acronyms and project short-hand will be replaced by words e.g. WBS becomes ‘Work Breakdown Structure. Secondly, the tone of the communication will focus on the project plan and its ‘activities’ rather than strategic issue that are of interest to stakeholders.

Communication Issues

At some time during other projects you have been the recipient of long and largely irrelevant emails. This over-communication is a trap many project managers fall into resulting in delays and overspending. This is because their many emails were often poorly read resulting in misunderstandings and missing key information.

Why do managers do this? It is usually because they are trying to protect themselves from accusations. If you tell everyone everything no one can say ‘You didn’t tell me!’ To avoid behaving in this way ask yourself these questions when you plan your communications:

  • What form of communications best suits the project environment?
  • How time-sensitive is the information?
  • Will the communication need to be discussed?
  • Does the information need to given to people – ‘pushed’?
  • Is the nature of information such that it can be ‘pulled’ down by people as and when they need it?
  • What is the best way to communicate your message? Are all interested parties able to access your chosen technology e.g. project wikis, intranets etc.

Whether you are managing your team or a project using the RESULT principle will ensure you identify whom you need to communicate with, what is your purpose for this communication and plan this so that these communications are timely, effective and efficient. Remember your communication is only complete once you know that its message has been received and understood as you intended.

This Project Communication Management Template will help you to produce a project communications management plan. The purpose of this plan is simply to ensure all formal communications with the project stakeholders are managed properly. These recorded communications are essential for the proper management of a project ensuring its objective is achieved in a timely fashion with financial prudence whilst attaining user acceptance.

Managing a Project Team eBook
This eBook explains what makes managing people in a project environment are different from managing them in a departmental setting.
ISBN 978-1-62620-984-2 (62 Pages) PDF Format

Key Points

  • Communication is a critical skill for project success, both for keeping team members up-to-date and for winning the support of key stakeholders.
  • Projects can create a huge volume of data that needs to be collated and analyzed before being communicated to stakeholders.
  • A comprehensive communications plan can help the project manager get these tasks under control.
  •  Your communication is only complete once you know that its message has been received and understood as you intended.

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