My Project Management Expert

Project Communication Plan 1/2

Depending on the size of your project, a project communication plan can be absolutely vital to the success of your delivery. After all it might be a "soft skill", but effective communication on a project, together with human interaction does mean the difference between success and failure.

Now you might think, well what's the problem? I have a formally approved detailed project plan, a detailed project resource plan, a project initiation document or project charter and a project budget. All the key team leads and project stakeholders have seen and approved all of them which of course means everyone must know what is going on and when. As such, with all the bases covered, why on earth do I need to do yet another plan? Surely my time would be better spent actually getting on with deilvering the project?

And if you are managing a project with a small number of resources, say 10 or less then this would make sense. But what if you're not? What if your project has say 100 resources, many of whom are not full-time on the project and are based in 20 different departments? What if you have external suppliers, or teams based in other countries? What then?

Well in most projects there are 2 if not 3 communication channels which need to be considered as part of a regular or ongoing project management communications plan. These are Upwards, Downwards and Laterally. By concentrating on these you can drammatically reduce the amount of confusion and "noise" which goes on during most projects, and ensure your resources simply concentrate on the deliverables at hand

1.0 Upwards Communication

This basically describes how you would communicate project progress and any problems upwards towards your Project / Program Board and project sponsors. Methods you can use for this include:

  • Weekly Project Management Report
  • Exception Reports (should be last resort though)
  • Email Updates
  • Scheduled face to face meetings / reviews (aka 1 to 1's)

2.0 Downwards Communication

As you might have guessed this relates to the way you communicate with your project team and other resources you may need to use. Essentially you would use this to provide direction to the team as well as articulating the decisions made from those in the Upwards Channel.

This should be done by:

  • Weekly Project Team Meeting
  • Weekly Project Team Meeting Agenda and Minutes
  • Updated Project Plan
  • Managing Project Risk via the Project Risk Log
  • Project Issues Log
  • Emails
  • Verbal exchanges or chit-chat. It all helps!

Please click here to go to Project Communication Plan Part 2

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