My Project Management Expert

Project Communications Management

Now that you've put together your project communication plan you need to ensure that you conduct adequate project communications management After all as you must know by now, a project plan simply states what needs to happen and when. It is up to the project manager to make sure it becomes a reality.

And this is no different where project communications management is involved. Not only is it something which evolves as the project lifecycle progresses, but it is also something which you need to be on top of. Otherwise do you know what happens? A major problem occurs. It isn't stopping progress on the project at the moment so it doesn't rate a mention in any team reports. But like the Titanic heading for the iceberg, it will stop the project soon unless something is done about it. Everyone thinks someone else is telling you. No one does. And you are left in the position of firefighting something which you could have easily resolved if only you had known earlier about it.

So the key to project management communications is having a well known and kept to routine in how you communicate with the key stakeholders and team members, but at the sametime ensure you use your common sense to change this if required.

So for example on projects I run, the project communication plan usually states that I will get checkpoint reports from all the team leads each week, and also that they will attend a weekly team meeting. After all you don’t want to overdo it otherwise they will end up doing no actual work on the project!

However I will ensure that I keep a much closer contact than that with those teams who are at the forefront of that phase ie the Business Analysts when the project management requirements phase is underway. And once the project is into the software development phase I will usuallly institute a daily SCRUM session with the key team leads to deal with issues immediately. As you will quickly find, issues on projects need to be sorted fast especially if you are on a tight deadline.

Project Sponsors will also need closer communication once the project is underway to ensure they are fully briefed of project progress; particularly important should there be any scope creep. Further by doing this you reduce the risk of there being arguments in the Program Board with key stakeholders demanding to know why they weren.t informed when key decisions were made.

Project Communications Management - Tip

Never, ever forget that some of the most productive project communication is the kind which is never documented. So by that I mean the idle chit chat in the coffee room, or the canteen or even on the train home. This is where you discover what is really going on on your projects. Where the problems really are and what the situation is with other projects.

In many professions, specifically investment banking, having information ahead of every one else is a golden opportunity to make money. As a project manager the same applies. The only difference is that with this information you can ensure your project suffers the least no matter what happens!

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