Project Communications Management: Step by Step Implementation Guide


Communication or in fact, effective and excellent communication is the critical key to the success of the project. According to the Project Management Institute (PMI), many projects fail or are not very successful due to the lack of communication and other communication issues. That’s where Project Communication Management steps in!

Project Communications Management makes sure that this does not happen. It plays a beneficial role in ensuring that all the members of the project management team are on the same page. Without proper communication among team members and project stakeholders, the future of the project is at stake. A project manager is supposed to know the communication processes that make project management effective.

Project Communications Management is a complete methodology. Accordingly, there are three steps to implementing Project Communications Management for your project. These are explained in detail below:

1.   Plan Communications Management

This is the first and foremost step of Project Communications Management. It is a process to create and develop an appropriate plan and approach for project communications. It takes into account stakeholder’s needs and requirements of information as well as available organizational assets.

Mostly, it is done initially during project management plan developed to make sure enough time and budget are reserved for the communication activities.

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Significance:

The significance of this step is that it recognizes and documents the best approach which can help in effective and efficient communication with the project stakeholders. In this way, the information will be directed to the right person, at the right time, in a proper format and will make a proper impact.

Planning Communications Management needs the following elements:

Project Management Plan:

Project Management Plan means defining, sorting, coordinating and integrating small plans and chunks to make a comprehensive project management plan. It includes complete information regarding how the project will be put into action, monitored, controlled and eventually end. The main components of the Project Management Plan are:

Resource management plan:



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It includes the process of identifying and documenting the key roles, responsibilities, necessary skills and staff management plan. It helps in establishing project roles and responsibilities for each member.

Stakeholder engagement plan:

 It is developed to engage stakeholders in the project throughout by analyzing their needs and interests, and impacts on the plan. It helps in getting out an actionable plan to interact with stakeholders.

Stakeholder register:

Stakeholder register helps with the information that is required to plan an effective communication with stakeholders.

Activities and approaches:

Now, these are done through the following activities and approaches:

Communication requirement analysis:

The analysis of communication requirement is an effective tool in determining the information needs of project stakeholders. It includes:

  • Combining the type and format of information.
  • Analyzing the importance of that information.
  • Calculating potential communication channels with the formula n (n-1)/2, where n is the number of project stakeholders.
  • Determining who will communicate with whom and receive what information.
  • Utilizing the sources of information such as organizational charts, logistics, internal and external information needs, and stakeholder information, etc.

Communication technology:

It involves the use of technology to transfer information among stakeholders. The methods for the transfer can depend on a number of factors such as:

  • How urgent the information is.
  • If the required technology is available.
  • If the use of technology is easy.
  • What the environment of project is in which people gather and interact.
  • How sensitive and confidential the information is.

Communication methods:

Communication methods are an important tool for a healthy transfer of information. Some of these methods are:

  • Making sure that there is a common understanding of the information among both parties.
  • Using push communication for specific information such as letters, reports, memos, and emails, etc.
  • Using pull communication for a large volume of information such as intranet sites, lessons learned database, etc.

Stakeholder engagement assessment matrix:

This assessment matrix is framed to ensure that stakeholder is engaged throughout the lifecycle of the project and is receiving all the required information.

Meetings:

Meetings are really important to have a dialogue and discussion with the project team to come up with the most appropriate way of updating and communicating the information.

Results:

In this way, we get the Communications Management Plan as a result.

Communication Management Plan

It explains how the project will be planned, developed, observed and controlled. Communication Management Plan contains the following information:

  • Requirements of stakeholder
  • Information that needs to be communicated
  • Reason for distributing some information
  • Time and frequency plan for the transfer of required information
  • The person appointed for the transfer of information
  • The person appointed for authorizing the transfer of confidential information
  • People who will receive that information
  • Methods of transfer, resources, flow charts, assessment reports etc.

Related Articles:

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2.   Manage Communications

It is the process that takes into consideration the communications management plan in order to collect, distribute, store, retrieve and disposing of the project information.

Significance:

The main significance of this step is that it ensures effective and efficient flow of communication between project stakeholders.

Activities and approaches:

Some helpful activities and approaches to manage communication are:

Communication skills:

Using communication skills benefits in many ways. Some important communication skills are:

  • Ensuring communication competence so that everyone is involved in the process.
  • Getting feedback from the team members and stakeholders regarding communication processes.
  • Using nonverbal means of communication.
  • Making presentations of the reports and analysis to identify challenges.

Project management information system:

Project information can be managed and transferred by different approaches such as hard-copy documents, electronic means and electronic project management approaches.

Project Reporting:

Project reporting includes the ongoing performance of the project at a particular time. It can vary from a simple status report to a full-fledged elaborated report.

Conflict Management:

Conflict management is an effective technique to identify all the challenges beforehand and then adopt some effective measures to resolve the conflicts.

Meeting management:

Meeting management is also an important way to make sure every team member is present on the table at the time.

Results:

The final things we get out of this step are:

Project Communications:

The Manage Communications process includes all the steps that are necessary for the creation, distribution and understanding of information. Project information utilizes various means of distribution of information such as reports and schedule progress.

Project document updates:

Project document updates ensure that the information on baselines, communication and stakeholder management is updated accordingly with the current performance in order to not lack anywhere. The documents that are regularly updated include issue log, lessons learned register, project schedule and risk register.

3.   Monitor communications

It is the last step in Project communication Management. It involves monitoring and controlling communication processes throughout the process. It ensures that information needs and requirements of stakeholders are properly met.

Significance:

The major significance of this step is that they make sure that optimal and adequate information is accessible to every participant at any moment. The communication flow is easy and there are no challenges or problems in distribution or transfer of information.

Activities and approaches:

In order to monitor the information in a proper way, the following activities and approaches are very advantageous:

Project Management information system:

An information system is a set of standard approaches that can be used by the project manager to collect, store and distribute information especially regarding the cost, progress and performance to project stakeholders. There are several software packages that can be used for this purpose. They help the project manager in proper assimilation of reports from different systems and then report distribution to project stakeholders.

The distribution formats mainly include tables, spreadsheets, flowcharts, presentation and various means of graphic representation.  

Stakeholder engagement assessment matrix:

The assessment matrix for stakeholder engagement helps in keeping checkmarks on whether the required information is delivered or not or which information is to be delivered when.

Observation/conversation:

Another important technique is to observe and talk to the team members in groups as well as individually to keep a healthy check and balance upon whether the information is distributed and transferred on time to project stakeholders.

Meetings:

Meetings are an important tool to use in this step as well. It requires discussion and involvement of all the team members as well as suppliers, vendors and project stakeholders. They can be held on the project site or client’s site. This helps in communicating project performance and responding to the information requests of project stakeholders.

Results:

The final step results in:

Work performance information:

It organizes and gathers the performance data in one place. It provides information regarding the status and progress of the project at every step. That information is then regularly transferred to stakeholders.

Change requests:

The Monitor Communications process often identifies any needs for adjustments, additional actions, and interference at some point. They might result in better communication, revised project cost, some preventive and corrective actions that are beneficial for the information transfer.

Stakeholder engagement plan:

Finally, a stakeholder engagement plan is developed which is the main purpose of this whole process and ensures an easy and effective information flow to project stakeholders without any delays or other issues.

Conclusion

Therefore, these are the steps to implement a Project Communications Management for your project and is designed to give successful results if implemented properly. These results include proper and healthy communication with the project stakeholders which ensures that every task is done on time.

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