Who says What: What to tell to whom!!!

September 29, 2009
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Communication management plan is a necessary part of the project management part. You may actually include in the project plan or keep it as separate but subsidiary document. Depending on the complexity of the project and the number and classes of stakeholders involved the need for communicating the essential communication needs of the stakeholders can be very complex. Therefore, unplanned and ad-hoc exercises in communicating can be disastrous. Thus meticulous planning in this area is absolutely vital.

The Communication Management Plan

Depending on the need and complexity of the project you can decide to have a formal or an informal plan. It’ll need to be very detailed if there are a number of stake holders are involved and hence different information needs will have to be satisfied by a setoff people. On simpler projects the plan can a broad, general one.

Your communication plan needs to specify certain things, the items mentioned are not exhaustive, that are quite essential. Some of these are about the information to be communicated; to whom, by whom, how often, what format etc. These requirements include stakeholder communications requirements, language/ forma/ content and level of detail of information to be released. Reason for distribution should be spelt out; so that you remember the effect you desire out of that action is defined. The person authorized to release that information, the person responsible for actually distributing the information and the authorized group/ individual authorized to receive the same need to be put down on the plan. How often should they receive the information also has to be part of the plan.

Communication technology to be used such as memos, emails or may be press release are to be used. Any communication constraints should be made clearly visible. These may be due to specific legislation, regulation, technological constraints, organizational policy issue etc and thus needs to be adhered to very strictly. You need to have these written down too. A flow chart detailing the workflow is always useful. You should be able to put down escalation procedure, authorized process of updating the plan itself needs to be included in the flow chart with clear indication of authorization paths. List of reports, meeting plans etc. also should be included. Including a glossary explaining all the important terms and abbreviations used is always a good idea.

If you intend to insist on certain templates for status meetings/team meetings, teleconferences (audio and video) or whatever; they should also be included in the plan. Project wiki or project management software usage can also be used in the plan.

Detailing out all these issues also helps in being realistic about budget allocations to the communication activities. This being an essential part of the project time and money cost, the resources required has to be included in the project budget.

The only other important item you need to cover is the plan for updates of the project documents. These include the project schedule, stakeholder register and the stakeholder management plan in case they do need changes/ updates. There could be other documents that need updates depending on the organizational and project needs.

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