Communication plan in project

Communication plan in project
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A communication plan in a project (in other words: a communication management plan) is a document that should be created in any project regardless of its size or complexity. It helps to understand all those who have expectations regarding communication in a given project. For all recipients of the communication process, the document presents what information on when and how they will receive. For the members of the project team, mainly responsible for the preparation of information, the communication plan describes what information, when and in what format should be provided. The communication plan contains a set of procedures for the project manager and project team involved in the collection and distribution of information.

The purpose of the communication plan is to identify, document and plan information and communication needs in the project.

Elements of the communication plan

The communication plan includes the following elements:

  • Review of the communication plan in the project - summary of the communication plan, specification of the purpose in which the document was created, main information on recipients of messages, ways, circumstances in which communication is to take place.
  • Administrative information - indication of the author of the communication plan, list of recipients of the plan, history of changes to the document.
  • Requirements of stakeholders regarding communication (e.g. in the form of a communication matrix in the project), including:
  1. specification of information to be provided (language, format, content and level of detail),
  2. reasons for providing this information,
  3. the timeframe and frequency of providing the information needed,
  4. methods or techniques used to provide information, e.g. note, e-mail, press release,
  5. determining the person responsible for providing information. willingness to cooperate in gaining the same goals.

Creating a documentation plan

In order to create a communication plan, the project manager should take the following actions:

1. Plan and document elements related to communication in the project. The project manager prepares a list of issues necessary to define in order to ensure effective communication. Issues can include the following areas identified by answering the following questions:

  • Why is this information needed?
  • Who is working on the project?
  • What kind of information do the stakeholders expect?
  • When do they expect the information?
  • What form should the information be provided in?
  • How will the communication materials be stored and searched?
  • How will confidential information and processes related to a given process be transmitted?

2. Plan processes enabling correction of communication expectations of individual stakeholders. After the initial determination of the expectations of stakeholders in the context of communication, it is worth taking a moment to plan / create processes to meet communication obligations, and verify whether it is possible to meet all stakeholders' expectations in terms of communication. Some customer expectations may be impossible for organizational reasons. Then it is worth talking again with such a stakeholder and agreeing on an alternative communication method that will meet their expectations.

3. Document the communication expectations of stakeholders in the project communication plan.

4. Create a list of requirements of project stakeholders in the field of communication

When creating a documentation plan, the project manager should:

  • Check availability and apply project office procedures related to the collection of communication requirements
  • Brainstorm both with the project team and stakeholders to capture their communication expectations
  • Organize a press conference (if the client expects it)
  • Communication expectations should take into account especially expectations related to reporting. If the client wishes to receive reports on the status of the project, it should be specified how often, what type of information should be included in such a report. In determining such expectations, it is necessary to work closely with a given stakeholder.
  • Pay attention to who the recipient of a given communication product and adapt the message and form appropriate for the recipient of information
  • Apply the standard form of the company's communication plan (if available).
  • Ensure that the communication plan contains all areas of the project that should be covered by the communication process
  • Review the knowledge acquired from other projects and update the communication plan in accordance with good practices
  • Collaborate with the client in the process of creating a communication plan and get his acceptance of the shape of the document. The accepted document should be archived.

The communication plan in projects uses:

  • Matrix of communication requirements
  • Reporting matrix

Matrix of communication requirements indicates what role particular stakeholders play in the communication process, what information flows between particular stakeholders. The advantage of such a matrix is that it allows the project manager to quickly assess what information flows between particular departments. To create a matrix of communication requirements, the project manager must take the following actions:

  • Determine the various roles necessary to implement the project and place them on the matrix
  • Determine individual communication needs related to each role in the project
  • Arch the requirements matrix and sign (accept) the matrix with the client

The reporting matrix identifies reports that the project manager will be required to prepare for various stakeholders in the project: for different roles that will be carried out by stakeholders. The main difference between the reporting matrix and the communication requirements is that the requirement matrix takes into account information provided both by people and IT tools, whereas the reporting matrix concerns the flow of information only between people. In order to create a reporting matrix, the project manager must take the following steps:

  • Identify the roles in the project and the types of expected reports
  • Evaluate which reports will be expected by each of the persons / groups performing specific roles in the project. Such information is most convenient to collect during interviews (collecting information on reporting requirements can be done during the same interviews as information related to reporting)
  • Archive such a prepared document, send the client for their approvement.