Communication Management Plan

Recent business researches and studies conducted by LLC, Forbes, Towers Watson and PricewaterhouseCoopers highlights that most enterprises have become aware about the significance of an effective communication management plan in programs, portfolio and project management. According to PMI’s “Pulse of the Profession” 2013 report, approximately US $135 million is lost for every US$1 billion expenditure on project management. Furthermore, about 56% of this US $135 million is at risk owing to inefficient communication plans. Hence, a communication management plan when implemented appropriately connects each member of the project management team to a set of common objectives, strategies and initiatives. 
Simply put, a  communication management plan is a sub-segment of project management plan and efficiently documents:
  • Information that needs to be communicated throughout the project
  • Members accountable for generating and sending information
  • Stakeholder communication requirements
  • Procedures used to disseminate the information with the frequency, due date and format 
  • Project stakeholders as well as other target audiences
  • Processes used to update the communication management plan
Types of Communication Management Plan:
Generally, communication management plans can be categorized into two types, namely project communications and constituent communications. 
Project communication plan: This comprises of communications essential for the proper and quality delivery of engagement. Other than the project plan, this include elements like status reports and memos distributed by your project management team between one another, the minutes that gets generated from them and team meetings. 
Constituent communication plan: This type includes the auditorium presentations, executive briefings, newsletters, focus groups, posters, feedback channels such as voicemail suggestion boxes. Effective communication skills play a vital part here. 
Core Aspects of a Communication Management Plan:
It is essential for a project manager to understand the core aspects of a communication management plan. This helps him/her realize the plan’s objectives. Let us look at these core aspects individually:
  • Communication standards and expectations: An effective project communication plan needs to set certain benchmarks regarding the manner in which communications needs to take place.  Every project manager would prefer to set a tone for project communications. This enables him/her to exercise adequate project control and ensure that stakeholders receive the required data. This also includes about how participants need to communicate, comprising meetings, emails, memos and phone calls. It is advisable to fix weekly project meetings for keeping your participants updated on the project progress. 
  • Employee Productivity: End-to-end and clear communications makes the employees involved in a project more productive. Keeping them in loop about crucial project changes and happenings will make them feel comfortable and responsible for their KRA’s. Furthermore, when you don’t equip them with the crucial data they are most likely to stop work and seek out information abruptly. This hinders project progress and individual employee performance. Being completely equipped with vital inputs employees can carry on work seamlessly and enhance the overall project performance. 
  • Enhancing project consistency: A robust communication management plan enhances project consistency. Project participants are required to interact consistently amongst each other. This determines their individual communication skills as well. In addition to that, it is crucial to make sure that every stakeholder has uniform information about project changes and requirements. If some of the stakeholders miss this data, there might be delays in project completion. 
Do you want to keep all the relevant people updated? For this you need to have complete and ongoing access to project details such as customer requirements, project progress, communication skills of the employees and project plan constraints. PRINCE2, is a government-standard methodology for project management that helps in creating an effective communication management plan. 
According to PRINCE2 methodologies, it is beneficial if Project Managers organize regular dates for:
  • Highlight Reports: this includes the documents prepared by the Project Manager for the Project Board, elucidating the overall project progress
  • Checkpoint Reports : this includes the crucial details about the progress made by teams and their individual team members
Business management and success is unimaginable without a systematic communication management plan. Furthermore, it is imperative to evaluate the communication plan and individual communication skills from time to time. If the plan is not communicating or functioning the way it should, proper amends needs to be made. Following this plan you can successfully avert misunderstandings that might arise within the team and eliminate chances of project failures. 

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Shweita Dey