Communications Management Overview
85% – 90% of a project managers time is spent in communicating. Communication related issues are the most frequent problems faced by the project manager. There is a need of structured communications management plan.
Communicating on projects require an understanding of:
Understanding the communication requirements from stakeholders
Sharing with stakeholders on what communication is required from them
Frequent updates to communication plan as per changing needs of the project
The project managers need to be experts in project management and stakeholders are technical experts in what needs to be done and how it needs to be done. Proper project management requires the project manager to identify the stakeholders, determine their requirements, expectations and influence; then incorporate that information into the product or project scope as needed.
Stakeholders are extremely important and an indispensable part of any project. A project manager, during the initiation phase, has the responsibility to identify the stakeholders, and then throughout the lifecycle of the project, should continue to manage their expectations, involvement and their influence on the project.
Steps involved from stakeholder identification to managing their expectations and influences throughout the project:
- Identify ALL the stakeholders
Determine ALL of their requirements
Determine their expectations
Determine their interests
Determine their level of influence
Plan how the project manager will communicate with them
Manage their expectations and influence
The following are created or performed in the process to Identify Stakeholders.
Stakeholder analysis involves:
- Identification of stakeholders
Assessing their impact or influence on the project
To achieve the above, the project manager has multiple ways:
- He can use the initial list of stakeholders from project charter
He can use records from past projects
He can also use data gathering techniques such as brainstorming, interviewing
New stakeholders can suggest additional names of stakeholders required for the project
Tools such as power/interest grids and salience models can be used to group stakeholders by qualifications like authority levels, impact or influence, or requirements. The results of these classifications help project managers determine how, what and when to communicate with each stakeholder.
Stakeholder register is an output of Identifying Stakeholders process. All the information about the stakeholders is compiled in the Stakeholder Register.
STAKEHOLDER MANAGEMENT STRATEGY
A strategy of how stakeholders will be managed is an output of Identifying Stakeholders process. Either stakeholders are managed individually or as groups. A project manager need to identify which approach would be easier and less time consuming. Some stakeholders require more time and some less for getting managed. Stakeholders can be an asset to the project or they may be a problem, depending on how well the project planned. Both negative and positive aspects of stakeholders involvement in the project should be managed.
Planning communications involve considering the performing organizations environment (i.e. Enterprise Environmental Factors), including its culture and expectations. The performing organizations processes, procedures, historical records, lessons learned and other information (i.e. organizational process assets) should also be taken into consideration.
The output is the Communications Management Plan which is a component of Project Management Plan. During project initiating, the efforts begin to identify stakeholders and their communication requirements. In planning, it is determined how to apply that information. The information and communication needs of the stakeholders are taken into consideration in the Plan Communications process. A clear and concise communication requires handling communications in a structured way and choosing the best type of communication for the situation.
Formal written: It is used when there are complex problems, for project management plan, for project charter, memos, communicating over long distances
Formal verbal: Used during presentation and speeches
Informal written: Used for Emails, handwritten notes, text messages, instant messaging
Informal verbal: Used in meetings, conversions
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