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Communication Management Plan

Plan communications consider the performing organization's 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 the Project Management Plan. During project initiation, the efforts would 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 Communication process. A clear and concise communication requires handling communications in a structured way and choose 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

Communication Models

Project management requires a more structured approach to communications. Communication models are comprised of three parts: the sender, the message and the receiver. Each message is encoded by the sender, gets transmitted to the receiver and is decoded by him. There are certain noise factors in communication models such as receivers education, language, cultural effect of the way the message is decoded by the receiver.

Effective Communication

For effective communication, the sender should decode the message carefully, identify the communication method to be used to send the message and confirm if the message is understood. The sender can be aware of the following communication factors:

Nonverbal: Most of what is communicated is non-verbal. It is based on physical mannerism. About 55% of all communication is non-verbal

Paralingual: Pitch and tone of voice help to convey a message.

Effective listening: The receiver should decode the message carefully and confirm that the message is understood. This includes watching the speaker to pick up physical gestures and facial expressions, thinking about what to say before responding, and active listening, in which the receiver confirms that he/she is listening, expresses agreement or disagreement, or ask for a clarification.

Communication Technology

Planning communications involve determining how to communicate each item. Communication can take place through face-to-face interactions, by telephone, fax, mail, or email; through virtual or in-person meetings; and through an intranet or internet-based forums for information. These different means of communications is termed Communication Technology.

A communication management plan documents how the project manager manages and controls communication. All stakeholder needs must be addressed. Communication management plan becomes a part of the project management plan.

Stake Holder Expectations:

Managing stakeholder expectations requires proactive actions from the project manager to make the stakeholders feel that their needs and concerns are at least being considered, even if they are not agreed to. The efforts of managing stakeholder expectations also allow the communication channels to be open between the stakeholders and the project managers so that the stakeholders can inform the project managers of potential risks, changes and other related information.

Attention to stakeholders needs is required for managing their expectations when the work is being done. This helps in building trust, resolving conflicts, preventing problems and increases belongingness of the stakeholder for the project. The project manager can review multiple project documents such as stakeholder register, stakeholder management strategy, communications management plan, issue logs, and changes to determine the actions required to manage stakeholder expectations.

Communication Blockers

The communication blockers include noisy surroundings, improper encoding and decoding of messages, making negative statements, culture, language, hostility, distance between those trying to communicate, among others.

Communication Channels

Communication channels can be calculated using the formula: N (N 1) / 2 where N = the number of people.

Communication Management Plan

A communication management plan documents how the project manager manages and controls communication. All stakeholder needs must be addressed. Communication management plan becomes a part of the project management plan.

The different types of performance reports include:

  • Status Report; Reports the current performance of the process against performance measurement baseline

  • Progress Report; Describes the total work accomplished

  • Trend Report; Whether performance has an upward trend or a downward trend is reported by the trend report

  • Forecasting Report; Future project status and performance is reported basis current (or historical) data

  • Variance Report; Compares actuals to baselines

  • Earned Value Report; This report integrates scope, cost, and schedule measures to assess project performance

  • Lessons Learned Documentation; Performance reports are used as lessons learned for future projects

A project manager should spend time in the early stages of the project to identify all stakeholders and take a structured approach to communications by creating a communications management plan.

When planning communications, the following techniques are very helpful:

  1. stakeholder engagement assessment matrix or – a table which shows current and desired engagement levels of stakeholders, thereby helps to identify communication requirements.

  2. Communication styles assessment – understanding stakeholder communication styles help in tailoring communications for them; this can be used along with the engagement assessment matrix explained above.

The following section contains PMBOK v5 content and it is not applicable to PMBOK v6.

A communication management plan documents how the project manager manages and controls communication. All stakeholder needs must be addressed. Communication management plan becomes a part of the project management plan.

Stake Holder Expectations:

Managing stakeholder expectations requires proactive actions from the project manager to make the stakeholders feel that their needs and concerns are at least being considered, even if they are not agreed to. The efforts of managing stakeholder expectations also allow the communication channels to be open between the stakeholders and the project managers so that the stakeholders can inform the project managers of potential risks, changes and other related information.

Attention to stakeholders needs is required for managing their expectations when the work is being done. This helps in building trust, resolving conflicts, preventing problems and increases belongingness of the stakeholder for the project. The project manager can review multiple project documents such as stakeholder register, stakeholder management strategy, communications management plan, issue logs, and changes to determine the actions required to manage stakeholder expectations.

Communication Blockers

The communication blockers include noisy surroundings, improper encoding, and decoding of messages, making negative statements, culture, language, hostility, the distance between those trying to communicate, among others.

Report Performance

Collecting information related to work performance, analyzing it, creating reports and sending them to respective stakeholders are involved in reporting the performance of the project. Report performance is a part of communications management plan.

The reports should provide all the information needed by stakeholders to the level of detail required by them. The need for the projects should be considered while designing the reports. The most appropriate method is to be used to send the reports. The method used to send reports plays a crucial role in getting the report read and acted upon. A project manager must not spend all the time only doing reporting activities. The project management plan can be used to identify the performance measurement baseline. This baseline can be used in the reports to measure the performance of the project. All reports must give a clear, concise and true picture of the information that is being depicted. Reports should not just include schedule, but also include cost, scope and quality performance as well. The appropriate moment of recommending and implementing corrective actions is known by looking at the reports. Report performance includes looking at the future.

The different types of performance reports include:

  • Status Report; Reports the current performance of the process against performance measurement baseline

  • Progress Report; Describes the total work accomplished

  • Trend Report; Whether performance has an upward trend or a downward trend is reported by the trend report

  • Forecasting Report; Future project status and performance is reported basis current (or historical) data

  • Variance Report; Compares actuals to baselines

  • Earned Value Report; This report integrates scope, cost, and schedule measures to assess project performance

  • Lessons Learned Documentation; Performance reports are used as lessons learned for future projects

A project manager should spend time in the early stages of the project to identify all stakeholders and take a structured approach to communications by creating a communications management plan.  



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