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Communication 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 for 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

There are 2 steps in successful project communications - develop communications strategy based on stakeholder and project needs, then develop communications plan based on strategy.

5Cs of communication are advised for reducing misunderstandings, these are – correct, concise, clear purpose, coherent (logically connected ideas and possibly using markers like introduction and summary), controlled (by using summaries and graphics).

Skilled communication involves actively listening, cultural/personal aspects, understanding stakeholder expectations, and people handling skills.

Fundamentals of effective communication include clarity, the understanding receiver needs & monitoring the communication.

Communication Methods

Communication methods can be grouped into the following categories:

Interactive Communication:

In this method, two or more people interact with each other. An individual provides information which is received by the other person who then responds to the information given by the individual. Meetings, conference calls, video conferences are examples of Interactive communication.

Push Communication:

Unlike interactive communication, this method involves sending the information to the recipient with no expectation of receiving the feedback. This is one-way streaming of information. Status reports, mass-mailers, project updates sent to a large population are examples of push communication.

Pull Communication:

In this method, the sender places the information at a central location (like a SharePoint or a shared drive) and the recipients responsible to use the information or need the information retrieve the details from that location.

 

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

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 for 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

Stakeholders

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

  • Execute Communicate

  • Manage their expectations and influence

Identify Stakeholders

The following are created or performed in the process to Identify Stakeholders.

Stakeholder Analysis

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

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 stakeholder is managed individually or as groups. A project manager needs 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 involved in the project should be managed. 



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