Excellent collaborative communication is a necessary part of completing any successful project. As a project manager, it is important to not only recognise that great communication is a needed but how it should be implemented throughout the duration of the project at hand. The best way to ensure proper channels of communication is to draw up a communication management plan. This plan details clear lines of authority, responsibility, and communication.
What is a project communication plan?
A project communication plan is a detailed plan that outlines how all communication needs to be handled throughout the duration of the project. As a project manager, making sure clear communication is a priority.
This simple tool should enable effective communication between your client, team, and other stakeholders. A good plan will set clear guidelines over how information will be shared and who is responsible for and needs to be in the loop on each project communication.
Why is a project communication plan necessary?
“A project communication plan helps your project stay on track” says Dale Reeves, a project manager at Write My X and 1day2write. There are several other benefits to having a plan in place, such as:
Having written documentation that everyone on the team can turn to
Setting clear expectations for how and when updates will be shared
Increased project visibility and status
Provides ample opportunity to share feedback
Boosts productivity of team meetings
Guarantees the project continues to be in alignment with goals.
Team communication methods
There are many different methods and there is no right or wrong way for teams to communicate. It boils down to what is the best method for your team and the project at hand. Some of those methods include:
Emailing back and forth
Meetings (whether in person, on the phone, or video chat)
Collaboration Apps, such as Slack with Workast installed as the project management app for teams on Slack.
Experimenting with different methods until you find the best method for you and your team is the best way to decide between the different methods. Review past projects to see what worked and didn’t. Don’t forget to talk to your team, client, and other stakeholders in order to consider how they prefer to communicate as well.
Key elements that belong in every project communication plan
Every project communication plan will include the following:
Key stakeholders-including the primary client contact
Your team members-these team members need to be assigned roles for every project and list the team members involved in the following: Communicating deliverables, leading strategic discussions, or handling technical conversations between stakeholders and your team.
Methods of communication that you will use
Types of communication-this involves how often will you communicate with each other, who communicates with whom, and what information is reported.
Style of communication- will you use informal or formal communication styles
Communication goals-which help you make wise decisions based on certain achievements
Key messages-speaking to stakeholders which you may need to tailor
The five steps to writing a great project communication plan
If you are ready to write your strategy, here are the five basic steps to creating an excellent project communication plan.
1. Define the purpose:
“The reason you are creating a communication plan is because if you constantly bombard people with unnecessary meetings, emails, and phone calls, you will hold up their ability to get work done” explains Sue Frye, a tech writer at Originwritings and Britstudent. When you create your communication plan, be sure every communication has a reason. If it helps you, plan out an agenda for the topics to be discussed in each meeting or report.
2. List out your project’s communication needs
Due to the fact that every project is different and has different requirements, this means that each project will need a unique communication plan that considers things like project size, the type of work being carried out, and client preferences.
You can use Workast to run a meeting and map out an agenda, meeting minutes, communication needs and any tasks that need to be done.
3. Identify the owner and stakeholders
When you assign ownership in you communication plan, you create accountability, so it’s important to identify who is in charge of what communication. Also, take time to list the audience or stakeholders for each type of communication as well, so your key players come prepared to provide necessary updated when needed.
4. Choose your preferred communication method
This is pretty straightforward. Pick what you will be using throughout the project and stick to it. We love using online methods of communication as everything is written down, and clients can refer back to the notes to review.
If your client prefers a phone call, then build this into your plan. Be sure to take down notes if the communication is verbal.
5. Decide on how you will measure your communication
Decide how you will establish regular frequency for communication. This sets clear communication guidelines from the word go, saving you and your team valuable time.
Project communication plans are incredibly necessary for your projects’ success.