You cannot skip the project communications plan. Why? It doesn’t seem to be important. We all know how communication works. There are also traditional ways that organizations use by default.
I get it.
I’ve been there. But, I did it once I had the time and effort to complete a project communication plan. I created strategy. I created metrics to measure performance. I kept track of communications.
It was a real eye-opener.
Communications before it was a complete mess.
As always, I followed general guidelines when starting a new project. All communications were done via email. Our daily correspondence was read by many people.
I assumed that email suits our clients well by default.
I can’t claim that there was anything wrong with the way we interacted. It was just that I wanted to take the “correct” approach.
To start, I asked you one question: “How would your communications in email be described?”
Guess what the client said?
It is a constant stress for us. He said that it was inefficient. “We have a small staff here. We are so used solving all problems in life conversations …”
This is how you can determine the true state and efficiency of communication.
In the beginning, I planned to write an in-depth article about Communication Management. I will explain the processes of decoding and encoding messages, as well as formulas for communication channels.
It is your first communication management plan, however. I want you actually to write one.
Here’s the deal.
Here are only two aspects:
Communication understanding is broader.
You can create a project management communications plan using this action plan.
Pin it to your Project Management Board. Accept Communications with a Broader Meaning
You will miss the point if you limit your project communication plan to the preferred media and scheduled meetings.
Information exchange takes place on many levels.
Choice of words
Meaning between the lines
Here’s where I want to take you:
To create a successful Communications Strategy, you must consider the details of each stakeholder at different levels.
Take, for example.
Your client is not very good at writing specifications. She can communicate features and requirements with a lot of emotion and gestures. She is an expert at drawing everything on a whiteboard.
Would you limit her access to email because it is a prescribed method of communicating?
One more important aspect:
Context of the Shared Information
We had to take a serious risk on one project. It had a negative impact on our requirements. We had to alter the scope and timeline of the project.
Together with clients, we tracked and managed the risk. They were informed, prepared, and cooperative.
In the weekly report, I mentioned the risk.
I didn’t realize that one of the senior officers was currently on a long vacation.
She was completely unaware of the progress of the project. All communication with the client regarding the risk was done in live sessions. The email did not provide a clear picture.
(Yeap. That was also a failure on my part).
It seemed that the risk had occurred unexpectedly from her side and we don’t know what to do.
She escalated the issue.
It was 12:01 a.m. before everyone got on board with the situation.
You get the point.
You must control what people know. An information piece taken out of context will undoubtedly be misinterpreted. It is important that key stakeholders have a clear line of sight to the context of the project.
Keep them informed.
Here’s the One Big Thing I Want You To Take Away
Spend more time thinking about the details and requirements of project communication. Do not waste time trying to figure out how to put it into a Project Management Communications Plan.