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How to Design a Perfect Project Communication Plan

Photo by UX Indonesia

What Is a Project Communication Plan?

  1. Why should this information be communicated?
  2. When, how often, and under what circumstances should it be communicated?
  3. How should it be communicated (methods and formats used)?
  4. Who should communicate what and to whom it should be communicated?

Benefits of a Clear Project Communication Plan

1. Less confusion and misunderstanding

A project communication plan clarifies expectations and responsibilities and prevents a lot of confusion and misunderstanding. Both stakeholders and team members will be on the same page regarding what they should do and expect in return, and everything will be done according to the set expectations.

2. More rigorous project planning

As part of your project planning process, you need to define how people involved in the project should communicate with each other. The main questions are:

  • Who should deliver these messages and when and how often should they do this?

3. Team and client management

A good communication plan can build trust between team members and stakeholders. Depending on your team members’ or clients’ preferences, you can set rules for the reporting and feedback process. It’s quite common for project team members (especially at large enterprise levels) to consider stakeholders or clients as obstacles to project completion. Getting their approval might seem to slow down your team’s work.

6 Main Elements of a Good Communication Plan

1. Key stakeholders

You need to include a list of the stakeholders involved in the project as well as their contact information.

  • Who should report to them?
  • How should they be reached out to, when and how frequently?
  • How do you expect them to respond to your reports and give feedback?

2. Team members

Include the team members involved in the project alongside their contact information in your communication plan. Your developers (or writers, designers, etc.) and project managers are the main team members that should be specified in your communication plan. Explicate your expectations from every team member:

  • In case of emergency, who should your team members reach out to?
  • How do you expect your team members to be available for contact?
  • Who is responsible for communicating to the project managers or key stakeholders?

3. Key messages and goals

Determine what kind of message should be communicated to the stakeholders and what kind of feedback is expected from them. Some stakeholders prefer to receive detailed reports of the work’s progress while others are more interested in receiving final approved files.

4. Communication methods

What are the communication methods and channels you prefer to use to communicate with your team members or project stakeholders?

5. Communication type and style

After you identify the necessary communication methods, you need to define what type of messages are preferred by stakeholders or team members.

6. Communication timing and frequency

How often do you expect your team members to get in touch? How often do the stakeholders expect you to report to them? When should these communications happen? Instructions for communication frequency and timing should be clearly indicated in your communication plan.

How to Use Your Project Communication Plan

For a project communication plan to function properly, you need to know how to use it. Here are some tips:

1. Consider the interests of all people involved

You need to consider the interests of all the people involved in the project, not just the stakeholders. As an example, consider the preferences of your team members in all steps of project completion.

2. Make sure everybody gets it

All stakeholders should know their responsibilities when it comes to communication. So, you need to make sure all of them have a copy of your communication plan. This also helps them to know what they should expect from other team members.

3. Change and adapt if needed

A communication plan is not written in stone so you need to consider a change of plan if it’s not working. Analyze the efficiency of your communication plan all the time to stamp out any nuisance in it.

  • Does your communication plan still align with your project goals, or is there a change in project goals and deliverables that demands a change in the communication plan as well?

Finally

Having a proper communication plan can help speed up project completion. It makes your planning more rigorous, eliminates all the confusion regarding communication issues, and makes expectations and responsibilities more manageable.

  • How this communication should happen and in which formats
  • How the stakeholders prefer to receive updates regarding the project’s progress
  • What kind of feedback should team members expect from them

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