How to make the communication plan of a project?

How to draw up a communication plan for a project?

Communication plans are important for your projects. Effective communication, both internal and external, is essential to the success of the project. It is essential to have a project communications plan outlining who the stakeholders are, as well as when and how to reach them. However, having a good communication strategy can be very useful to you. This article covers:

  • The benefits of project communication plans
  • What to include in a communication plan
  • How to write a communication plan
  • And how to use a communication plan throughout the project

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Benefits of Project Communication Plans

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At their core, project communication plans facilitate effective communication. They will make your projects run smoothly and help you avoid project failure. Other major benefits include setting and managing expectations, better stakeholder management, and assisting with the project planning process.

Set and manage expectations

Project communications are a two-way street. Much like project planning, expectations need to be set and the project team and client stakeholders need to take responsibility for communication to go smoothly.

While a project doesn't start without a project plan in place, project communication plans aren't as easily discussed, but they should be.

By letting the client know early in the project process what to expect, you set the tone for the entire project, starting with the project proposal process.

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It's also helpful for them to know in advance what you'll need from them so they can be prepared when the time comes.

Stakeholder and customer management

Throughout a project, successful communication about alignment to goals and milestones, and subsequent realignment to these as projects change, is essential for stakeholder buy-in and transparency on the status of the project.

Communication is key to maintaining a good relationship with the client, and a project communication plan can help you maintain that shared understanding of what is happening and what should be happening throughout your project.

Project planning

A project management communication plan defines how critical information will be provided throughout the project, by whom, and how often. As you complete the project planning, you should also complete the communications planning.

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Not all projects are created equal, and for this reason, a project communications plan is unique to your project, which is why it's important to think about it when creating your project plan post-launch.

Large projects have different communication needs than small projects, and the same goes for projects with teams of stakeholders versus a single project contact.

Projects with objectives, budgets, different deadlines and even different deliverables all require communication tailored to those needs, and that's something to keep in mind when creating a project communication plan.

What to Include in Communication Plans

While the specifics of your communications plan will vary depending on the type and scope of the project, a few key elements should be included in every project communications plan you create:

Key stakeholders

Write down all key stakeholders, including your primary customer contact. Include contact information such as phone numbers and emails, so that anyone who accesses the communication plan can find this information.

Members of the team

Include your project's key team members and their roles. This is handy for anyone new or unfamiliar with the project. List the members of your team involved in communicating deliverables, leading strategic discussions, or how you will manage technical conversations between stakeholders and your team.

Communication methods

Describe the main communication methods and the different channels you will use to contact stakeholders. Use email, phone calls, face-to-face meetings, video meetings, social media or any other. Include notes on preferred stakeholder channels.

Type of communication

Include the types of communication, how that communication will be shared, what will be included, and with whom that communication will be. For example, you can provide weekly status reports to the customer.

Consider how you will provide this, who it will be provided to, and what information should be included in the report.

Communication styles

This can be broken down by stakeholders and communication methods. Does a certain stakeholder prefer formal communication only, or can you take it a little more casually?

Calendar of meetings

While you can adjust this as needed throughout the project, it is helpful to have an initial idea of ​​how often you will meet with stakeholders.

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Depending on the scope of the project, you can also indicate how often you will send emails to the client. Also include internal team meetings in your meetings calendar.

Key messages

For each stakeholder, determine the key message or information that will need to be communicated to them throughout the project. This also includes any information or feedback you will need from them.

Communication objectives

A communication plan that includes communication objectives can help you make decisions based on what you are trying to achieve.

How to Write Your Own Project Communication Plan

1. Understand your settings

A project communications plan doesn't need to be formal. But it should at least be written for your own reference. Consider grammar, not because you want to sound smart, but because you want to be clear and understood.

Writing tools can help you deal with this without taking too much time. With that in order, you can start creating your content with confidence.

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First, it lets you sit down and set the project parameters. These include the project size, client company information, project deliverables, schedule and project team.

Think communication styles of your team and that of your client:

  • How successful have communications been so far?
  • Has your client indicated a preference for communication: do they tend to phone when they have a question or are they email-centric?
  • Did you meet in person or via video?
  • How often does your team interact directly with you on a project? Do they prefer the written context to meetings?

Once you understand the team and clients you work with, you can apply this to a communications action plan.

2. Define your objectives and your stakeholders

List your project deliverables and key project stakeholders. Next, add your project goals to that list: Think about what successful project communication is, not just with your client, but also with your team.

This list will guide communication decisions.

3. Make a communication plan

Now, it's time to make the plan. Define your approach to the communications you will have throughout your project. Knowing your project goals, consider how often you will communicate with your client stakeholders, how you will do it, and what those communications will include.

You may decide to use multiple approaches, such as weekly phone check-ins to update the schedule and budget progress, as well as daily emails for on-the-fly questions and less frequent in-person meetings to present updates. main milestones of the project.

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Whatever you decide, keep your metrics and goals in mind. These should help you identify the types of communications that will be most beneficial to your project and how detailed or in-depth your communications should be.

How to use a project communication plan

1. Share it with your team

Sharing the plan with your team will inform them of your communication cadence, which affects their work and delivery dates, but also give them more context on how you will communicate and with whom.

Sharing this information means your team can help you implement the communication plan.

2. Stay on track

Make sure your team knows and understands your communication plan so your client receives consistent and meaningful information delivered to them throughout the project.

Book all key project meetings as soon as you have a plan in place and add reminders to your calendar for regular check-ins and even project emails so you stay on track with the important things you've set in your plan.

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If at any point you stray from your communications plan and find it hard to come back to it, reconsider the approach you have set:

  • Does it still correspond to the objectives of your project?
  • Have the objectives or stakeholders changed in any way since the start of the project?
  • Are there more effective ways to communicate project information at this stage?

Communication Plan = Success

Having a project communication plan gives you the tools to communicate effectively. A plan can also allow you to reassess your approach and your customer's needs if necessary.

No matter how formal or informal your project communications plan may be, it can be the difference between a very successful and effective project and one that just stalls without a solid plan in place.

Think of it as another way to set and check expectations throughout a project. Think of it as a way to ensure meaningful and successful communication with ease.

What do you think ?

How essential is a project communication plan to the success of a project? Do you think project managers should always write a communication plan for projects, regardless of their size? Let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

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