COMMUNICATIONS MANAGEMENT PLAN
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The Communication Management Plan is your plan, as Professional Project Manager, as to HOW you will manage communications in your project. It will be useful to review the 10 Key Elements of Effective Planning.
Communications Management Plans come in many different shapes and sizes. Some are matrices, some are text, and some have both a matrix and written text. Flow diagrams can also be used. All are written down. We will look at a few samples, but you will make your own Communications Plan to suit your project.
If you are working in (or for) an organization, some processes and procedures are already in place for managing Communications. You do not need to re-create what already exists. Instead, get familiar with the organization's existing procedures for information filing, format, distribution, storage, and disposal, which might be called Document Management / Control in some organizations. You can simply reference these procedures in your Project Communications Management Plan.
Our focus on this page will not be on document control, but rather on planning the management of the communications themselves. Communications are all about Stakeholders and you already have a Stakeholder Register which lists: preferred mode of contact, who should do the contacting, and when, along with power, interest, and requirements of the Stakeholder. This is the best place to begin your Communications Management Plan.
After reviewing your Stakeholder Register, you will realize:
a) Who to communicate with
b) What to communicate, called Communications Requirements
c) How to communicate, media to use
d) When to communicate, frequency or triggers
e) Reason for communicating
f) Language, level of detail
You will find it easiest to begin your Communications Management Plan by now making a Communications Matrix. List each type of communication down the left hand side. Types of communication include Status Report, Meeting invitation, Public announcement, etc.
Across the top, for each type of communication, this matrix should include:
Type of Communication: (ie: PSR, Meeting invitation, Public announcement)
Description of that type: (ie: a meeting invitation is a document sent to all people needed at a meeting)
Objective of the communication: (ie: a PSR is to provide a snapshot of status at a moment in time.
Medium: (ie: In person, E-mail, Web page, brochure, etc)
Frequency: (ie: daily, weekly, monthly, as required)
Audience: the intended receiver(s) of the particular communication.
Owner: the person accountable for the communication. This can be expanded to a RACI table for Communications.
Deliverable: the hard- or soft-copy document that carries the message.
Sometimes the required flow of information depends on the specific circumstances. For example, a status inquiry might be handled differently depending upon which Stakeholder (the CAO or a temporary employee) asks the question. When the information flow is complicated or variable, make a Communications Flow Diagram to plot the lines of communication. Here is a very simplified Flow Diagram just to get the idea.
You are now ready to start writing your Communications Management plan. Simplest is best so only make it as big or complicated as needed. You can see some samples by clicking the buttons below. Other elements of your Communications Management Plan can include:
a) Communications Calendar: a distinct calendar or integrated into
your office calendar, list all the communications tasks such as 'begin
data collection', 'issue monthly report', etc.
b) Budget for Communications
c) Communication constraints such as legislation, policies,
d) Resources available to work on Communications
e) Escalation process for issues that cannot be solved at lower staff
f) Procedure for approving and updating the Communications
g) Guidelines (or reference to existing guidelines) for conduct at
meetings, sending e-mails, etc.
g) Glossary of terminology used in the Plan
Two samples of Communications Management Plans are given below. These are both in text format, but one is simpler than the other.
This video gives you instructions on making a Communications Plan in table format. If using a table format, I recommend you create it in Excel. Please note some videos load better in Firefox than in Internet Explorer.