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Communication Management Plan: Steps to Create, Components

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19th Feb, 2024
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    Communication Management Plan: Steps to Create, Components

    As a project manager, you have an exceptional gift of being able to manage a multitude of responsibilities simultaneously. This includes delegating tasks, clearing out any project obstacles, and ensuring everyone is on the same page. Communication management plan is a crucial part, it helps organize and document the progress, types, and expectations of communications.

    Effective project management requires breaking down large-scale goals into smaller tasks that eventually adhere to deadlines. A great project manager knows that no project, big or small, is successful without a project management communication program. You can definitely get a new project management communication plan template and also guidance on a communication management plan through  PMP classes.

    What is Communication Management Plan?

    project communication plan is a contract between stakeholders and collaborators that specifies what information will be shared at specific intervals. This guide should contain information like status updates, tasks-related questions, and meeting details.

    The project management communication plan details the information that will be shared with each stakeholder during a project and how it will be distributed to them. Stakeholders and team members can use a communication plan to help them understand the information that they need, how it will be shared, and which channels they should use for communication. A communication plan, also known as a communications management plan, is a key piece of documentation that can be used in conjunction with a project management program. It provides additional information not found in the general document.

    communication plan in project management will help your team know which tools you should use and when to contact each person. A communication plan can make it difficult for one member of your team to ask questions about work using a tool they don't use often. Each team member will feel frustrated, confused, and disengaged from the important work. If they don't know who is responsible for which channel, they may contact an executive stakeholder to ask questions they can't answer. This started as a miscommunication but turned into three frustrated team members.

    It is important to streamline and define team communication as much as possible. The project communication plan provides a framework for sharing details about a project with those involved.

    What Should be Included in Communication Management Plan?    

    Although the details of your communication plan may vary depending on project type and scope, you should include a few things in every communication plan for a project: 

    1. List of Key Stakeholders: Take note of all key stakeholders, including the primary contact for your client. Provide contact information, such as email addresses and phone numbers, to ensure that everyone who needs it can find it. 
    2. Team Members: List the principal team members of your project team with their roles. This information is useful for those who are new or not familiar with the project. This will help you identify who is responsible for communicating deliverables, leading strategic conversations, and how you'll handle technical discussions between stakeholders. 
    3. Communication Methods: Describe the main communication channels and methods you will use to reach stakeholders. These include email, phone calls or video meetings, email, telephone calls, social media, Slack, and other channels. Notes on preferred channels for stakeholders are also welcome. 
    4. Communication Type: Discuss the types of communication that will be used, who will receive it, what will go in it, and how they will be shared. You might provide status reports weekly to clients, for example. Consider how and to whom you will give it. Also, consider what information should be included in the report. 
    5. Communication Style: This can also be broken down according to stakeholder and communication methods. Is it preferable to communicate formally with a stakeholder, or can you speak casually? 
    6. Meeting Schedule: Although you can change this throughout the project, it is useful to know when you will meet with stakeholders. You might want to indicate how often you will email the client, depending on the scope of your project. Your meeting schedule should also include meetings with your internal team members. 
    7. Key Messages: Determine the key message or information you want to communicate with each stakeholder throughout the project. You will also need their feedback. 
    8. Communication GoalsA communication strategy that includes communication goals will help you make informed decisions.

    What Should Not Be in a Communication Plan? 

    Communication plans in project management are not PR plans. The plan won't help you to align your social media strategy, identify target audiences, or set key messages for different groups. You can create a social media content plan or a business strategy to help you build those plans.

    Get yourself more communication management plan examples, a communication management plan template, and even a communication management plan example pdf with the  best Project Management certifications.

    Benefits of Communication Management Plan in Project Management

    The advantages and importance of a communication plan in project management are within the budget, timeline, and scope goals, among others. A well-planned strategy can prevent the majority of communication issues before they happen. A plan in advance allows you to concentrate on the task instead of reminiscing about who spoke during the last meeting or having to go through endless email chains to find the most recent news.

    The fundamentals of the project's communication plan aid in efficient communication. This is a communication strategy to ensure that your projects go more smoothly and avoid projects that fail. Other advantages are setting expectations and managing them, improved management of stakeholders, and aiding in planning your project.

    A solid project communication plan will also help you avoid the hassle of answering every single "what's happening" email. If you have a strategy in place to make sure that all participants are informed on time, the team will be able to adapt to changes, ensure the proper management of clients and keep a high standard of communication. Make clear your goals and goals. As a communications plan, your plan will tell you where you must be and how to reach your destination.

    1. Create a clear understanding of the connections between the audiences, messages, channels, activities, and other materials. Going through the plan of communications will assist you in identifying the people you must reach, who you want to convey, and how you intend to be able to reach them. You'll discover that every one of your audiences is unique in its preferences, characteristics, and motives. Through planning, you'll discover the most efficient ways to reach them.
    2. Determine and then implement a variety of communication strategies. Since there are many ways to communicate your message, a communication plan will aid you in deciding what activities will produce the most effective outcomes. It is important to clarify stakeholder and staff member roles. To effectively communicate, all stakeholders must be aware of the role they play and what they're accountable for. A clearly defined plan can assist stakeholders in being together, having control of their work, and communicating a unified message. Find innovative, collaborative solutions that are collaborative and innovative. Participating stakeholders, employees as well as interns, constituents, and junior employees in the planning process can help you consider diverse perspectives and ideas.
    3. Incorporate stakeholder input into the process of communication. Asking for stakeholder and community feedback on your plans will let them know you appreciate their opinions. In addition, collecting diverse viewpoints will aid in adjusting your strategy to make it as effective as possible. Engage with constituents effectively. As you plan your communications and come up with ways to reach your intended audience, you'll be able to communicate more effectively with them.
    4. Assess your plan's success and areas for growth. Organizations will often perform a mid-course evaluation to identify strengths or weaknesses as well as obstacles. They can then develop and implement innovative strategies. Design a customized, unique evaluation method to collect the data you require to enhance your strategy continually.

    After reviewing the numerous benefits of communications planning, it is time to start the process of developing a plan of communication for your business by using the plan communication management tools and techniques.

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    How to Create an Effective Communication Management Plan? 

    We are sure that you are excited to create your own project communication management process and plan based on the above benefits. It doesn't need to be difficult to create a communication plan. You can identify the communication needs of your team and the key players, then create a schedule that meets all of them. Although a communication plan can be a powerful tool, it is also very easy to make. These steps will help you create a communication program.

    To achieve whatever goal you have, it is important to set it down. Recalling the importance of a communications plan, your goal is likely to keep stakeholders informed about the project's status and remind them of its benefits so they can continue advocating for it.

    1. Set Up Definite Project and Communication Goals     

    You should consider the scope and size of the project as well as the needs and preferences of stakeholders, clients, and team members. Information should be relevant to the stage of the project and the audience. A communication management plan in project management stresses that requirements may change depending on the phase of the project. "During the preproduction phase, there is a lot of communication with clients (phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings), as well as design and engineering. After approvals, client communication slows down.

    However, owing to the communication management plan PMP, the internal shop communication will increase for the kickoff meeting and throughout production. This phase may see very little communication with clients other than sharing progress photos and updates during construction. Client communication usually picks up again once the build elements are completed. We will then move on to logistics, installation, and striking details.

    2. Choose a Suitable Visualization Format    

    Next, we need to decide how to best present your communication plan and project management communication strategies to maximize its impact. The project communication plan is a document. For short projects, it might be words on paper. Your communication plan should be visually appealing in many cases, even those involving multiple people. Strategic use of visual timelines, flowcharts, charts, and other visual media can help communicate expectations to team members and stakeholders.

    3. Add Timeline and Roles in the Plan    

    After you have finished your communication plan, it is time for a communication management approach and discussion with your team. A meticulously designed, well-crafted, and thorough communication plan is useless when no one is reading it.

    The process of communicating about the plan is as important as making it in the first place. Make sure to understand the importance of communication management plan and distribute a copy of the plan to anyone the plan affects. Include everyone involved as well as all task owners and all project team members as well as anyone that will receive or send out communications.

    For each team member on your project, identify the specific job they will play. Be sure to include the type of project they're working on, the methods they use to reach them, and the time and date for communication. For instance, if you have someone responsible for responding to emails from customers, you can include the description of this person as well as the email address or telephone number to reach that person. Here are some of the important tasks you could add to your list:

    • Clients and CustomersInclude information about how to contact clients and what roles are allowed to communicate with clients. For instance, a media marketer might be unsure about the social media strategy. Instead of contacting the customer directly, they can consult their project coordinator. 
    • Key StakeholdersThis will be the category for those with some role in the organization but isn't necessarily a part of any other role you've identified. For instance, an executive might be interested in receiving reports on the progress of a project but does not have any direct involvement in its finalization. 
    • IT SupportInclude information on how to connect with your IT support team. If your team members require technical support, this plan will help them know who to contact to resolve various problems. 
    • Portfolio ManagerThe director of the portfolio oversees many projects and ensures that the projects' results are in sync in order to reach company goals. The majority of portfolio managers are responsible for the long-term rather than day-to-day tasks. 
    • Project ManagerA Project manager is ultimately responsible for overseeing the project in its entirety and can be accountable to a portfolio supervisor. Project managers are accountable for overseeing a project from beginning to end and ensuring that the deadlines and goals are met. 
    • Additional Team MembersImportant personnel for every project will vary based on the type of product and the goals. Other team members on your plan could include marketing specialists, salespeople, data analysts, software engineers’ writers, and customer service. 

    4. Organize Technology in the Communication Plan  

    Include details in your communication plan on the tools that technology team members have access to. It is possible to provide details about sharing tools or explain what programs are crucial in the overall plan. For instance, if you use a group chat program to give information and directions. A few examples of the technology you can employ to communicate are:

    • Software for group chat 
    • Software for sending emails. 
    • Tools for managing projects. 
    • Text messaging 
    • Word processing software  

    5. Communication with Stakeholders    

    The team working on the project is not the sole entity that is covered in your communications plan. It is important to provide details regarding communication with clients and how you usually communicate with your stakeholders.

    Determine who needs to attend these gatherings, what information or disruptions the stakeholders should be aware of, and so on. Typically, your customers and other stakeholders don't need regular updates. They also don't really want email notifications for every task accomplishment.

    Invitations to general or housekeeping gatherings may not be on the cards of everyone involved. This can help keep from having "too numerous cooks at the table" and helps keep everyone on the same page. A good communication plan eliminates any uncertainty in the day-to-day routine and makes it clear to those who are scheduling meetings, sending out information, assigning tasks, or introducing new information.

    6. Share the Plan with Your Team     

    Now it is time for you to share your communication plan with your project team. Your central source of truth should have your communication plan available.

    The communication plan should be sent to all members of the team, as well as stakeholders and other people involved in the project. This will create some accountability. Everyone should now have access to the information and be expected to follow the plan. Keep track of all communication and work so that you can discuss work wherever you plan communications management processes. Make sure to update your project communication plan if there are any changes. This ensures that team members have the most current information.

    Depending on the complexity of your project and the number of people involved, team members can provide feedback on the plan. You may want to hold an orientation meeting in which you will present the communication plan and then walk through it with each member of the team.

    Conclusion

    Clear communication is key to delivering the right message at the right time. Facilitate collaboration and ensure that everyone is kept informed at all times. This will allow your team to spend less time discussing work and more on high-impact projects. A project communication plan will give you the tools and resources to communicate clearly and spot red flags when they happen. You can use a plan to help you re-evaluate your approach and your client's needs and decide if other communication methods are more effective.

    No matter how informal or formal your project communication plan may be, it can make the difference between a successful and efficient project. It is a way to establish and verify expectations throughout a project and a way for meaningful, productive communication. Learn more about communication management plan components by taking KnowledgeHut Project Manager training or KnowledgeHut PMP classes.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1. How Do You Write a Communications Management Plan?

    • A project management communication plan must include the following:
    • Select a format.
    • Establish a goal for communication.
    • Find the stakeholders.
    • Find ways of communicating.
    • Find out the frequency of the communication.
    • Determine who will be the one to provide updates.

    2. What Are the 5 Steps in Communication Planning?

    The five steps to designing an internal communications plan: 

    • Step 1: Determine the objectives. The mere act of communication can only achieve little.
    • Step 2: Be aware of the target audience.
    • Step 3: Create a strategy.
    • Step 4: Confirm your understanding.
    • Step 5: Review, reassess, and then refine.

    3. What Is an Example of Communication Management?

    An example of this is a newsletter or training manual that is only distributed to business employees. A different, more extensive illustration of communication management is a website that an organization can utilize to reach out to multiple audiences via specific messages.

    4. What Should a Communication Plan Include?

    The five steps in developing a communications plan include:

    • establishing goals
    • defining key audience segments
    • identifying key messages
    • creating a strategy for outreach as well
    • creating a timeline to move forward.

    5. Why Is a Communication Management Plan Important?

    A communication plan for project management determines the most important information to be shared with participants throughout the project. It also identifies who will receive the information, how recipients will be informed and when they'll get it, and how frequently they can expect to be notified of the information.

    6. What Exactly Is a Communication Plan?

    In the field of project management, Communication plans are the outline of the way you'll convey important, regular project information to important participants. The plan for communication will aid your team in understanding who needs to receive the notifications and when to notify the project's stakeholders.

    Profile

    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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