Communication Plan Template for Project Management
A communication plan is an essential part of any project, let it be any marketing or technical venture and without making a concise plan on how communication will be going on during the project time might delay and make complicated to achieve any project objective. So, the normal practice is design a communication plan before the initiation of your project. In a well designed communication plan there will a clear direction about how the project members including the stakeholders of the project will be informed about the status of all the activities of the project. In a word, the main purpose of making a plan for communication is the smooth co-ordination among all the project team members and the executive members of the project...
Should I always make a Communication Plan for my project?
Actually, the requirement of making a communication plan depends on the complexity of a project. For a small scale project with achievable objectives within a few weeks only, and involving only a few people, you may not need a plan for communication. When you have lot of members involved including vendors, customers, programmers, system-integrations, marketing and many more, then you must have a decisive communication plan. Let me give you an example to understand better when you require a communication plan. For instance, you are project manager of a telecommunication roll-out in a country and as you know a total roll-out takes one to couple of years depending on the size of the network. In a telecom roll-out at first you need to assess the prospective radio network in stallion sites and then make a radio network plan based on customer’s density in an area. After a complete radio network plan you have to go for installation and configuration and then testing. Finally it will go on-air. When a network go on-air, you will face many customer complain regarding the quality of voice, call drop, hand-over problem and your project is not done until your network reach some kind of stability as far as smooth network operation is concerned. So, you need to make a well defined plan so as at each phase of your network deployment the corresponding teams can communicate and get updated information about the status of the project. A single mistake in communication plan will only delay the project-thus increase your project cost. I guess, now you understand the importance of communication planning and you can even use it for your wedding party as well.
What is the best time of developing communication plan-before the starting phase of a project.
Essential Elements of a Communication Plan
This is just a few listing which will help you make a quick and effective communication plan, no matter what is the size of your project. To make a communication plan simply address the following issues carefully.
- Who are the stakeholders of your project
- How many phases in your project
- Identify communication events
- How frequently concerned deptt. Or members need to be updated about the project developments.
- Select your resources for communication
Once you make a list of the above issues, you are ready to make your plan
Understanding the communication processes is the base of making an efficient communication plan. Let’s start making a communication plan, which has several processes to be completed. And at the end of the last process you will see that your plan is ready. The four parts of communication processes are:
1. Communication planning
2. Understand the structure of projects
3. Project status reporting
4. Making meeting schedule
Why communication process? –the entire planning is a combination of a number of processes, so it is absolutely necessary becoming familiar with communication profess. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make a comprehensive and realistic communication plan.
Communication Planning- this is the real process that you have to implement during the project phases-so you need to be as precise as possible when making plan for this process. In this part you have to identify what information needs to be provided to the stakeholders at what time and in which process. Make a plan of how you gather all the process information, establish reporting relationships among the member of the projects and make a list of stakeholders contact details. This part of communication plan will ensure
- Project information and status reporting ownership
- Define all the process required for the communication plan
- Who will be the communication owner and responsible for project status reporting to the stake holders. Make a list of persons will be responsible for meeting scheduling and taking meeting notes.
- Who will be responsible for setting up meeting agenda and who will send the invitation to all for the meeting? Also make a plan for how an emergency meeting can be called in case of any unwanted situation during the project life-cycle.
Understanding Project Structure- before making the communication plan, take a careful look at the project structure so as you can better understand who the members of the project team are and how they report each other. Understanding the project structure will help you make a better communication. Basically you have to identify who are the team leaders of the projects and how they communication with their project managers and who is the head of project managing team and how frequently project information is pass on to him. Understanding the chain of project is vital to determine the project meeting schedules.
Project status Reporting- this is somewhat similar to the previous part of the communication process. But this implies the method of project status reporting to the stakeholders. You can plan a reporting structure for- a weekly updated project status and plan, weekly updated risk issues with list of risks the project is dealing with. Or you can even make a reporting plan for daily project status report if necessary.
Meeting schedule – this is the visible part of your communication plan, because after planning what you have to do is to make a meeting schedule similar to a sample meeting schedule given below
Objectives of meeting
Project issues resolution and escalation ;To make informed the Project management team discuss their issues and make decisions to accelerate the project completion phases. Total review of the overall project status
Chair: Mr. xyz Project Manager ; John Woe supply chain manager; Steven Spielberg project co-ordinator
Weekly on Friday with daily checkpoint meetings
Weekly Project Status information including risks & issues, project change requirements...etc.
Planning Updates, Project Milestones, Achieved Milestones, What are the Future Milestones, Dependencies of the project ,Unresolved Issues, Project Risks, Project Communications Leadership Actions Review
This is a very basic and simple communication plan template but it can be a very good starting point developing any communication plan for any type of project work. When you develop your communication plan, keep in mind that the main purpose of it is to keep your stakeholders well informed about the project status. Thus, if you think any changes in the communication plan will make it easier for the stakeholders become updated with every detail of the projects issues