Poor communication is the demise of many relationships, projects and even jobs. A breakdown in communication leaves everyone frustrated and in the dark. Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once said, “The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” When people are left to assume something, that’s when they’re more likely to collect and report the wrong data, inefficiently prioritize tasks, or over allocate resources. Creating a good project communication plan is key. The communication plan guides effective and efficient dialog with project teams and stakeholders by outlining how communications will occur during the life cycle of the project.
Good project communications will also make sure the correct information is being communicated to the right people. Time is wasted preparing information for the wrong crowd. Typically executives and stakeholders don’t care about detailed project information but are interested in updates regarding project milestones, high-level budget information and overall project health.
Good communication plans generally include:
- Project communication objectives – Who, what, when, how and why
- How many resources are involved in the project? Where are they located?
- Defined project roles and responsibilities
- Who will be in the communication loop – What types of information will the different individuals receive?
- Communication format – Create a consistent template to keep project updates complete and to the point
- Communication methods – Email, printed packets, meetings etc.
- Is there an electronic project information repository?
- Is the communication plan aligned with project size and complexity?
Building a communication plan will be easy if you have the right tools. Savvy organizations will leverage project management tools that streamline and keep pertinent project information organized for improved success. Good project software allows all project information to be centralized for quick access to view status updates via dashboards or reports. It improves communication amongst team members with productivity features such as comment streams and project community workspaces as well as allowing project managers to keep their thumb on the pulse of the project by accessing real-time information for better project planning and communicating.