What to Include in Your Project Communication Plans

illustration of team communication project communication plan

Source: iStockPhoto

Do you have project communication plans in place at your organization?

A large project can involve many individuals, across many departments and locations, dozens of reports, and countless questions. Communication is critical to ensure a project’s success. In fact, 3 out of 5 U.S. workers say that the biggest obstacle to their team’s success is a breakdown in communication.

Communication without a plan, however, can do more harm than good.  A project communication plan is key to making sure everything runs smoothly and nothing falls through the cracks. Essentially, it helps you define the communication requirements for the duration of the project. Project communication plans help all team members know what to expect, what communication channels to use, what type of information must be delivered and who is responsible for sending it.

1. Goals for your Project Communication Plans

One of the first things you should consider is the purpose of your communication plan. What are you trying to achieve? A few examples of plan goals include:

  • Informing all executives and upper management of project status
  • Ensuring workflow runs smoothly
  • Keeping all decision makers aware of any changes, concerns, opportunities
  • Meeting launch deadlines

As you develop each of these goals, be specific. You also want to create goals that can be met within a reasonable timeline, are realistic, and allow you to track the progress throughout the duration of the project.

2. Type of Information

In your plan, list out the specific information that is vital for this project, the reports, progress, etc. When multiple team members deliver irrelevant data, it can slow down other key player’s productivity. Be clear about the data that is needed.

3. Communication Channels

List the various channels you will use to communicate with your team members. Your industry, the individuals involved in the project, and the priority of the project will each affect the type of methods that are utilized. A few common communication methods include:

  • In-person meetings
  • Mass text messages
  • Email updates
  • Regular Reports
  • Surveys/Feedback Forms

Additionally, many individuals on your team may have their own preferred method of communication. The executive staff may want to receive phone calls or texts for urgent or time sensitive matters, for instance. Keep this in mind as you develop the project communication plan. You may want to list this method specifically in the plan.

4. Flow of Communication

If there are many departments, teams, or individuals involved in the process, the flow of communication should also be defined. This prevents key players from not receiving critical information, reports being lost in the workflow, etc. It also helps keep every team member accountable and clearly defines the processes that are needed to accomplish the project and meet all designated deadlines.

Proper flow of communication means knowing what roles everybody plays. Who are your key stakeholders? Fill out a RASCI matrix to determine who on your team is responsible for sending information and who should be consulted or just informed. For example, if developing an emergency action plan, it is critical to know who is responsible for sending out emergency alerts and what approvals are needed to do so.

5. Frequency of Information

Communication plans can also list how often reports and information should be distributed. Managers may want to receive weekly or daily reports to monitor the progress of work while executives or board members may only want a general overview once a month. By providing these reports regularly, it keeps all individuals aware of what is going on and nobody is ever left questioning.

As you develop a project communications plan, the key is to be specific. Every team member should know what their roles are, the goals of the project, the information to deliver, the channels used, and how often. The more thorough your plan is, the fewer communication hiccups that you should encounter.

Interested in learning more including text messaging in your project communication plans? Contact TextMarks at 800-696-1393 to schedule a demo.

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