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Project Communications Management
Posted on: May 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
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Project communication is a two way process of exchange of information related to the project between the sender and the receiver with the emphasis on creating understanding between the sender and the receiver.

Project communication is a two way process of exchange of information related to the project between the sender and the receiver with the emphasis on creating understanding between the sender and the receiver. An effective communication is very essential for the successful completion of the project, which is done with the help of project communication management.

Project Communication Management is the process of connecting all the knowledge area of the project and is very important for timely and authentic generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval and final distribution of project information. The project manager is mainly responsible for developing an effective project communication management plan, however everyone associated with the project is responsible for project communication. The inputs needed for the project communication management is taken from the task managers and Project Development Team (PDT).

The project communication management processes provides a link among people and information that need to flow for effective communication. The project communication management can be used by the project managers for the following purposes:

  • Developing an effective communication plan for the project
  • Distribution of information with the help of various methods that conveys the message to the customers most effectively
  • File data using the Project Development Uniform Filing System and
  • Organization of Project Documents
  • Collect records according to the Department Records Retention policies

However, in order to carry out a good project communication management, it should comprise of four phases:

  • Develop the Communication Plan
  • Distribute Information
  • Report Communication Performance
  • Maintain and Archive Project Records

Develop the Communication Plan

Preparing a successful communication plan helps the project team to identify the internal and internal stakeholders and stimulates the communication process among all the individuals associated in the entire project.

The project manager forms a project development team to make a strong communication plan ensuring the development of an effective communication strategy for the project delivery process. The communication plan is a framework of the communication management for the project that need to be followed throughout the project cycle and should be revised as per the need and project change.

The questions that should be kept in mind by the project development team (PDT) while developing the communication plan are:

  • Who needs the information?
  • What are the information needs by whom?
  • When do they need the information?
  • Who delivers the information?
  • How should the information be delivered?

Developing a communication plan includes various procedures including:

Gather Planning Inputs:

Basically, there are two inputs developed by the project development team for creating project communication planning process:

Work breakdown structure (WBS) product list: This includes the list of potential project products according to the work plan, which includes all the possible elements of WBS ass well as the sub-products of WBS.

Project charter: It is the complete record of the record of the agreement between the sponsor and the project manager that allows the project manager to use the resources of the organisation to move ahead with the project formally. A project charter includes the project manager, the project sponsor, and the PDT.

Identify Stakeholders

Project stakeholders have information and communication needs. So, it is very important to identify the information needed by the stakeholders and find the most effective measures to meet those needs.

For this, the project development team must identify the stakeholders of a project and determine their needs and specifications so that an effective management can be made to meet the expectations to ensure the success of the project.

Determine Stakeholder Needs

The project manager assigns the members of the product development team to contact those having some stake in the project including the local, regional, state, and federal agencies as early as possible to reduce the chance of conflict in any stage of the project life cycle.

Identify Communication Methods and WBS Products

Project team members and stakeholders uses different modes and methods of communication methods during the various stages of the project lifecycle. The PDT uses the WBS product list in order to identify the products required for the project. The basic points that are kept in mind during this are:

  • Who is producing the product?
  • Who is receiving the product?
  • The method used for the product transmission

How to Prepare the Communication Plan Draft

The project communication plan includes all the information needed for the successful completion of the project and effective management of the project product deliverables. This involves a number of considerable points that are to be done in order to develop a communication plan draft. These are: brief introduction and background, a list of the project sponsor, project manager, PDT members, and other key stakeholders, methods of communications to be used, project reporting information and stakeholders analysis including both the internal and external stakeholders.

Develop a Conflict Management Strategy

A good communication plan includes a strong conflict management strategy that is designed in order manage the issues between the stakeholders effectively. A conflict may arise between the project sponsors, project team members, and other project stakeholders that can be resolved in the best way through constant communication.

Distribute the Communication Plan Draft

Once the communication plan is drafted, the project manager sends it to the stakeholders for review and feedback. During this, all the WBS elements under the functional area of the functional manager are assigned with some duties to the task managers of the project according to the communication matrix.

Incorporate Changes and Finalize the Communication Plan

The project manager or PDT members incorporate the changes made by the project stakeholders after the review into the project communication plan. Once the changes are being incorporated, the project manager distributes the final communication plan to all the individuals of the team who are anyhow associated with the project. The project management support unit (PMSU) uses the final project communication matrix as a base to track the progress of project during the project life cycle.

Distribute Information

There should be a proper and constant distribution of information to the project stakeholders so that an accurate and timely delivery of information can take place. Through the communication plan all the team members of the project are made aware of their duties and responsibilities to communicate with the with external stakeholders. The more information stakeholders will have regarding the project, the lesser will be the chances of conflict, changes and complaints that can affect the progress of project.

Report Communication Performance

The Communication Plan is reviewed and evaluated on a regular basis in order to maintain the quality and effectiveness of the project communication. The project manager is responsible for taking the periodic review and feedback from the stakeholders that whether the current communication standard meets their requirements or not. However, in some cases, certain project stakeholders demand for frequent information and some demand it only when some problem arises.

Maintain and Archive Project Records

From the initiation of the project until the project is completed, the project manager is responsible for maintaining a set of project records. All the information are organised and indexed based on the Project Development Uniform Filing System.

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