Task: Communication Plan
Communication Plan
Disciplines: Project Management

Purpose

A Communication Plan will facilitate clear and timely information is disseminated while holding specific people accountable for ensuring communications are executed.

Relationships

RolesPrimary Performer: Additional Performers:
Outputs

    Main Description

    A Communication Plan identifies and assesses the communication needs of all project stakeholders.  It addresses what format, how often, who is responsible, and how feedback is gathered.  Spending time on the type of communications you want to send and how those communications are delivered will help to ensure that your communication activities are focused and that the needs of your audience are met as effectively as possible.  The Communication Plan should be reviewed and revised as needed to ensure it is current and applicable.

     

    To further ensure the likelihood that all planned communications take place, project communications should be incorporated into the project calendar or project schedule as a reminder or a task to be completed.

     

    Communication Plans are critical for providing accurate and timely information and for preventing rumors, resentment, surprise and shock among stakeholders.  Designing and executing a project communication plan facilitates commitment to change by increasing awareness and providing relevant information to all stakeholders.

    Steps

    Review Project Management Methodology
    The Project Manager should review the Project Management Methodology with communication in mind.  There are some required communications that will need to be included in the communication plan.  This is also a good time to look at the template to see what types of information is needed.  Communication plans that were developed for other projects can also be a good source of information.
    Meet with Stakeholders Concerning Communication Needs

    The Communication Plan will detail what information should be distributed when at what intervals and via what method to keep all project stakeholders informed.  This information may vary depending on the needs of the stakeholder.  The PM will need to document the communication needs of each stakeholder in the Communication Plan.

     

    The project team is also a stakeholder of the project.  The communication requirements of the project team will also need to be documented.  This may include some mandatory reports and meetings as required in the project methodology, but all should be documented in the plan.  This may include how Issues are addressed, what the escalation process is within the team, and how questions or concerns are communicated.
    Document Information in Template for Communication Plan
    The Project Manager is responsible for documenting as much information as can in each section of the communication plan.  If additional sections are needed to communicate the plan effectively, the PM should include as needed.  The plan should include all necessary information gathered from stakeholders concerning communication needs.
    Review Communication Plan
    The PM should review the Communication Plan with the team and affected stakeholders.  All ideas and concerns should be captured for consideration in the next version of the plan.  This review and update exchange with team and stakeholders is iterative while in the Planning Phase, however, it cannot continue indefinitely.  The PM will need to determine when the communication plan is sufficient for the work of the project.  In subsequent phases the plan should be reviewed regularly and updated to keep current and applicable.
    Assign Meetings and Reports
    Specific communication activities are assigned a responsible party to assure all communication activities are accomplished.  These activities should be reflected as tasks in the project schedule and meetings scheduled on project calendars.
    File in Project Folder
    The Communication Plan and updates should be filed in the project folder where all team members will have access for referencing.  The plan will provided direction for project communications and should be available to all team members.

    Illustrations

    Reusable Assets

    Key Considerations

    Changes to the Communication Plan may occur after the Planning Phase of a project.  These changes are documented as versions of the original plan.  Any and all changes should take into consideration constraints related to the project.

     

    Depending on the project, some or all of the plans associated with a Project Management Plan will need to be completed.

    Alternatives

    For a small project or enhancement and abbreviated document containing the necessary information needed by the project team may be an appropriate alternative.