Project communications management is a topic that is close to my heart. When it comes to best practices, communications is probably the main piece of the puzzle for running successful projects. I know that it has been one of the best reasons for my track record of successful delivery.
It is an accepted fact that communications will take up approximately 90% of a project manager’s time. This is the reason why I always start with project communications management as a best practice. Excellent communication skills are at the top of the list of requirements for a skilled project manager.
What is project communications management?
In theory it is about appropriate generation, collection, storage and distribution of project information. During the project planning it requires determining the information and communications needs of stakeholders, during execution it is about distributing the information in a timely manner, doing status reporting and progress measurement, during closure it is about simple project management software gathering information to formalize project completion. How is all of this applied in practice?
This is where you must pay special attention…
When is project communications management a best practice?
For project communications management to be used as a best practice, it needs to be applied in a regular, consistent manner throughout the life cycle of a project, from initiation, to planning, during execution, controlling and closing. It must be done to the point where it becomes a routine task on the project. It keeps all stakeholders informed and gives them the re-assurance that the project is in good hands. (That is what project managers are paid for, not true?)
Project communications management in 4 simple steps
1. Communications management needs to be planned for:
- Who needs what project information?
- When do they need it?
- How will the information be given?
- By whom?
Document in your plan which information will be written, which will be oral (progress meetings, presentations), whether it is formal or informal. How will information be stored and distributed. The communications management plan is part of the overall project plan and can be as simple as a one-page communications matrix to a detailed communications plan depending on the size and complexity of the project.