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If you communicate consistently, stakeholders get updated and provide buy-in and potential project issues can be circumvented. Once you understand this toolkit and approach, you'll be much better equipped to keep your stakeholders informed of what's going on in your project. Definition: Project communication is the primary change management tool for any project and key to reinforcing desired behaviors.
Case Study: I was project manager of a large private banking system roll-out for an Southeast Asian bank. As you could imagine, that meant I didn't have time to think about my communication plan AT ALL.
However, an introverted PM may slightly disadvantaged in terms of charisma and being able a€?grab the attentiona€? of stakeholders. I'm not saying email status updates are not good, but you should use them for a€?broadcasta€? type of communication which everyone needs to know (e.g. I've talked about forgetting to send out communications to stakeholders because you're just so busy you don't have to think about it. I never did think of this aspect before, but how often do you find yourself just a€?communicatinga€? to someone without thinking about the a€?structurea€? of the communication? Case Study: I once had to convince a senior stakeholder to accept a workaround solution in the software we were rolling out. I wanted to suggest to this stakeholder that the system users maintain prospects in Excel files for an interim period after go-live. Sensing it would be a tough discussion, I sent an email to this stakeholder explaining why the manual prospect file would need to be maintained. Then I quickly follow up with a face-to-face meeting, using that email I sent as a basis for discussion.
Can you imagine a Change Manager sending out an email that has no relevance to the users, or perhaps or repeatedly sends an email he or she has sent before, or worse - sending an irrelevant email to the WHOLE company?
The reason for doing it at the start is so that your project communication starts being regular and consistent as soon as possible. Oh, and some last thoughts on project communications which is useful to mention here at the tail-end of this article. When you're communicating messages to your project stakeholders, please, please remember to think of WHAT YOUR AUDIENCE needs to know.
I've touched on this briefly, but it's worth mentioning again, since it is SUCH a useful tool. I find this very useful if I'm trying to remind, or more importantly - persuade - someone to see my recommendation. I hope the above has given you a solid idea of the project management communication plan - why you need it, how and when to use it. I think the opposite - a project communications plan allows you to engage your stakeholders in a structured manner to meet project objectives.
All in all, communication is a a€?must-doa€? item in any PM's checklist - so make sure you learn and apply the above tips in your next project. Ia€™ve written a practical, easy-to-read guidebook that will help you find your best path to Project Management a€“ one that leverages your unique skills, experiences and career background to your advantage. Advanced version control features available with the version counter displayed on the Project Planner template.
Default formatting is automatically reset to correct any changes made by project team users. Scalable with tests and implementations on large scale projects and performance tested with thousands of tasks. Additional Excel business solutions are categorized as Free Excel solutions and the most popular. The overall objective of communication is to create a two way flow of information and to use the dialogue to channel efforts in the right direction until the objectives of the project have been achieved.


Well, another way of putting it is to say a€?Project communication is about delivering a clear and relevant message from one party to another so as to ensure project objectives are meta€?.
The lesson learnt is to always, always communicate to your stakeholders early and regularly throughout the project. Many of us keep to ourselves and do not explicitly approach stakeholders to and update them on what's going on in projects. Communications do not come so naturally to them - hence the need for structured communication plans to ensure updates get delivered to key stakeholders. It makes explicit many of the decisions we would otherwise have to waste time thinking about.
In your team, who is the person responsible for crafting the information update to the stakeholder? I've also got a a€?Commentsa€? column to store miscellaneous remarks about the piece of information published to the stakeholder. A lot of project managers do that (especially those who are more introverted and don't like face-to-face meetings). For example, is it useful for you to send an email summarizing key discussion points, THEN follow up with a face-to-face discussion with a person? The software could not be configured to store a list of client prospects within the project timeline. This would inconvenience the users, but at least buy some time for the system to be configured with that capability, e.g. This set the context for the discussion and allowed us to have a very fruitful discussion on the workaround (which got signed off and accepted by the way). There are entire departments in a bank dedicated to a€?Project Quality and Assurancea€? or a€?Project Standardsa€?. If I'm doing a four week project to determine what core system to select for a bank, do I really need a€?project governancea€? installed? Usually, tools like newsletters, email updates and training workshops need to be scheduled. It's best discussed as part of the a€?Method Adoption Workshopa€? (which I've touched on here), at the point when you're deciding which templates and approaches you'll adopt for your project. If you wait till the end of the project before you put in structured communications, stakeholders may already be a€?too losta€? to listen to you. I've seen so many project managers sending two to three page emails explaining project progress. If you email then speak to someone about a project issue, he or she will be more receptive as they have heard your message twice.
If you simply push out messages to stakeholders and ignore their feedback - you're not showing empathy to your stakeholders. Address any concerns if they are valid or send an email that you'll look into it by a specific date.
Some project managers (especially long-time veterans) see this as just a€?documentationa€? and tend to gloss over it.
It even allows you to subtly a€?persuadea€? stakeholders too (by delivering consistent messages through different channels). Further solutions proposed for specific user requirements can be either found in the Excel Help Forum or proposed as a project to the Excel freelance community. It broadcasts project progress, statuses and very importantly - project risks and mitigation plans - to all concerned. You should also ensure it's relevant - meaning, does the person need to know about what you're telling them? You won't have time to walk around and meet each stakeholder in person (although that's ideal) and if you make do with sending out email updates, people may not read them.
The six months timeline was absolutely crazy - so as you can imagine, things were a€?rushed througha€? - we could hardly get the requirements document, gap analysis, test scripts and deployment plans ready in time.


That was a MISTAKE - because I ignore communications to my stakeholders, when it came time to sign off on requirements, testing and ultimately, go-live - most of the stakeholders resisted and didn't want to sign off. You can do an introverted but make an excellent project manager if you install the correct methodologies and have requisite domain knowledge.
Recording dates are important so that in your project calendar you know the specific times that a communication email or meeting should occur. I think this is fine if you're running a small project, but for large projects, knowing WHO your stakeholders are is absolutely critical.
You don't have to record extremely detailed information - doing that will just clutter up the template. With a communications plan, I don't have to think - I just KNOW that when a certain date comes, this email has to go out, or that meeting has to take place - and my required communications to key stakeholders will be taken care of. However, things like project issues or in-depth discussions should always be kept OUT of emails and discussed in person where possible. If you don't get them down in writing, they tend to just a€?floata€? in your head, with a high chance of being ignored. It's a hot topic and I think it's probably something invented by some over zealous PMO person who want to put more a€?value adda€? into the PMO's realm of responsibilities. This person makes sure the users are a€?readieda€? for the new business processes that will kick in once the new system goes live.
Workaround ABC is critical if we want the project to go-live by Date X) using different communication modes (e.g. And that is a risky thing to do, especially if you're dependent on them for a final sign-off. The last thing you want to do is to IGNORE the feedback - that destroys your credibility very quickly. It is tough sometimes to clear your head and think about who needs to be updated, who should you discuss a project issue with, and so forth.
Your stakeholders determine whether your deliverables are signed off and hence whether you are paid for your project management work. I prefer to record things like a€?Project status updatea€?, or a€?Items requiring management decisiona€?.
For example, comments could be something like a€?Mr XXX was not to happy to hear about YYYa€?, or a€?Critical to deliver message that project will be delayeda€?. As a project manager, you should be a€?out therea€? as much as possible, talking to your stakeholders - everyday, if possible. It demonstrates to your stakeholders that you're taking the issue seriously and not just relegating the problem to an a€?email discussiona€?.
Externalize your communication schedule in writing and you'll start see a tendency for yourself to start adhering to the schedule. But if I'm running a two year long core banking system replacement project - then heck yes, project standards are very useful.
Please always tailor your communication to what you believe the reader wants to know about.
There's so much chaos, you don't scan the horizon to see what is coming up and who to update. Then provide succinct and clear messages, instead of writing half a novel describing every single detail.



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