DEVELOP COMMUNICATIONS PLAN


Uma decided to create the communications plan based on her prior experiences and then review it with the team. She decided that she would create a separate area in the company's intranet that would be accessible to the project team, steering committee, and stakeholders. The meeting minutes project folder would be available at every team meeting. Uma's communication plan is shown in Table 3-5.

Table 3-5: B2B Project Communications Plan

Communication

Who Creates

Frequency

Why


Project status report

Core team and SMEs

Weekly

To cover what was scheduled, what was completed, issues and their severity, dependencies affected by issues


Team project status reports

Team leads

Weekly

To summarize individual status reports and comments on the status


Project report

Project manager

Monthly

Financial details and project schedule status to sponsor, steering committee, and stakeholders


Team meetings

Project core team

Weekly initially; can be revised later

Jointly make decisions, uncover issues, monitor progress, and improve process


Project update

Project manager

Weekly

Keep sponsor up-to-date

Uma then invited all the team members to discuss the communication plan. Jeff asked Uma, "What about the meeting minutes? Do we copy everybody on the team?" Uma answered that subteam meeting minutes need to be sent to the core team members. The team leads could then decide if they need to copy the meeting minutes to any other stakeholders. The core team agreed to keep the communication channels open but not overloaded. Uma would also provide a weekly update to Bob. Steering team approval will be required at every milestone of the project. Uma and Bob shared the thought that it is their task to encourage the steering committee to periodically update the user community on the project's status and what to expect. Uma would be the primary communicator to Buslog.

Project Leadership Considerations

While much of what Uma did in developing the communications plan was appropriate, she missed a fundamental concept of good communication. The concept behind effective project communications is simple, even if the implementation is almost always a challenge. The concept is to first understand who needs to know what, in what format, at what time, under what circumstances. The rest of the concept is to construct a plan to give the various stakeholders the information they need in a timely fashion. Too much communication can be a problem, just as too little usually is. To understand what various stakeholders need to know, ask them! Uma did not ask anyone what they needed.

Project leaders should keep the following points in mind when developing a communications plan:

  • Project leaders need to continually articulate their vision to all stakeholder groups.

  • Project leaders should ensure that team members have regular, complete, and effective contact with their counterparts in the customer's organization. Engineers should talk with engineers, accountants with accountants, and programmers with programmers, etc. There may be a need to filter certain information, but that should not come at the expense of limiting important contacts.

  • Project leaders need to develop well-grounded explanations for all questions that may arise. When possible, these should be developed before the need arises.

  • The project communications plan should include clear guidelines for team meetings.

  • The project communications plan should address the professional development of individuals as well as of the project team.

  • The project communications plan should be an efficient means of organizing data and reporting results.

  • Different people have different communication needs at different times. Keep asking if the current flow of information is adequate.

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Project Leadership Lesson: Planning—Human Relations

A Project Leader Needs to:


Accept the fact that different project stakeholder have very diverse information desires


Have the courage to uncover and meet their true information needs


Exercise the wisdom to understand the difference between these desires and needs.

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Project Leadership
Project Leadership
ISBN: 0071388672
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2005
Pages: 106

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