Key Factors for Communications Planning

A great example that illustrates that a facilitating process does not mean "optional" is communications planning. Given that project success depends on the quality of communications and that 90% of a project manager's time is (or should be) spent communicating, communications planning is an essential activity on any project.


Ninety percent of a project manager's time is spent communicating. Communication is the most important project management skill.

The goal of communications planning is to ensure that all the stakeholders involved in the project have the information they need, when they need it, to fulfill their responsibilities. The key factors that affect communications planning and the communication requirements for a project include the following:

  • Sponsoring organizational structure

  • Results of stakeholder analysis

  • Reporting relationships

  • Functional areas involved in the project

  • The number of people involved in the project

  • Location of the project stakeholder

  • Information needs of each stakeholder

  • Experience level of project team members

  • Availability of technology

  • Immediacy and frequency of information needs

  • Desired form of project communications

  • Expected length of the project

  • Level of "external" communications needed

  • Procurement contracts

  • Any constraints advised by legal counsel

Techniques for Better Project Communications

In addition to testing your understanding of the communications planning process, the PMP exam will also test your understanding of basic techniques for better project communications. Although most of these are "common sense," you'll find it helpful to review them for the exam.

Guidelines for Effective Communications

The first points to review are the basic guidelines for effective communications. These guidelines apply to all types of communications, but in project management they are often the key differentiators between average and superior project managers:

  • Think about your message in advance.

  • Choose the best form for your message.

  • Send all necessary information.

  • Indicate whether a response is needed.

  • Be clear, concise, and courteous.


The three C's in project communications are

  • Be clear.

  • Be concise.

  • Be courteous.

Recommended Project Communication Mechanisms

In addition to effective status reporting (including the use of earned value techniques), the other communication mechanisms favored by PMI include the following:

  • Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

  • Kickoff meetings

  • Mini kickoff meetings (each phase)

  • Responsibility matrix (RACI)

  • Project organization chart

Essential Information for Team Members

One area of project communications that is often overlooked is the importance of providing the right information to the core project team members. The following list of essential information for team members is valid over the entire project lifecycle, but it is especially important to remember anytime a new person joins the project:

  • Project context

  • Project goals

  • Team members' roles and responsibilities

  • Team members' assignments

  • Project schedule

  • Chain of command and reporting relationships

PMP Exam Cram 2. Project Management Professional
PMP Exam Cram 2. Project Management Professional
Year: 2003
Pages: 169 © 2008-2017.
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