Communication is essential to any successful project. Being able to convey the right information at the right time can truly make a difference in the outcome of a project, no matter the type or size. This is where a project management communications plan comes in; a plan that serves as a roadmap for delivering your message to stakeholders or clients in a smart, effective way.
A communications plan can be defined as a roadmap for delivering a consistent message to a specific target audience. It enables project managers to effectively deliver information to a certain audience at the right time. The plan will allow you to convey the information you need to prepare and send, to target the message to specific people, as well as to determine which channels you’ll be using to send the message.
These types of plans can be used in several different scenarios, such as when pitching new initiatives, when communicating progress, or when companies need to clarify the purpose behind launching new features or services. They can also help your project or brand during times of crisis, or when a specific decision has been damaging to your company or stakeholders, by preparing a procedure to effectively handle a difficult situation.
If companies don’t have a communications plan, they will most likely be unprepared for what the future may bring. But also, in project management, it’s extremely relevant to prepare and schedule a communications plan because it’ll be the resource that will allow you to layout everything that your client is expecting from you and the project you’re working on.
Clients expect to be updated on progress. But this means that you’ll need to know exactly what their goals and their milestones are. This is why gathering key information is so important when managing projects; if you don’t have the right information as well as the ways to communicate with your clients, you’ll run into trouble when executing the project. By having a communications plan, you’ll be making sure you have a specific roadmap to share information with stakeholders, as well as the right timeframe to do so. Most importantly, it’ll give you the opportunity for feedback to be shared so that you can make any necessary changes or adjustments to your work plan.
In other words, a project management communication plan will serve as:
An effective project management communications plan will help you ensure that you have successful communication throughout the life of your project. But in order for it to be successful, you’ll first need to collect certain requirements for your project plan.
Here are the most important steps you can follow to create and develop an effective communications plan:
Background. This is where you’ll need to gather key information to describe your communications plan and to place it in context. Consider addressing the following aspects:
Project needs. Projects come in all shapes and sizes. So needless to say, every project is different, this means you need to address these differences and understand the needs of your specific project, as well as your client’s specific preferences and needs.
Purpose. Every piece of communication you send out needs to have a reason for being. It’s important that you take the time to schedule a basic guideline for the topics that you will be covering during each email or meeting with your clients. This will also help to set a clear path as to when to expect progress updates from you.
Method. What is your client’s preferred communication method? Discuss this information prior to the project launch. This way, you’ll know exactly how to update your progress, whether it is during weekly meetings, emails, or phone calls.
Accountability. Identify who is responsible for doing what, this way, you’ll be assigning clear ownership to your team. In order for your communications plan to work, it’s important that every person knows their role, too.
When managing projects, communicating progress is a huge part of the job. But also, if you don’t have the right information from the get-go, it’ll be difficult to execute your work efficiently. This is why being able to gather the right data and to lay out a plan that’ll work as a roadmap to
effectively communicate with your clients is a crucial aspect of managing projects.
No matter what type of project you’re working on, the most important thing is that you understand what is expected of you and your team. By having your client agree upon a strategy, you’ll be making your life much easier. Stakeholders will know when they’re supposed to be getting updates, and you’ll know what you’re supposed to be communicating, each time
But managing projects -and teams- is no easy task. You’re dealing with deadlines, issues, meetings and a hundred different requests at once. Luckily, project management software like Instagantt can help you stay on track. How? For starters, you can create communications plans for your projects, and manage them, all in the same place.
This means you’ll be storing all project-related information in one single location, which will truly make a difference when trying to stay on top of your progress. With Instagantt, it’s so much easier to develop and put your communication plan into practice. Our Gantt chart software allows you to manage your projects, create multiple tasks, deadlines, schedule meetings, or phone calls, and make sure you never miss a deadline, especially when it comes to updating your clients.