Project Communications Planning is a process that is continuous throughout a project. When building your initial Project Communications plan focus on the following:
Define Your Audiences - Who needs to know What, and When and How do they need to know it. Communication needs and audiences will change as the project moves forward. Plan for it.
Start from the Top and Work Your Way Down the Chain - Start your Communications with the highest levels of the organization first, then work your way down to the team members. Repeat this cycle.
Target Your Message to the Different Groups - Different groups (and sometimes individuals) may require different types of communications media (e-mail, status reports, web site, face-to-face, memo, etc.). Plan for these different types of communications vehicles up front.
Define Roles and Responsibilities - Ensure that your Project Communications Plan includes Roles and Responsibilities for key stakeholders.
Status Reports - Status Reports are a great form of Project Communication if kept short and to the point.
Repetitive Messages will be Required - The same message delivered using different mechanisms and sources will help to reinforce your message.
Anticipate Conflict - Tailor your communications to overcome Conflict before it occurs. Keep in mind that Conflict will always occur on a project. Conflict needs to be anticipated and managed continuously throughout the project.
Allow for Anonymous Feedback - Create a way for people to relay their positive and negative feedback anonymously.
Project Managers need to recognize that good Communication is important because it helps to reduce conflict, increases information distribution, and helps to silence critics while reinforcing the positive aspects of your project.
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