When it comes to successful project management, we already discussed some best practices. We also explored the importance of listening. But along the same lines of listening, another valuable tool to consider is a communication plan. This is essentially a document that outlines what will be communicated to who and when. While having one can be valuable for your stakeholders, creating one can seem like a daunting task. In this post, we will discuss how important one can be as well as how to get started making one yourself.
“Communication” can be a pretty general word, so it’s important to define what this means. Communication can be something as simple as “word of mouth” or more complex things such as press releases and and fliers. It can also include items like outreach, presentations, and special events. It’s important to note though that the parameters of what communication entails are up to you – and it’s one of the many things you will define in your plan. Remember that when developing a plan, the more focused you can be, the better for everyone else.
What’s the big deal?
Sharing information can be overwhelming, with so many channels and avenues to go through, especially in the information age. A communication plan helps give direction for how exactly to share information. It can provide transparency for your project or company so that everyone can see exactly what messages are intended. It also offers standardization of communication procedures during certain scenarios, which become especially useful during the life-cycle of a project. Still need more convincing? Here are five reasons why you need a communication plan, according to the Waigner Group.
But where do I start?
So you’re convinced that a communication plan is an invaluable tool, but now how do you go about writing one? We recommend walking through this tutorial from the Pell Institute that takes you step by step through the process of creating one. It also outlines all of the information you will need to consider and asks valuable questions to help narrow your focus such as intended audience, goals, and timing.
While creating a communication plan will take extra work in the beginning, as your project grows, it will be valuable to have solid direction in place so that important information can be communicated properly.