When I was working as a junior project control engineer, I was thinking that it is very difficult to create a project communication plan template, especially for sophisticated projects. Today, I am sure that it is possible for you to create an effective project communication plan template easily if you could follow some basic steps. In this article, we will discuss the importance of having a proper communication plan template to help you to create your own plan.
Why a Communication Plan Matters
Assume that you started a new project which was very interesting. At the beginning, you thought that all the parties involved in the project are very collaborative and they wanted to build up an effective project. However, after three months, you realized that the client didn’t respond to messages for weeks and it was very difficult to get approvals regarding your submissions. You checked your submission dates, minutes of meetings and e-mails and realized that everything was going too slow.
In that case, the only thing that can help you is having an effective communication plan. Because a project communication plan typically lists project stakeholders and defines communication channels between the parties. From this aspect, it provides you a framework to facilitate communication.
Importance of Having a Communication Plan
Project communication planning has two dimensions. One is sending or conveying information, the other is receiving information. In order to facilitate communication, both the project team and the client have to carry out their responsibilities.
A project communication plan defines how the information is delivered between the parties throughout the project. It defines who is responsible for conveying what type of information. Communication plays a key role in the success of a project throughout the projects life cycle. It is important to have a good relationship between the parties involved in the project. Therefore having a project communication plan ensures to have a general understanding of what’s happening and how your project is going.
Your project’s communication plan should be specific to your project because all the projects are different. Large projects have various stakeholders and communication needs. On the other hand, small and less complex projects have fewer requirements. Therefore, communication plans should be tailored considering different goals, budget, and deliverables of projects.
Communication Plan Example
Project communication plans include information regarding major project stakeholders, primary client contacts, communication type, and frequency. Simply put, a communication plan defines what information will be conveyed to who.
Below are the sections of a communication plan.
At the beginning section of a communication plan, you define the communication goals to guide the team regarding the basis of communication.
Below are the examples of communication goals;
- Keep the client informed of project schedule and performance.
- Facilitate communications between the parties.
- Keep the stakeholders informed to receive their feedback and support.
Key Stakeholders and Communication Channels
At this section, you need to list the key project stakeholders, their roles, communication channels and the frequency of communication. You may also include the preferred communication style, contact info, and other relevant information. For better understanding, check the table below.
At this section, you list the types of communications to state how the information will be shared between the parties. Depending on the size and requirements of your project, you might also involve additional information.
How to Create a Communication Plan Template
Below are the major steps to be followed while creating a project communication plan template.
1. Define the Major Parameters of Your Project
The content of your communication plan is highly related to the major parameters of your project. First thing to do is to define the major parameters such as size, deliverables, client information and the timeline of your project.
Think about the communication needs of your team and the client. Did your client specify any preference for communication? Do they prefer face to face communication rather than emails? How frequently does your team communicate with the client directly?
Once you have a clear understanding of the parameters and requirements of your project, you can move to the next step.
2. Define the Goals and List the Key Stakeholders
Think about the deliverables of your project and list the key project stakeholders to be communicated. Think about the power and interest of your key stakeholders and plan the type of communications that will carry your project to success. This list will guide you throughout the life cycle of your project.
3. Create the Plan
Once you have collected all the information, listed the stakeholders and thought about your projects requirements, you are ready to create your own plan. While creating the project communications plan, you should decide to use multiple communication types like phone check-ins, emails and progress meetings.
Tips for Using a Project Communication Plan
1. Keep in Mind that Project Communication Plan is a Live Document
A Project Communication Plan guides you throughout the life cycle of your project. As the project progresses, new team members and stakeholders might participate in the project and some of them might leave. Therefore a project communication plan is a live document that should be kept updated.
2. Share the Plan with Your Team Members
Once you have completed the plan, share it with your team members to receive their feedbacks. By this means they will be aware of the communication lines and types available in your project.
3. Follow the Plan
Follow the plan that you have created and stay on track with the important items you’ve defined in the plan. For example, if you plan monthly progress meetings, make sure that it will be held.
Project Communication Plan Template
Here below you can find a sample project communication plan template. You can review and customize for your projects requirements.
Communication is the act of sending and receiving information. Some people think that creating project communication plans for small projects is just a waste of time. But this is a big mistake. You need a communication plan for any type and scale of projects to facilitate communications. Note that project managers should be good communicators in order to manage people because project management is all about communication.