The Key Objectives of a Project Communications Plan

Every good project manager knows that sufficient information and planning are crucial to having a successful project. This means that it becomes necessary to identify in advance the information needs and requirements of the project team members, management and more importantly, the client. Examples of the information that need to be communicated on a regular basis are the risk events, budget data, schedule information and key results. One-time, event based communications are also necessary.

Components Of A Good Project Communications Plan
There are three main issues that need to be identified before creating a good communications plan. One has to do with the three clear communication channels that managers need to establish once the project has started. These are: upward (to management and stakeholders), parallel (to other managers, as well as clients, vendors and suppliers) Managing and improving these channels can dramatically increase your chances of success.

Second and third are the timings involved in the reporting or distribution of information, as well as the person/persons who will generate the information as well as how. In some cases, generating the information can be a joint effort between two or more people or task teams.

Why Do You Need A Project Communications Plan?
Project communications plan are not merely for public relations, they are done with specific objectives in mind. Knowing these objectives and keeping to them will help streamline the communications plan and help avoid unnecessary wastage of time, manpower and effort.

Here are the key objectives of a good project communications plan:

1. Improve team performance. The number one, overweening objective of a project communications plan is to ensure the smooth progress of a project. Project communications, after all is designed to motivate, lead, delegate, and report back to all stakeholders working on the project.

2. Facilitate team development. A good project communications plan will actually provides the basis for the project team to develop a good working relationship and help each member and understand objectives and tasks to be completed, for an overall better performance.

3. Define crucial components and aspects of the project communications. From defining requirements to implementing the product, a proper communication plan aids in informing all project stakeholders what communication channels will be used on the project, who will report to whom, and the frequency, type, and format of project meetings.

4. Facilitate updating of stakeholders and key decision-makers for easier resolution of critical issues. All too often, many projects fail because of poor communications. Many critical issues can oftentimes be resolved by updating the stakeholders involved with the developments and issues. Allowing upper management and stakeholders to track the progress of a project can often help with addressing certain bottlenecks in the workflow or address issues that delay work, especially when key decisions are required such as approvals of additional budget and manpower.

5. Help facilitate future documentation. A good communication plan will help save on the time and effort allotted for project documentation. By ensuring that effective communication steps are taken from the day the project starts, project documentation for recording requirements can often mean just be developed from materials already in existing communications.

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