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Effective Project Communications using Project Management Tools

February 19 2007

Project Communications and Project Management Tools

One of the most challenging tasks that a Project Manager has to face, is making sure that all of the right people are kept informed during the project, with the right project management tools, the right information, at the right time. To do this, you need to put in place a clear communications process by taking these:

6 Steps to Project Communications

The Communications Management Process is the method by which formal messages are identified, created, reviewed and communicated within a project.

Clear, accurate and timely communication is critical to the success of any project, as miscommunication can result in increased project risk.

If you communicate properly, the right stakeholders will receive the right information at the right time. This enables them to make well-informed decisions about your project.

There are a variety of project management tools that you can communicate the project status to stakeholders, such as through:

  • Press releases
  • Internal newsletters
  • Project Status Reports
  • Presentation materials
  • Website news releases
  • Internal project memos

Regardless of the type of media used to communicate within your project, these six communications steps will always apply:

Step 1: Identify the Message

Your Communications Plan will identify the communications messages that need to be distributed, to keep your stakeholders informed of the project’s progress. Throughout the project, the Project Manager should review this plan to identify which messages need to be distributed, how and when.

Step 2: Target the Audience

Now that you have identified what it is that needs to be communicated, the next step is to identify who it is that the message needs to be communicated to. The audience for each message needs to be confirmed and may include such recipients as the:

  • Entire project team
  • Project management team
  • Project Office team
  • Project Board

Step 3: Decide the Timing

At this point, the type of message and the audience have been clearly specified. The next step is to identify the timing and frequency of the communications message.

In some cases, regular communications, such as weekly Project Status Reports or monthly newsletters, may be necessary. In other cases, a one-off communication event, such as a project change notification, may be more appropriate.

For each communications event, you need to be satisfied that the regularity and timing for each communications event is suitable.

Step 4: Confirm the Format

With content, audience and timing decided, the format of the communication message can be effectively chosen. There are a number of different types of formats to choose from, including verbal presentations, written reports, memos, letters and emails.

Step 5: Create the Message

You should then document a first draft of the message content. The Project Manager will then review it and they may suggests changes. When a final draft is completed it is submitted for approval and release.

Step 6: Communicate the Message

Once approved, the message is communicated to the target audience. The Project Manager may need to seek the Project Sponsor’s approval before releasing certain high risk communications messages, such as:

  • Critical project risks or issues
  • Changes to the scope, objectives or timeline
  • A change in project budget or spending policy

That’s it. If you take these 6 steps each time and project management templates, send out a communications message within your project, you will ensure that the right people receive the right message at the right time!

Click here to download a Communications Management Process now.