Project Management Guide:

Project Management Communication Plan

When it comes to preparing for a project you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to set things upright. You want to be sure that you have everything laid out in the proper order so that you know how to interact with your clients. A project management communication plan will lay out everything that your client is expecting as well as everything that you expect. But you need to make sure that you sit down with them to set it all up.

What is a Project Management Communication Plan?

When you’re setting up a project management communication plan what you’re actually going to do is layout exactly how all of the information that happens throughout the project will be conveyed. After all, you want to be sure that your client gets all of the information that you’re sending and you also want to be sure that you receive all possible feedback from them. This is going to take some understanding between the two of you because communication is essential to any project being successful.

When you think about any sort of project you know that you’re going to have to keep your clients up to date on your progress. You’ll need to let them know about goals and how you’re progressing. You’ll need to know about the different milestones and whether or not you’ve actually accomplished them. You want to make sure that you turn in any information that’s needed throughout the process of completing the project. And you definitely want to make sure that you let them know of any changes to the status of the project and more. All of this means that you need to know exactly how to reach out to anyone involved.

If you don’t have a way of communicating with your client you could find yourself with a great deal of trouble when it comes to executing the project. You want to make sure that if you ever have a question or if anything else happens you know which way to reach out to your client, whether it’s through email, by phone or through some other method. After all, you’re going to want to prove that you actually did what you could to contact them if you ever have any kind of problem or need anything at all.

Setting Up Your Project Management Communication Plan

Are you ready to start up your plan? If it’s time to get everything running properly you’re going to want to take the time to actually sit down with your client for a period of time. You may want to set aside a full hour or even a longer period of time to sit down and discuss everything that needs to be done to get your project laid out properly. It’s not just about setting up the communication plan. You want to lay out the steps that it takes to get your project accomplished and that will take a great deal of effort from you and our client.

Sit down and talk to them about each of the different steps of the project. Layout each of the milestones and each of the goals that are required for the project. Layout what your client expects of you and what you are going to provide for them and make sure you also point out each of the stages where you will provide some type of update to them. This is going to make it a whole lot easier for you to make sure that the project is going well.

Of course, when you lay out the communication part of the process you need to make sure that you’re talking to your client about how they want to communicate and even how frequently. Make sure that everything is recorded in your documents. When you’ve laid out how to communicate and you’ve also laid out what you’re going to do you’ll be able to carry out everything effectively. That means if you communicate everything to the client in the way that you said you would and you complete the tasks as you agreed you’re going to be setting yourself up well in case of any problems down the road.

The Parts of Your Project Management Communication Plan

So, just what are the parts of your communication plan? What do you need to do or know to include in this plan to make sure it’s actually legally enforceable? Well, there are several different aspects that you want to consider, but make sure you’re not missing out on any of these because they could affect the enforceability of the project that you’re creating and all of the steps that you’re taking along the way.

The first section should be the goals of your project. This is where you’re going to talk about what goals you have as far as the communication you will engage in throughout the time working on the project. Discuss, for example, what you’re going to do as far as keeping everyone informed, providing information or even what types of information you’re going to provide. This is generally going to be a short section and may even be laid out through bullet points to make sure it’s easy for everyone to understand. You’ll break things down more specifically as you move forward.

Next, you want to layout a table of all of the people who you are responsible for interacting with or updating along the way. This is where you’re going to write down their names, their position in the company and even all the information about how you will communicate with that specific person throughout the execution of the project. You’ll want to lay out how often you’re going to reach out and just how you’re going to do it so you can make sure that you get the information necessary to each person within the project team.

Finally, you need to lay out exactly how you’re going to communicate during different parts of the project that you’re working on. You may want to talk about things like who is going to share the information, what information is going to be shared and when it will happen as well. You need to explain what the deliverables will be and you need to make sure that this section is as clear and as specific as possible. After all, this is going to be one of the most important parts of the entire document and it’s going to be the most detailed portion as well.
For example, you may state a specific type of communication, such as a weekly email report. You can express when they will be sent, who they will be sent to and what they will consist of. From there, you may want to create a bullet list that further defines every piece of information that you will include in that email report. Then, you can create a different heading, such as daily emails and layout who they will be sent to and when. Create another bulleted list that will express all of the information you need to know to execute this task properly.

Laying Things Out the Right Way

All right, so now you know a bit more about what these types of plans are and just what they’re going to consist of. You know how you can make it all work and you know why it’s important to do it. But do you know how to actually draw one up in detail? We’re going to talk about some of the most important aspects of your project communication plan and we’re going to make sure that you’re more than ready to get things taken care of. After all, you don’t want to find yourself struggling to maintain communication with a client.

Lay Out the Parameters

The parameters of your project are things like who you’re working with, who the team is that’s going to be involved, what the timeline is overall and what kind of deliverables you’re responsible for providing to your client. You should make sure that all of these things are laid out properly so you know exactly what you’re doing and all of this should be put into a project communication plan, not just into your other documents and schedules. This is how you’re going to make sure your communication is accurate.

Lay Out the Goals

Next up you need to make sure that you’re laying out each of the goals that need to be accomplished throughout the project. This is where you’re going to talk about the different deliverables that you’re going to provide. It’s also where you’re going to talk about each of the different people that you are responsible for and what you need to provide to them. Keep in mind that this is going to be a detailed section of goals and you want to make sure that you have as much information as you can.

Laying out the goals that you need to achieve throughout your process is going to be extremely important because you’re generally going to tie all of your communication into those actual goals. You’re not quite to the point where you need that communication plan, but laying out your goals and the people that you need to interact with about those goals is going to be the last step before you start developing that plan. After all, you want to make sure that you know what you’re doing as well.

Lay Out the Communication Plan

Finally, it’s time to actually create the communication plan that you need. This is where you’re going to talk about how you will communicate with each of the people who are responsible for the project in different ways. So, you will layout each of the stakeholders and then you will need to make sure that you discuss which ways you’re going to communicate with them as well as how often you’re going to do it. This is something that you and your client should agree on and it should allow you to set up a solid foundation for what’s going to happen moving forward.

Keep in mind that a communication plan may need to be somewhat fluid and you may need to make some changes and adjustments along the way. When you get started, however, you should make sure that you’re following this process as closely as possible. If a client tells you that they want you to call them once a week make sure that you write it down in your communication plan and then make sure that you actually call them once a week. If you don’t get through, leave a message and make a note in your plan of when you called and if you hear back.

That communication plan could be an important part of your case if you need to prove to a client later that you did everything the way you were supposed to. By showing that you created a communication plan that showcased the ways in which they wanted you to contact them and then showing that you did just that you’re going to have a much better able to say that you did what you were supposed to do and that you have actually fulfilled the tasks that you said you would do.

When you follow this process you may have different methods of communication for the same client or you may have different methods for different members of the client’s team. You may have to reach out to one person via email and then by phone if they don’t respond in a set amount of time. All of these things are going to make it easier for you to complete the tasks that you need to and they’re going to allow you to show the client that you really are trying to keep up with exactly what they expected and wanted from you in this project.

What to Do With Your Plan

Now that you have a plan and you know all of the things that it takes to get it together as well as why it’s important, what are you actually going to do with it? You might actually be surprised just what you’re going to do with it because this plan isn’t just for you and the client. This plan is going to be for everyone that’s involved with the project. Whether they’re working on a small aspect or they’re helping you with something major, they all need to know what’s going on.

Communicate With Your Team

Everyone who is on the team needs to know what the plan is and what their part in it is. They need to know who they should be communicating with and how. They need to know who might be reaching out to them, what information to share, in what ways they can share it and even how to keep you updated so you can make sure that the client is updated regularly. Layout the communication plan with them and you’re going to set yourself up even better to have all of the information that you need when you actually need it.

Keep Yourself on Task

Once you’ve got that plan you need to use it to keep yourself on track and to make sure that you’re doing everything you said you were going to do. If you do then you’re going to find yourself in much better shape with your client. If you don’t you could end up in hot water. In fact, you could end up losing your client or losing the future work that they would have done with you if you’re not careful about sticking to the agreed-upon plan.

When you work with your team and you work with that communication plan you’re setting yourself up to do things the right way. You shouldn’t have to worry about whether you have the information you need when it’s time to share it with the client. Instead, you should be able to reach out to the person or people who are responsible for preparing that information and get it from them. From there, you should be able to communicate it to your client quickly and easily in exactly the way that you had agreed you would.

Remember, if you find that you aren’t actually following the agreed-upon strategy for communication you could bee in trouble later on. Your client may not receive the information that you send them or they may claim that they haven’t received it. If that’s the case you could have trouble proving that you did everything you could to keep the client informed. That could turn out to be a problem when it comes time to turn the project over and definitely when it comes time for you to get paid for the work that you’ve done. You want to be able to show you did things the way you were supposed to.

Changing up the rules is going to make it difficult to show this. On the other hand, if you’ve done everything that you said you would do and that the client agreed they wanted, you’re going to have the upper hand if the client then tries to say they didn’t receive the information that you supplied or that they didn’t like the format of the information that you gave them. You want to be able to refer back to the document and show them that this is the communication method that they requested or agreed to.

If you have that document you could actually set yourself up for success and make sure that you’re in the best possible shape. Not having it or not making sure that it’s complete could have the opposite effect and that’s definitely not something that you want to deal with. Instead, reach out to your client and make sure that you’re setting up a meeting to create the ideal project communication plan. You might even be surprised how much work and hassle it could save you if you end up with a problem client who wants to change their mind about everything.

No matter what you’re planning or what type of project you’re working on, the most important thing is that you absolutely need to lay it out in writing. If possible, get the client to sign it so you have an even better line to prove yourself if you need to later on. The last thing that you want is to find yourself in some type of trouble or not getting paid because the client claims one thing after they told you something else. Your proof is going to be a crucial aspect of the whole thing.

Should You Make it Formal?

You don’t necessarily need to make your communication plan formal. It can be an informal document where you lay out all of the facts and information. But it should absolutely be something that you can understand. If you really want it to be effective make sure that you get a client signature while you’re at it and when you’re done with your communication plan make sure you set up the overall project management portion using gantt charts in your Gantt Chart software. You’re going to love the way that it makes things a whole lot easier for you and your entire team.

If you work with this software to get everything set up and you make sure that you layout who is responsible for everything, when and how you’re going to be far more effective. You’ll also be more than surprised about all of the benefits that come along with using this software for your project. It’s all about making sure you’re on the right track and that your clients can count on you to have everything taken care of in no time at all. Just make sure you set it up and that you’re keeping them in the loop of everything that’s going on. They’ll wish they’d worked with you sooner.

Want to discover more?

Try Instagantt  for free for your remote team
Get started for free