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Do not underestimate communication while preparing project plan

Project management consists of many elements and have many linkages with various other processes, starting from: requirements engineering, budget and benefit planning, delivery planning, communication, stakeholder management, development and implementation, testing, risk and dependency management, etc. And most of the time communication is left out as a last one with the very little amount of time blocked through the project implementation period.

Proper project communication is possible, if project manager has build the skillset for it.

Communication as an area of expertise is very wide and used in every step of the way in project management. One of important skills for every project manager is actually being able to build a proper communication strategies with action plan used to communicate with the team, stakeholders, project owners, vendors, organization leadership, etc.

Time planned to be spend on project communication is underestimated often.

If you would deep dive into the project documentation, you would find very little information about communication with except of the plan itself and the training plan that kind of anyway refers to the communication as well. But these areas are not always thorougly covering everything that actually should be covered.

Communication is used across many project management functions.

When we talk about project management, good communication is a tool to deal with all different situations and action plan should be prepared accordingly:

  • Stakeholder management - here key is understanding stakeholder needs and planning the time for all the possible conversations like: discussing of the project status, issues, progress, negotiations about the scope, etc.

  • Project team management where the difficult part is that project manager needs to find the way how to make the team, which is made from group of people that are not direct subordinates, work and reach the common goal. If project manager has not prepared and planned a good communication strategy, how he can communicate what is important to the team and likewise hear what is important to every team member.

  • Escalation management fails if the message and the ask for help is not communicated clearly and not to the right people. Therefore it is important that there is a clear list of people ready while planning communication strategies, who needs to be informed if project struggles.

  • Change management is important when project includes people needing to transform their behaviors. If project impacts any group of people (which is 99% of a time), it is super important that project manager has well though through action plan, how he will encourage people to change their patterns of their behavior, how he will deal with dissatisfaction, when and how he will collect the feedback etc. If this is not performed properly, project will be considered as not successful, even though solution is implemented on time.

All these things are directly linked to communication, but when you look to the project plan you will normally see a very tiny entry for this specific activity and not much of time planned for that.

Final thoughts

If project manager wants to succeed with the project delivery, he must plan proper actions for the communication with stakeholders, decision makers, team members, people being impacted, otherwise project may fail without it.


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