The major problem of project failure is silence. Failure of communication or communicating wrong information is a major problem for many projects. Fear can be a factor of inadequate communication. (Scott, 2007)
Project communication management has four processes (Schwalbe, 2007 p. 407):
- Communication Planning. Finding out who needs what kind of information. This process produces a communication management plan an instrument that guides project communications. The plan includes both formal and informal communications. Formal communication includes status meeting, weekly meetings, status reports, risk lists, project schedules. Informal communication includes phone calls, emails. A communication matrix can have the following structure:
- Information distribution. Addresses how the information will be available to the stakeholders in a timely basis.
- Performance Reporting. All reporting that has to do with the status of the project, the progress of the tasks and forecasting.
- Managing stakeholders. The project stakeholders need to have reports to know the status of the project, problems and issues in order to resolve them or take appropriate action. Frequent communication starting from the early stages of the project can give the stakeholders a better idea of the project and the benefits. Early communication can help also identify and measure people reaction to the project (either positive or negative) and create a communication strategy and actions to win people’s support. (MindTools ,2009)
|Subject||Communication Type||Author||Audience||Frequency||Due Date|
|Monthly Status report||Hard Copy||PM||Stakeholders||Monthly||First of Month|
The project manager should satisfy each stakeholder expectation for information. The project success relies on satisfying the customer/ sponsor of the project. The expectations management matrix provides a way to document measures of success, priorities, expectations and guidelines to achieve each measure. (Schwalbe, K, 2007. P.421) The expectations management matrix helps the project manager realize what is important for the stakeholder and prepare the relevant reports that will be included in the communications plan.
For India’s 2,3 billion Delhi metro proper communication management helped its project manager Dr. Sreedharan to finish the first 65 km nearly three years ahead of schedule. (PM Network, 2008)
From my experience I know the kind of problems that might emerge if a proper communication plan is not included in a project. Management wants to know the status (cost, time, resources) of the project at frequent intervals. When you know what to expect and you get relevant information you can have, as a manager, a clear picture of what the status, the problems and the resolution of project problems are. Top management hates surprises.
Involve stakeholders in every step to understand their:
This involvement helps the project manager provide relevant information and manage stakeholder expectations.
Working also under a quality management framework, like ISO, helps you guide how to document issues, how to perform changes in the process and how to retain knowledge gained from the execution of the project.
Brad Egeland (2009). The Project Communications Plan. Project Management Tips Available from: http://pmtips.net/project-communications-plan/
MindTools(2009). Stakeholder Analysis. Available from: http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/newPPM_07.htm
PM Network (2008).METRO MIRACLE WORKER. PM Network 22.12: 61-61. ISSN:1040-8754
Scott, Robert.(2007). SILENCE IS DEADLY. Computerworld 41.6 28-28. Schwalbe, K (2007). Information Technology Project Management (5th Edition). Course Technology.