Role of Communications Management in Project Management
Project communications management essentially entails keeping the right people informed of the right information in a timely manner, ensuring that the all project constituents: the project team, stakeholders and customers, are kept informed of project status on a timely basis. When executed effectively, communications management minimizes any chances for miscommunication. The communications matrix tool is what can be used to maintain this level of communication.
Ongoing communication is the responsibility of each person on the project. Due to the dynamics in project communications and the varying stakeholder needs, requirements, and styles, it is critical that everyone involved in the project understands the importance of communication and its overall affect on the entire project. One way to ensure smooth projects is to consider a stakeholder based approach.
Communications Management Processes
Communications Management includes these four processes:
1. Communications Planning, during which project stakeholder information and communication needs and requirements are determined.
2. Information Distribution, which includes making needed information available to project stakeholders in a timely manner.
3. Performance Reporting, which is comprised of collecting and distributing performance information, such as status reports, progress measurement and forecasting.
4. Managing Stakeholders, which entails managing communications to satisfy project stakeholder requirements and resolving any unresolved issues pertaining to stakeholders.
Timely and successful completion of these processes depend largely on effectively building communication.
Communications Management Plan
The Communications Management Plan is a subsidiary plan of the Project Management Plan and documents the:
- Stakeholder communication needs and requirements
- Information or message to be communicated
- Individual responsible for creating and sending the information
- Project stakeholders and other targeted audiences
- Methods to be used to convey the information, along with the format, frequency and due date
- Method for updating the Communications Management Plan
- Glossary of common terminology.
The article A Sample Communications Plan for the Project Manager provides describes what makes a communication plan.
Communications Management Matrix
The Communications Management Matrix is an easy to create and use document that captures and communicates the results of the Communications Planning process. The matrix resembles a chart of responsibilities and can be as simple or comprehensive as needed.
Creating, Distributing and Maintaining the Communications Management Matrix
The Communications Matrix is created, distributed and maintained in accordance with decisions made during the Communications Planning process. It is recommended that the effectiveness of the matrix be evaluated on a regular basis to ensure that it is continually useful. If the matrix is not adequately communicating the information that it should, to whom it should, in the way it should, and when it should, then changes must be made. When developed and used appropriately, the Communication Management Matrix turns out to be a must-have project management tool.
The article How to Write an Effective Status Report provides additional insight on the importance of effective project communication.