Communication Management for Projects
- Project Management

Communication Management for Projects

As project managers, we tend to place tremendous attention, and rightfully so, on the triple constraint (scope, schedule, and budget,) which is understandable since project management places great importance on these three components. However, it does not mean that the other parts of the project are unimportant, such as stakeholders, risks, and communication. On the contrary, the latter is key in all projects for obvious reasons. The problem, however, is that we assume that since we have regular meetings, issue meeting minutes, and talk periodically to our key stakeholders, we believe that the communication part is more than satisfactory. But efficient and effective communication needs to include project artifacts that are thorough and exact, such as reports.

Communication Management for Projects

Several types of reports are essential to effective communication, and a written record for archiving and lessons learned. Some common reports include status reports, progress reports, and all-inclusive time-based (monthly, quarterly, yearly) reports. These reports provide a detailed account of the tasks, milestones, achievements, budget, schedule, and other information needed to gauge the project’s progress over a certain period.

Project Communication Management Tools and Techniques

The stakeholders’ needs and expectations will dictate the type of report needed and the information provided. However, at a minimum, project reports need to include the following:

  • Tasks completed
  • Budget status
  • Schedule status
  • Risks
  • Milestones and achievements reached
  • Look ahead

From the list above, it is safe to say that the reports we prepare need to be concise but provide the information needed to gauge progress, identify any concerns (i.e., risks) early, and identify what needs to be accomplished in the future. Also, these reports serve as a basis to justify the work effort and funds spent on the project to date and to determine whether the budget will stay on track in the foreseeable future. In addition, project reports, as noted earlier, can be used as lessons learned exercises to determine the following:

  1. If the scope was sufficiently clear and addressed,
  2. if the schedule and budget were correctly calculated,
  3. if any new risks were identified and how they were addressed, and
  4. if the reporting effort satisfied the needs and expectations of those who read and use them. In other words, project reports are a great schedule marker across the project lifecycle.

Project Communication Management Process

Finally, since reports are one of the outputs of communications management, they can also exemplify the level of effectiveness of this part of project management, which is a good way to evaluate its efficiency. Also, since communication is most closely linked with stakeholder engagement and management, a good ancillary plan of this type will increase the chances of adequately engaging the project sponsor or sponsors, project team, and other interested parties. Therefore, each project report’s content and extent must address the stakeholders’ concerns, expectations, and motivating factors. To that end, project reports and any other part of the project plan need to be living documents that can be altered, expanded, or issued more frequently to meet stakeholder requirements.

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