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How to Draft a Stakeholder Communication Plan

how-to-draft-a-stakeholder-communication-planThe truth is that there are quite a lot of things that you would need to take into account when you manage a project. Even though a stakeholder communication plan isn’t always necessary, for long-term and heavy projects you are most certainly going to need to have one. With this in mind, we would like to go through a few things that you might want to take into account in order to be able to create one from scratch which meets the expectations of the stakeholder and fulfills its overall requirements and expectations. Let’s go right ahead and take a look.

Identify the need for communication

This is rather obvious but it’s particularly important. Your client and all of the stakeholders need to be well aware of the fact that you are incredibly concerned with their critical opinion and that breeds the need for transparency and communication. Upon doing so you are instantly gaining their trust and that’s generally one of the most important things that you would have to do in the first stages of the project. Read the Complete Article

Essential Communication Processes for Effective Project Management

Essential Communication Processes for Effective Project Management
By Ben Snyder, CEO of Systemation

Effective communication is one of the most important components of project management. Project managers need to communicate regularly with stakeholders and the project team to ensure the all the project goals are achieved on time and on budget.

View our infographic to see the importance of communication in project management, as well as what processes PMs must take to ensure smooth project completion.

Infographic: Communication Processes for Effective Project Management

Figure 1: Infographic: Communication Processes for Effective Project Management

Ben Snyder is the CEO of Systemation, (, a project management, business analysis, and agile development training and consulting company that has been training professionals since 1959. Systemation is a results-driven training and consulting company that maximizes the project-related performance of individuals and organizations. Known for instilling highly practical, immediately usable processes and techniques, Systemation has proven to be an innovative agent of business transformation for many government entities and Fortune 2000 companies, including Verizon Wireless, Barclays Bank, Mattel, The Travelers Companies, Bridgestone, Amgen, Wellpoint and Whirlpool. Read the Complete Article

Project Management – Communicating Successfully

Project Management – Communicating Successfully
By Mandy McGill, Northwest University

When it comes to communicating effectively on the project, the project manager must keep in mind that communication needs to be ongoing and include all people in the project. Some analysis needs to be done before the project begins, as well as some processes put into place to ensure constant communication. First, take a look at the organizational process assets. Does the organization already have a system in place for communicating, such as internal email or daily stand ups (quick meetings where people can update). If you haven’t worked for the company in the past, talk with some of your team members to see if they have any lessons learned they can share.

One way to determine all of the different communication channels is to use the equation n(n-1)/2. For example; Susan, Joe and Samantha are all on a sub team. Read the Complete Article

Project Sponsor Pre-Meeting Checklist

Project Sponsor Pre-Meeting Checklist
By Zenkara

It’s always a good idea to come prepared to meetings with project sponsors – particularly if you’ve got bad news. The important thing is to spring no surprises.

  • What is the objective of the meeting?
  • What outcome do you want? Agreement, consensus, awareness?
  • What percentage of the project has been achieved versus planned?
  • What are the top 4 points you want to get across during the update?
  • What is worrying the sponsor right now? (if you don’t know this, you better find out ASAP)
  • What are you doing about their concerns? What have you done about it? (simply saying “in the process of …” or “we’re looking at it…” is a really poor explanation)
  • What is going well on the project? – always start the meeting with some good news and end the meeting with some good news
  • What is a problem right now? Technical, money, people, politics, suppliers
  • What can be done?
Read the Complete Article

Basic Project Management Steps: Clarity, Collaboration and Cognition

Basic Project Management Steps: Clarity, Collaboration and Cognition
By Clare Munn

We all know managing projects is really about managing personalities and communication. We also all know styles of personalities are as complicated as different learning styles and as bizarre as various communication styles. Therefore, the approach my company takes is to create some effortless structure; throw in some basic applications and then wrap it with rules that anyone can understand. Once this is in place, we have seen the various personalities (mine included) become less ‘different’ and less of a hindrance on the project, completing it on time and on budget.

There are seven titles here, and even if you don’t have time to read the entire blog, if you simply make sure the seven titles are addressed, you’ll be on the way to a successful outcome.

1. Scope Clarification

  • Make sure the scope of the project is clearly defined in one document called: Internal project scope for ABC Co.
Read the Complete Article

Communication and Collaboration in Project Management – Communication Planning

Communication and Collaboration in Project Management – Communication Planning (#33 in the Hut Introduction to Project Management)
By JISC infoNet

During the project start up and initiation phases consideration should be given to communication and information flow needs. By conducting a communication needs analysis you will be able to prepare a communication plan as a subsidiary to the main project plan. The plan will reflect the specific needs and complexity of the project and therefore may be formal or informal, highly detailed or broadly structured. As with all other planning documents prepared at the start of the project, the communication plan is a live document and should be subject to regular review and revised when necessary to ensure that it continues to meet the needs of the project and its stakeholders.

How communication is planned and managed will inevitably be influenced by the broader organisational structure and existing communication channels. Read the Complete Article

Project Communications Across Time Zones

Project Communications Across Time Zones
By Francis Norman

One of the most readily apparent challenges facing the development of a communications plan for any international project is determining the best way for the project to communicate across time zones. This is a problem which changes in complexity and impact as the time zones spread out, but, regardless of the distance and difference, it is one which can have very a serious impact on the way the project is managed and communications performed.

  • With only one or two hours between locations the time zones issue barely exists, telephone calls can be made with little consideration for the time at the other location and meetings scheduled with relative impunity, but as the hours increase the problem progressively worsens.
  • Three and four hours difference can start to really bite into the project’s ability to have a conventionally structured communications plan typical of a collocated project, since morning in one location is the afternoon at the other, but at least there is sufficient overlap for both parties to be able to talk by phone or video for four to six hours a day, however, consideration for the time at each location is necessary so that one party or the other does not have constant early mornings or late evenings to accommodate the scheduling from the other location.

Read the Complete Article

Project Communication Plan

Project Communication Plan
By Michael D. Taylor

Before a new project is authorized there needs to be a plan for disseminating project information between all who are involved. This is especially needed between the assigned project manager and the key stakeholders to whom the project manager reports. Below is a simplified example of what the communication plan may entail.

Stakeholder Information Needed Frequency Medium
Sponsor High-level cost, schedule, quality, performance, major problems and planned solutions Monthly Meeting and brief summary report
Customer/Marketing High-level cost, schedule, quality, performance, major problems and planned solutions Monthly Meeting and brief summary report
Functional Managers Major problems and planned solutions, personnel performance Bi-weekly E-mail
Finance Project cost reports Monthly E-mail
Project Manager Weekly status reports from team leaders Weekly E-mail and weekly status meetings

MICHAEL D. TAYLOR, M.S. in systems management, B.S. in electrical engineering, has more than 30 years of project, outsourcing, and engineering experience. Read the Complete Article

Improving Project Management Performance – Job Huddles

Improving Project Management Performance – Job Huddles
By Dave Nielsen

Of all the forms of meetings in the project plan, perhaps the biggest bang for your buck is the job huddle. The job huddle should be used as a tool to bring a project back on track, or to prevent it from going off track when it’s trending in that direction. If all facets of your project are on schedule and on budget, don’t waste time holding them — they’ll just be viewed as punishment for meeting the goals you set for the team (“the beatings will continue until morale improves … “).

Job huddles are informal meetings held for the purpose of reviewing progress for the previous period’s work and identifying any issues or problems that are blocking progress. They originated with football huddles — when the team on offense forms a circle and the next play is discussed with the team, with the quarterback leading the discussion. Read the Complete Article

Communication in Project Management – When to Communicate

Communication in Project Management – When to Communicate
By Thomas Cutting

Rarely do you hear a project sponsor say, “There is way too much communication going on here.” Unfortunately a common complaint is the lack of communication. True, the loudest complainers are often those that opted out of the weekly status meetings and never responded to your emails. You are left wondering when it is appropriate to connect with them.

When to Speak Up

This weekend I was listening to The Tech Guy on a local radio show. Google is piloting a new gmail feature that checks your sobriety before letting you hit the send button. You have a minute to answer math questions correctly to proceed. Evidently too many drunks were waking up in the morning with a hangover and some explaining to do. For the record, late night may not be the best time to send an email. Sleep impaired judgment can make the worst email look like Shakespeare. Read the Complete Article

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