two people talking and pointing at a plan
Project Management

How to Write a Project Communication Plan

Hey there, future project managers! By this point, you got your project scope nailed down, a vision for the project, and a list of stakeholders ready to start. But before you jump straight into the deep end, it’s time to set up your Project Communication Plan.

A sweet and effective project communication plan is the golden key in a project manager’s toolkit. It defines your communication objectives for different stakeholders and establishes how you’re going to achieve them. Because trust me buddy, a vague or non-existent communication plan is often the silent killer of many promising projects.

But don’t sweat! We’ll guide you step-by-step on how to construct your watertight project communication plan and dodge those pesky pitfalls.

Why Should You Invest in a Project Communication Plan?

In Eddie Obeng’s enlightening book Putting Strategy to Work, he illustrates how change projects can fail by neglecting stakeholders:

“By leaving out the stakeholders who actually had to change, change themselves, I was simply ignoring the need for gaining buy-in…They did everything they could not to be involved…”

Obeng drives the point home — stakeholder management is one of the three most critical activities for project managers. Neglect it at your peril.

And remember, a project communication plan isn’t worth a nickel if you’ve left it gathering dust on the shelf. You need to put it to work!

Steps to Write a Swift and Strategic Project Communication Plan

Your project communication plan lays down how your project team will bond with the stakeholders. And importantly, it should explain the objective of communication, such as commitment, involvement, understanding, awareness etc., and the most suitable way to engage a specific stakeholder group.

Here are the two central elements to consider:

1. Who sends what information, and to whom?

Lay out a table to detail where information is flowing, i.e., who is sending it, what it is and who is receiving it.

Having clarity here is pivotal to prevent any misunderstandings or lapses in communication during the project development process.

2. Which type of communication should you use and when?

Create a comprehensive list detailing what type of communication is best suited and when it should be conveyed. For instance, there might be occasions where an email is adequate, while for others, a more personal approach like a one-on-one meeting might be more fitting.

Remember, it’s not just about ‘what’ and ‘when’, it’s also about the ‘how’. Your communication must be attuned to your stakeholders’ preferences to achieve maximum impact.

Don’t just write your project communication plan and then forget it; put it to work constantly! Review progress regularly, identify any bottlenecks or resistance, and brainstorm solutions to overcome them.

And that’s about it – you’re ready to start your project with a killer communication plan! Keep these pointers in mind, tweak your plan as needed, and you’ll be way ahead of the game. Happy planning!

Max Johnson

Max Johnson is currently a Vice President at a Fortunate 100 company. He has also held multiple leadership positions at two startups previously. When he is not busy working, you can find him surfing at the beach or skiing in the mountains.

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