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The Importance of Project Communication Planning and Strategies for Effective Communication with Project Stakeholders
Communication is the key to every aspect of life. Whether it is the personal domain or the professional field, underestimating communication comes with a cost. When communication is disrupted, expensive, time-consuming, and even dangerous mistakes become commonplace. For instance, NASA found out that one of their teams was using the imperial measurement system and the other was using the metric system for a project. The error caused NASA to lose USD 125 million Mars orbiter after a 286-day journey to the Red Planet. Thus, whether it is a startup or a behemoth like NASA, the indispensability of communication never fades.
Project Communication Plan: A Crisp Definition
In simple words, we can understand project communication planning as an outline of how important information will be relayed and disseminated throughout a project, who will be the key communications, and when will the relevant information be shared. The premise of the communication plan should be to bring value to everyone involved in the project, from stakeholders to project managers, managers, and more.
A project communication plan should cover the following aspects −
When − For instance, we will communicate with the client every Wednesday at 10 am
How − We will communicate via Zoom Calls and the link will be shared in advance
Who − The creative team working on the project and the stakeholders on the client’s side will be involved
What − The meetings will be to gauge the progress of the creative aspect of the project and for the client to raise potential questions or issue
Importance of Project Communication Plan
In today’s day and age, project communication is crucial, as it guarantees that the project stays on track, on time, and on budget. Besides, a stellar project communication plan also ensures that all stakeholders are aware of the project’s progress, thereby bolstering client satisfaction. In the absence of an effective communication plan, problems and issues can become rampant.
For instance, poor communication can culminate in issues, such as decreased productivity and even financial loss for the enterprise. But, once there is a communication plan in place, a lot of the baseline problems are attenuated. Besides, the same plan can be tweaked and used in the future, as well. Furthermore, without sufficient project communication planning, it is almost impossible to keep all responsible parties updated on the changing status of the project.
There is a lack of transparency, which eventually leads to inefficient and counterproductive decisions that hinder the aim of the project in question. With a robust project communication strategy, it is easy to maintain transparency across all facets of the project to ensure that the best decisions are made that will translate into the efficient delivery of the project.
Now that we know what project communication planning is and why it is important, let us dovetail into some of the effective strategies.
Top Six Tips to Strategize the Perfect Project Communication Plan
Choose a Project Management Platform
The first in creating an excellent project communication plan is to invite your enterprise’s internal project team along with the clients to work together on a specific platform. A project management platform will ensure that all project-related communication is centralized. Thus, everyone will know exactly where to go for the latest information.
Decide the ‘How’ and ‘When’ of Communication
The second step in devising a plan for effective communication with stakeholders is to decide how and when you will relay the required information. There exists a plethora of ways to communicate about a project. From video calls to phone calls and in-person meetings, the options are many. You can also leverage emails and other tools.
Moreover, it is noteworthy to remember that you should not feel restricted to just one method of communication. In fact, an amalgamation of communication types can be all the more helpful. For instance, you could start the project with a meeting, and then relay the ensuing information via calls or emails for daily communication.
To ensure that your project is progressing at the right speed, and everyone involved, including the client stakeholders, is aware of the nitty-gritty, it is crucial to delegate duties in a preemptive fashion. To begin with, assigning tasks to the team members is an excellent and foolproof way to streamline things. When everyone knows what to do next, the burden of managing the workload becomes lighter.
Define Point of Contacts (POCs)
The fourth tip to strategize an excellent project communication plan includes defining the point of contact. Knowing how and when the information will be received is essential, but it is also equally important to know ‘who’ is going to be at the frontline of delivering the message. Defining point of contact makes responsibilities clear and lucid for internal teams, while also informing clients who their main primary POC will be during the entire duration of the project.
Consensus on Tools
As the project communication plan begins to take shape, it is essential to get buy-in from everyone involved. For instance, if you have decided that everyone in the project is going to use a project management platform, and some only use email communication, then the culmination could be a kind of contention or communication breakdown. Thus, it is essential to have a general consensus on the tools that will be used for communication, so that the information channel is maintained seamlessly.
Create and Share a Routine
Last but not least, an integral step of creating a communication plan for effective to-and-fro with client stakeholders is devising a schedule that can be shared with everyone working on the project. The schedule can include elements like expected delivery dates, who is assigned with the task, when the next meeting will be, and so forth.
Wrapping It Up
So, there we have it, a crisp overview of the importance of a project communication plan, and tips and tricks to strategize the best plan for seamless communication with client stakeholders.
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