Getting communication right when running a project is a tricky business. It’s more than just pushing out the occasional project update. You need to think about everything from how you’ll communicate to your team, the way you will report to your steering committee, how you will keep your wider stakeholders informed, and how you will deal with feedback from all of those different groups of people.
Here are 9 things you should think about when you start developing a communications plan:
Know your environment
Before you can build an effective communications plan, you need to understand the environment you’re working in. A military base will need a completely different communications approach to a building company.
Understand the different groups you’re trying to reach
Think about the different groups of people who will need and/or want information from you. Using a stakeholder matrix is a great way to do that. You will be communicating with them regularly during the project so you need to make sure you understand how and when they like to receive information. There is no point sending your PMO your status report on a Wednesday if they have to submit their report on a Tuesday.
What do you want to achieve?
You need to be really clear about what you want to achieve. This will help you focus on creating the right sort of communications. So if you want to get a particular group of customers to enter a competition, your approach would be very different to the way you approach your steering committee.
How are you going to communicate?
You need to think about how you are going to communicate a wide variety of information. From detailed project status updates, requests for the project team to update information to updates to external stakeholders. Using the work you did on the stakeholder matrix, you’ll be able to focus on presenting the information in the format most preferred by each group.
Stick to the plan
That always sounds really easy but when you’re under the pump it can be difficult. Keeping the message consistent is really important, as you don’t want to give people irrelevant information
Work with the corporate communications team (if they are available)
If your organisation has a corporate communications team, make sure you work with them. Not only will they be able to help you craft your messages, they are likely to have templates and other tools that will make your job much easier. If you’re really lucky they will assign someone to do the work for you.
Monitor and measure your communications
Make sure you set up metrics and ways to measure the effectiveness of the plan before you start. Once the plan is up and running, monitor and measure the results regularly to make sure it’s doing its job. If the results are not what you are looking for, you can easily tweak the plan.
Be open to feedback
It’s not nice to hear negative things about what we produce. If you do receive negative feedback, use it to improve for the next round of communication.
Use tools to support you
There are loads of tools out there that you can use to make communication easier. Take full advantage of this, as it will make your job a heck of a lot easier and it will also help you monitor and measure the effectiveness of your communications.
Psoda is cloud-based PPM software designed by project professionals for project professionals. So whether you’re sitting in a meeting room or are out on a client site, you can give real-time updates on the status of your projects. To find out for yourself how Psoda can help you communicate effectively, try it for free with a 30 day trial – click on the trial button at the top right hand corner to register.