Operational Excellence

How Your Current Project Communication Plan is Failing Your Agency

by Ron Ause, June 29, 2016

As I’ve mentioned before, establishing a project communication plan is the first step towards building a profitable project and ensuring repeatable success. Formalizing your internal processes into a tight, yet adaptable plan equips your project teams with the tools to work efficiently and effectively.

Is your current project communication plan failing your agency? If yes, check out some of the top reasons that might be contributing to this.

Your Plan is Confusing.

Think of it this way:

Your project communication plan is your roadmap to success.

It should be thorough and easy to understand. It should blatantly outline goals and objectives as they pertain to your project. It should outline all materials and resources. And it should account for budgeting. In short, a project plan should detail exactly how your team will communicate. No questions asked.

Not outlining communication tools and methods is a surefire way to crash and burn—especially in our increasingly digitally-dominated age. By selected preferred tools and methods, your team will reduce redundancy and increase productivity.

Below are some possible communication methods to consider:

  • Meeting summaries
  • Status reports
  • Formal presentations
  • Surveys
  • Informal small-group meetings
  • Lunch or happy hour workshops

While newsletters and email blasts are certainly efficient, they aren’t always effective. Consider how many emails you receive per day—and how many of those are unintentionally misread.

We highly recommend utilizing a robust, integrated project management tool to make sure that internal messages are received and tracked. Not only does software keep track of communication, it shows availability and updates schedules, to ensure that project teams are updated in real-time.

It Doesn’t Set Expectations.

Just as important as clarity is setting expectations across your project team. As project manager, it’s essential to set the tone for a project. Setting standards for how, when, and why communication will take place ensures that everyone is on the same page.

A big part of setting expectations is defining roles and their corresponding responsibilities. Here are a few common roles to consider—especially if your current plan is unsuccessful:

  • Project Manager
  • Steering Team
  • Project Lead
  • Project Team Member
  • Project Sponsor

It’s Inconsistent.

One of the most important elements of any communication plan is that it should be recreatable and consistent. From outlining goals and expectations, to ensuring that deliverables are timely, they should accurately inform stakeholders what channels will be used on the project, how stakeholders will be informed of updates and decisions, and your main points of contact.

It Doesn’t Encourage Development.

Not only should it be able to be used throughout a project’s duration, a project communication plan should facilitate growth and improvement across your agency. In addition to serving as the basis for your team to work together, it should enable them to feel comfortable and creative so they work effectively and efficiently.

A communication plan should ensure that your employees optimize their talent—which is why you hired them in the first place, right?

Project Communication Plan Template

About The Author

Ron began a career in the software industry at 13, while working with his father. He's become an expert in job cost and project management for creative teams.

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