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The Value of a Communication Plan for IT Initiatives

Communication plans for an IT project might come off as overkill, or even remind you of a nagging parent’s chore chart. In fact, the two organizational methods do have something in common: they tackle and alleviate misalignment. However, unlike helicopter parents, a strong IT project communication plan empowers workers and frees up their time. In an age where 1 in 5 projects are unsuccessful due to ineffective communication, taking the time to plan out and manage communication is crucial.

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A successful communication plan ensures that:

  • expectations are aligned across the organization;
  • project managers have the information they need to guide the project; and
  • purposeless meetings are eliminated so that everyone’s time is optimized.

To get started with your Project Management Communication Plan—and increase the chance of project success—make sure you’re prepared to perform the following 6 tasks.

Align Expectations

Task 1: Define the level of involvement of key stakeholders. Too much involvement from certain project stakeholders or sponsors can lead to scope creep and wasted time. Too little involvement can put projects at risk. Defining the level of effective involvement ensures that stakeholders are performing the role they are needed to.

Task 2: Complete a stakeholder analysis to tailor communication to the needs of each stakeholder. When key stakeholders are adequately informed, they will be able to contribute to the project effectively.

Inform Project Managers

Task 3: Set the communication mode for each recurring exchange. Given the diversity of teams (geographically, organizationally, and culturally), different groups will be most effective with a communication mode suited to their needs.

Task 4: Define project health metrics and verbiage. Project Managers will have clear insight to project health if metrics and verbiage are defined and not based on gut-feelings.

Optimize Time

Task 5: Standardize reporting modes. Only standardized processes can be optimized! Standardized reporting will ensure that workers are not spending any more time on status updates than absolutely necessary, and that PMs or executives are not spending any time adjusting and interpreting inconsistent formats.

Task 6: Define the purpose and agenda of scheduled meetings. This makes it simple to eliminate meetings that do not add value. When the agenda is defined, meetings are more likely to stay on topic and within the set timeframe. Resist scope creep within each meeting!

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Empower your team, minimize pointless meetings, stay informed, and align with stakeholders with a sound project communication plan.

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