Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Executing Projects/Communication Management/Project information distribution
Project management demands a free flow of communication with and among project team members, and internal and external project stakeholders. The project team needs frequent information from each of its team members to complete and improve the project and to understand the needs and expectations of the project's beneficiaries. Project Communication management is the systematic planning, implementing, monitoring, and revision of the exchnage of information amongst the project team and the project stakeholders . Project communication management aims at timely and appropriate generation, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimate disposition of project information and knowledge. Communication among all project stakeholders is one of the main factors for the project success. It is a prerequisite of getting the things done in the right way and in the right time. Knowledge is power: sharing knowledge is reciprocal empowering amongst project stakeholders.
A good Project Plan has, in the methodology section, a sub-section dealing with communication management. A good project implementation plan always contains a communication plan; in any case it is important to plan communication at an early phase of project execution. The communication plan describes how the information and communication needs of project stakeholders will be met: a communication manager will design, and implement such a plan; thereafter s/he will evaluate how efficient and efficacious communication has been as a support activity facilitating all other project tasks. Never underestimate communication in project management. Communicate well, and the project will succeed. Communicate poorly, and even the most efficient efforts may be misperceived, misunderstood and poorly valued. In the project execution phase, communication management is the implementation of the plan and involves essentially two processes: preparing (producing) and sharing (distributing) information.
While executing the plan, the Project Manager must be aware of how the organization will use the information, and whether the plan is effective. He/she must be flexible and ready to modify the plan if portions of it are not working as expected or communications needs change within the Performing Organization. Of the many mechanisms available to the Project Manager, status reporting is particularly useful for communicating the performance of a project.
In order to prepare and distribute properly the right information to the right stakeholders, the communication manager needs to: Analyse the communication needs of each stakeholders Identify the information for fulfilling the information needs of each stakeholder Identify the Method and the Effort Required Prioritise the Communication Options Information Distribution includes Project performance reporting, but is not limited to that: it entails also all tasks required to satisfy the information needs of all project stakeholders.
Types of Project Communication
- Internal communicating within the project team
- External communication with upper management, beneficiaries, and external players
- Close-out reporting
As a project progresses, events may occur to alter the way information is accessed or change communications requirements. During Project Execution, the Project Manager and Project Team must again review whether the Communications plan is still current and applicable to the present phase of the project. In addition to having a solid Communications Plan in place, it is the responsibility of members of the Project Team to exercise good communication skill . Communication skill is critical to keeping your stakeholders informed, supportive. Smart planning and consistent information delivery keeps your project on track and helps avoid confusion. When composing correspondence, progress reports, meeting minutes, etc., and when speaking with individuals face to face, the team members are responsible for clear, unambiguous, and complete communication of information. The receiver, in turn, must be sure information is not only received correctly and completely, but that it is understood. During Project Execution, the Project Manager, Project Team, and Stakeholders will share information using a variety of communication mechanisms. See Tasks, tools and elements of communication management In the structure of the project, communication management is considered one of the facilitating processes (along with quality planning, staff acquisition, risk response planning, procurement planning, solicitation planning). "Facilitating" does not mean unessential or optional: it only means that it is a process that varies in the sequence, is performed in parallel with other activities, have a two-way feedback loop with many core processes. (core processes of project management instead are performed sequentially and are divided into three main phases, i.e. project planning, project execution, project closure).
Reporting project status
While executing the plan, the Project Manager must be aware of how the organization will use the information, and whether the plan is effective. HS/he must be flexible and ready to modify the plan if portions of it are not working as expected or communications needs change within the Performing Organization. Of the many mechanisms available to the Project Manager, Status reporting is particularly useful for communicating the performance of a project.
During the meeting the Project Manager should review the Project Schedule with the team and verify with each member the work that needs to be accomplished in upcoming weeks. Part of the meeting should focus on the team’s Progress Reports, to verify estimates to complete tasks and to discuss issues that may impact estimates. The Project Manager can then use information communicated during the Project Team meetings as input to the Status Report.
The regularly-scheduled Project Team meeting is also a good forum to recognize individual accomplishments, and to reward team members for outstanding work.
As a project progresses, events may occur to alter the way information is accessed or change communications requirements. During Project Execution, the Project Manager and Project Team must again review whether the Communications plan is still current and applicable to the present phase of the project.