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Communication Planning

Communication Planning

Author: Jeff Carroll

Determine methods and documents that are important to communication planning.

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Source: Image of female project manager, Gantt chart, Creative Commons, Kelly Eddington.

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff. And in this lesson, we'll discuss how to plan out a projects communications. It's the project manager's responsibility to create the communication plan, and to ensure that all communications are clear and timely. Every project needs a strategy to communicate with stakeholders and team members, and to define the detail each group needs.

The project manager will communicate varying levels of project status throughout a project's life cycle. And communication plans cover the rules and routes of this communication. So let's get started.

The first elements of a communication plan are the providers and the recipients of each communication. Key stakeholders in groups on the team should be documented according to the level of communication they will need. Not every group needs the same detail about a project. So break down the communication plans by the groups involved.

Next, the communication plan should document the frequency by which communication should occur. Some communications recur on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. While others occur at the end of phases or gates or after key project dates.

Status reports might be shared with team members on a daily basis, for example. But only with key stakeholders at weekly or monthly meetings. For each group and type of communication, define the methods to use.

There are a wide variety of communication methods, so the project manager should use the tool that helps convey the detail needed in the best manner. Methods, such as reports, meetings, or emails are excellent for information that needs pushed out to groups. While websites, bug reporting software, and project logs work well when information is requested intermittently.

For a consistent communication, each of these methods should use templates to build the communications. And for each type of communication, the plan should also list the individual or group responsible for creating the communication. Some examples of types reported on with each project are status reports, budget schedule, and risks.

Since governance is an important part of a projects success, the communication plan should include rules and channels for ongoing communication with key decision makers. For example, a critical element in project communication is a feedback channel that allows stakeholders methods to contribute opinions during the projects life cycle. By documenting this channel, stakeholders know who to approach about project issues.

Since questions may arise about how issues and project status were discussed, communication logs should be kept. The project manager should set up these logs early in the planning stage. In addition to the communications discussed, meeting agendas and minutes should also be tracked in the log.

It is important that the project manager create a detailed communication plan, and then follow it diligently. Lack of communication is one of the key reasons a project might fail. Communication should be managed, as well as any other project deliverable. And experienced project managers often include details about communication activities in the project schedule.

All right, good job. Now you know how to create a communication plan. You know the elements of the plan, and how the project manager documents those elements. You understand the importance of communication with key decision makers. And you know how critical it is to keep communication records, and manage the communication closely. Thanks. And have a great day.

Terms to Know
Communication Methods

Methods for communicating to various project stakeholders and is used to identify the best methods to use in communicating with stakeholders.

Communication Planning

The process for identifying communication requirements for a project.

Status Reports

Communication reviewing a project's progress at specific points in time over the life of a project.