Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Project Communication Management

Project Communication Management


Communication Management is a groups of processes required to ensure timely and appropriate development, collection, dissemination, storage, and ultimately, disposition of project information.


There are following four processes which are part of Project Communication Management.

  • Communications Planning

  • Information Distribution

  • Performance Reporting

  • Manage Stakeholders

Communications Planning

Determining the information and communications needs of the stakeholders. It includes to identify the following:

  • Who needs what information

  • When they will need it

  • How it will be given to them

Communications Planning process is a part of "Project Planning Phase".

(1) Communications Planning - Inputs

(1.1) Enterprise Environmental Factors

(1.2) Organizational Process Assets

(1.3) Project Scope Statement: The project scope statement provides a documented basis for future project decisions and for confirming a common knowledge of project scope among the stakeholders. Stakeholder analysis is completed as part of the Scope Definition process.

(1.4) Project Management Plan: The project management plan provides background information about the project, including dates and constraints that may be relevant to Communications Planning.

  • Constraints: Factors that limit project team's options. Examples of constraints include team members situated in different geographic locations, incompatible communication software versions, or limited communications technical capabilities.

  • Assumptions : Specific assumptions that affect Communications Planning will depend upon the particular project..

(2) Communications Planning - Tools & Techniques

(2.1) Communications Requirements Analysis : The analysis of the communications requirements results in the sum of the information needs of the project stakeholders. The project manager should consider the number of potential communication channels or paths as an indicator of the complexity of a project's communications.

The total number of communication channels is n(n-1)/2, where n = number of stakeholders. Thus, a project with 10 stakeholders has 45 potential communication channels.

(2.2) Communications Technology: The methodologies used to transfer information among project stakeholders can vary significantly. Communications technology factors that can affect the project include:

  • The urgency of the need for information

  • The availability of technology

  • The expected project staffing

  • The length of the project

  • The project environment

(3) Communications Planning - Output

(3.1) Communication management plan:The communications management plan can also include guidelines for project status meetings, project team meetings, e-meetings, and e-mail. It provides following

  • Stakeholder communication requirements

  • Person or groups who will receive the information

  • Methods or technologies used to convey the information, such as memoranda, e-mail, and/or press releases

  • Frequency of the communication, such as weekly

  • Collection and filing structure: Methods used to gather, update, and store various types of information.

  • Distribution structure : Specifies to whom information will flow and what method will be used to distribute various types of information.

  • Description of information to be distributed: Includes format, content, level of detail, and conventions and definitions to be used.

  • Production schedules : It shows when each type of communication will be produced.

  • Methods for accessing information between scheduled communications.

  • Updation Method: A method for updating and refining the communications management plan as the project progresses and develops.

Information Distribution

Information distribution is making needed information available to project stakeholders in a timely manner.

This is implementation of the communications management plan.

Information Distribution process is a part of "Project execution Phase".

(1) Information Distribution - Input

(1.1) Communications Management Plan

(2) Information Distribution - Tools & Technology

(2.1) Communications skills: Skills for exchanging information.

Communication has many dimensions:

  • Written, oral, listening, and speaking

  • Internal and external communication

  • Formal reports, briefings and informal memos, ad hoc conversations

  • Vertically, up an down the organization, and horizontally, with peers.

(2.2) Information Gathering and Retrieval Systems : Manual filing systems, databases, project management software.

(2.3) Information-distribution systems : Methods such as project meetings, hard-copy document distribution, shared access to project databases, fax, electronic mail, voice mail, and video conferencing.

(2.4) Lessons Learned Process: Project managers have a professional obligation to conduct lessons learned sessions for all projects with key internal and external stakeholders, particularly if the project yielded less than desirable results.

(3) Information Distribution - Outputs

(3.1) Organizational Process Assets updates: It includes following:

  • Lessons learned documentation.: Documentation includes the causes of issues, reasoning behind the corrective action chosen, and other types of lessons learned about Information Distribution.

  • Project records : Organized storage and maintenance of correspondence, memos, reports, and documents describing the project.

  • Project reports : Formal reports showing status or issues.

  • Project presentations : Information provided to the project stakeholders as required.

  • Feedback from stakeholders: Information received from stakeholders concerning project operations can be distributed and used to modify or improve future performance of the project.

  • Stakeholder notifications: Information may be provided to stakeholders about resolved issues, approved changes, and general project status.

(3.2) Requested Changes: Changes to the Information Distribution process should trigger changes to the project management plan and the communications management plan.

Performance Reporting

Collecting and disseminating performance information. Keep stakeholders informed how resources are used on the project.

Performance Reporting includes

  • Status reporting, progress measurement, and forecasting.

  • Provides information on scope, schedule, cost, and quality, and possibly on risk and procurement.

Performance Reporting process is a part of "Project Controlling Phase".

(1) Performance Reporting - Input

(1.1) Work Performance Information: Work performance information on the completion status of the deliverables and what has been accomplished is collected as part of project execution, and is fed into the Performance Reporting process.

(1.2) Performance Measurements

(1.3) Forecasted Completion

(1.4) Quality Control Measurements

(1.5) Project Management Plan: The project management plan provides baseline information.

(1.6) Approved Change Requests: Approved change requests (Section are requested changes to expand or contract project scope, to modify the estimated cost, or to revise activity duration estimates that have been approved and are ready for implementation by the project team.

(1.7) Deliverables: Deliverables are any unique and verifiable product, result, or capability to perform a service that must be produced to complete a process, phase, or project.

(2) Performance Reporting - Tools & Techniques

(2.1) Information Presentation Tools: Software packages that include table reporting, spreadsheet analysis, presentations,
or graphic capabilities can be used to create presentation-quality images of project performance data.

(2.2) Performance Information Gathering and Compilation

(2.3) Status Review Meetings: Status review meetings are regularly scheduled events to exchange information about the project.

(2.4) Time Reporting Systems: Time reporting systems record and provide time expended for the project.

(2.5) Cost Reporting Systems: Cost reporting systems record and provide the cost expended for the project.

(3) Performance Reporting - Outputs

(3.1) Performance report : Organizes and summarizes the information gathered and presents the results.

(3.2) Forecasts: Forecasts are updated and reissued based on work performance information provided as the project is executed.

(3.3) Requested Changes: Requests for changes to some aspect of the project. Handled by the change control processes.

(3.4) Recommended Corrective Actions

(3.5) Organizational Process Assets updates: Lessons learned documentation includes the causes of issues, reasoning behind the
corrective action chosen, and other types of lessons learned about performance reporting.

Manage Stakeholders

Stakeholder management refers to managing communications to satisfy the needs of, and resolve issues with, project stakeholders. The project manager is usually responsible for stakeholder management.

Manage Stakeholders process is a part of "Project Controlling Phase".

(1) Manage Stakeholders - Inputs

(1.1) Communications Management Plan: Stakeholder requirements and expectations provide an understanding of stakeholder
goals, objectives, and level of communication during the project. The needs and expectations are identified, analyzed, and documented in the communications management plan

(1.2) Organizational Process Assets: As project issues arise, the project manager should address and resolve them with
the appropriate project stakeholders.

(2) Manage Stakeholders - Tools & Techniques

(2.1) Communications Methods: The methods of communications identified for each stakeholder in the communications management plan are utilized during stakeholder management. Face-to-face meetings are the most effective means for communicating and resolving issues with stakeholders. When face-to-face meetings are not warranted or practical then telephone calls, electronic mail, and other electronic tools are useful for exchanging information and dialoguing.

(2.2) Issue Logs: An issue is clarified and stated in a way that it can be resolved. An owner is assigned and a target date is usually established for closure. Unresolved issues can be a major source of conflict and project delays.

(3) Manage Stakeholders - Outputs

(3.1) Resolved Issues: As stakeholder requirements are identified and resolved, the issues log will document concerns that have been addressed and closed.

(3.2) Approved Change Requests: Approved change requests include stakeholder issue status changes in the staffing management plan, which are necessary to reflect changes to how communications with stakeholders will occur.

(3.3) Approved Corrective Actions: Approved corrective actions include changes that bring the expected future performance of the project in line with the project management plan.

(3.4) Organizational Process Assets updates

(3.5) Project Management Plan updates: The project management plan is updated to reflect the changes made to the communications plan.

Last Moment Revision:

  • Active Listening: The receiver confirms that she is listening, confirms agreement and asks for clarification if required,

  • Administrative Closure: Generating, gathering, and disseminating information to formalize phase or project completion.

  • Channels of communication:

    • Upward communication (vertically or diagonally): For higher management

    • Downward communication (vertically or diagonally): For higher management

    • Lateral communication (horizontally): For peers

  • Communications Planning: Determining the information and communications needs of the project stakeholders. This includes who needs it, when they will need it, and how it will be given to them.

  • Information Distribution: Making needed information available to project stakeholders in a timely manner.

  • Communication Blockers:

    • Noise

    • Distance

    • Improper encoding of messages

    • Saying "that is a bad idea"

    • Hostility

    • Language

    • Culture

  • Communication Methods:

    • Formal Verbal: Presentation, speeches.

    • Informal Verbal: Meetings, Conversations

    • Non-Verbal: Encoding a message without using words. Usually done through body language. Total Message Impact = Words (7%) + Vocal tones (38%) + Facial expressions (55%)

    • Formal Written: Project Plan, Project charter, Specifications

    • Informal Written: Memos, Email, Notes.

  • Effective Listening: Watching the speaker to pick up physical gestures and facial expressions, thinking about what you want to say before responding, asking questions, repeating and providing feedback.

  • Filtering : A phenomenon that occurs when a large portion of the message is lost in vertical/horizontal communication.

  • Noise: Anything that interferes with the transmission and understanding of the message (e.g., distance).

  • Paralingual: means the pitch and tone of your voice. This also helps to convey a message.

  • Memos, emails are examples of non-formal communication.

  • Reports, Metrics are example of formal communication.

  • Approximately 70-90% of project manager's time is spend communicating.

  • PM's spend ~50% of their time in meetings.

  • Three basic elements of interpersonal communication:

    • The sender (or encoder) of the message.

    • The signal or the message.

    • The receiver (or decoder) of the message.

  • Number of communication channel will be calculated using formula n*(n-1)/2 where n is the number of people involved in the communication. So if there are ten stakeholders in a project, there are 10*9/2 = 45 channels of communication.


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