37 Simple Communication Plan Examples (+ Free Templates)
One of the most important components of project management is a communication plan. This is a document you can use to give information to your stakeholders equally.
Through the plan, you can inform them of when, why, and how communication will occur. Communication is one of the most effective ways to deal with problems and risks. It’s also a great way to ensure that all tasks are completely done on time.
A successful sample communication plan should identify the stakeholders. It should also contain the information to communicate and method of communication. It shouldn’t leave anything to chance. In such a document, you should include these important elements:
- A short background for your communication plan template.
- The analysis of the stakeholders.
- Objectives that are clearly stated.
- Your strategies for going about the communication.
- Potential risks and issues.
- Your budget.
Communication Plan Examples
Important parts of a communication plan example
A good communication plan template should contain all the important parts. So before you start drafting a template, it’s useful to learn all about them. Usually, you’d take the information you need for the document from these sources:
- the mission statement of your company,
- the communication audit,
- focus groups and membership surveys,
- leadership and committee input,
- Discussions with other departments and staff.
Once you have all the information you need, start on the sample communication plan. You need to perform an audit of research communication. You also have to assess your current communication processes.
You can do these tasks yourself or hire a firm to do it for you. If you choose to do the tasks yourself, you need to learn:
- how each of your staff members communicates with each other,
- what your communication activities should achieve,
- and how effective those activities are.
It’s not that difficult to learn about all these. You need to do some steps in order to get all the information. To do this, you should:
- brainstorm with your communication staff,
- speak to the other departments,
- interview the board and the chief staff executive,
- speak to the communication committee members,
- assess the membership,
- host some focus groups,
- Speak to non-members too.
You should also define all your objectives. To do this, you should already have enough information. Then you can start to establish all the results you want to accomplish. Some examples of objectives are:
- superior service to the members of the organization,
- the loyalty of your members,
- centralization of communication efforts,
- enhanced teamwork of the employees,
- improved delivery processes of products,
- visibility for the industry you represent,
- Influence on consumers, media, and similar audiences.
Speaking of audiences, you must define them too. This is an important part of your communication plan template. When making a crisis communication plan template, make a comprehensive list. Include everyone you might contact when needed. This includes:
- members and nonmembers,
- consumers and clients,
- related and adversarial associations,
- local, regional, and federal governments,
- Related industries, media, and more.
Your goals and objectives are also very important parts of the document. You need to consider a lot of things when defining these. Goals include products, services or programs you’ll use to achieve your objectives.
You also need to identify which tools you’ll use. Include these so the readers will know how to use them to achieve your goals. Tools can be as simple as flyers and as complicated as websites. To get great ideas, try brainstorming with your staff.
A timetable is also essential. This is the next thing for you to include in your document. Create a timeline or a calendar grid one which will roughly outline when you will accomplish your projects. Separate your objectives into reasonable time periods.
Finally, you need to include an evaluation of your results. Therefore, you should include a way to measure results in your plan. This may take the form of:
- a report on the progress of work due once a month,
- formal reports from the departments which they will present during staff meetings,
- intermittent briefings of the department heads and chief staff executive,
- An annual report or a year-end summary.
Developing a communication plan example requires much effort. If it’s your first time to develop such a document, it’s best to plan ahead. Once you’ve finalized your plan, it should make communications a lot smoother. This will definitely improve processes within your organization.
Communication Plan Templates
Types of communication plan examples
There are different types of templates for communication plans. For instance, you can create a crisis communication plan template. Use it to establish what you need to do during crises.
This plan will provide a layout of how people will convey information with each other. Such documents typically include methodology, frequency, and other specifics. It may also include which type of communication to use, whether formal or not.
An efficient document will raise awareness. Your employees will be able to know how and when they’re expected to exchange information.
Such plans are really important. The head of the chain of communication sets the tone for the whole interaction. The head can always maintain control over the whole communication process.
The document also allows for transparency. With a well-made plan, nobody will feel left out. This is especially true if you involve everyone in the communication plan. This will make all your employees feel appreciated. You can make such plans for:
- Change management
- Communications management strategy
- Integrated marketing
- Mainstreaming and action
Sample Communication Plans
The benefits of a communication plan
A well-made sample communication plan is the backbone of a successful project. Although it takes a lot of effort to create one, it’s not an impossible task. If you’re planning to start a project, you also need a plan for communication.
Such plans can be very advantageous for you. No matter what your purpose is for making the plan, you can enjoy these benefits:
- Minimize misunderstandings and confusion
Communication is important in any organization. For instance, you may have a client who wants to talk to one of your team members. This usually happens when the clients have technical questions.
This can also work the other way around. One of your employees might need to contact a client for one reason or another. Without a communication plan, there’s no easy way to resolve these situations.
Communication plans can help minimize misunderstandings and confusion. It will ensure that everyone understands how communication processes work. Your employees will know exactly who to communicate with regarding specific issues.
A well-made plan should also have a failsafe. Assign a person who will serve as the fallback contact. There may be times when the main person, usually the project manager, isn’t available. With a failsafe, the chain of communication won’t have to end.
- The appropriate recipients will get the message
It’s frustrating for anyone to approach someone with an issue without getting results. There’s nothing worse than hearing the words, “I don’t know” from employees or coworkers.
Fortunately, this won’t be an issue if you have a good communication plan one that outlines how the communication process should work. The plan would state who should receive messages.
Also, it states what type of messages they should receive. This creates an environment where everyone knows who to get solutions from. It also ensures that the ones in charge are always armed with the right information.
They need to stay informed so that they’re always ready to give solutions or make smart decisions.
- Manage communications better
When you have a well-made communication plan, you can manage communications better. Nothing’s worse than having poor communication in an organization. This is a common cause of problems in projects or companies.
For instance, an employee might send a message to the wrong person. He might use language which you use in a project the person isn’t involved in. This will lead to confusion and poor communication.
If this keeps on happening, you might start experiencing a lot of problems those which require time and effort to solve. Fortunately, you can avoid all this through a communication plan.
Superior communication plan templates can help your project or your organization. When you create and follow such a plan, it will keep everyone well-informed.
Since everyone understands the communication processes, they’ll be able to work together effectively. Everyone will have a clear picture of the whole chain of communication.
Crisis Communication Plan Templates
Tips for creating your communication plan template
A communication plan example is sort of a roadmap for getting your message across. The document is an important tool that different departments can use. When you spend time and effort in making the document, it will definitely make a huge impact.
Also, it will enhance your ability to attain the outcome you desire. Here are some tips for creating a great document:
Create your own sample communication plan
- First off, you should know the reason for your communication plan. What changes do you want to see as a result of better communication? It’s important to think of this before you start drafting your document.
- The next thing you need to think about is who you should communicate with. Make a list of all the potential audiences to include in your plan.
- Once you’ve done that, think about the audiences in your list. What do those audiences currently think about your topic? Write down everything you need to know about your audiences.
- Also, think about what you want your audiences to know or think. All of these will come as a result of communication.
- Write down the messages for each of your audiences. You may use the same message for all of them. Otherwise, you may also use different messages to address them. When creating your messages, keep in mind the intention of your communication.
- Then, think about when you will impart your messages. The timing is extremely important. It will determine how you’ll communicate with your audiences.
- After this, also decide how you will impart your messages. For instance, you’re trying to create awareness. In this case, a written communication may be enough to convey your message. But if you have a controversial message, you may have to consider a more interactive approach.
- Think about how you’ll prepare your message and who will deliver it. Also, consider the resources you’ll need. If you want to enable feedback, how will you go about it? You may also need to think about how you’ll know if your audience received your communication.
Some tips to keep in mind
- Keep in mind that communication is an ongoing process. This means that your plan should coincide with your activities.
- It’s extremely important to know your audiences. You have to understand their concerns, priorities, and environments. In doing this, you’ll have a better chance of conveying your messages to them.
- Organize your information. You can do this by creating a table with columns.
- Think of creative ways to access your audience. If you have online audiences, communicate with them online. If you work with your audiences, communicate with them in person.
- Think about the needs of your audiences. This will help you identify your messages and develop them.
- Consider why you need to communicate. Then when you express your reasons, be very clear about them. This will be very important when you’re making your plan.
- If you’re not sure of your information, don’t add it to your document. If it’s important, clarify the information first. Never include information which you can’t support with facts.
- Be honest and candid when creating your document. Also, don’t make the document too long. Doing this might reduce the chance that your audiences will read the plan all the way to the end.
What is communication plan? — Definition from WhatIs.com
A communication plan is a policy-driven approach to providing stakeholders with information. The plan formally defines who should be given specific information, when that information should be delivered and what communication channels will be used to deliver the information.
An effective communications management plan anticipates what information will need to be communicated to specific audience segments. The plan should also address who has the authority to communicate confidential or sensitive information and how information should be disseminated (email, websites, printed reports, and/or presentations). Finally, the plan should define what communication channels stakeholders will use to solicit feedback and how communication will be documented and archived.
Communication plans play an important role in change management. An effective communication strategy can help break down resistance to change by getting everyone on the same page and helping stakeholders become engaged and endorse the need for change and the steps being taken to bring it about.
In project management, the communications plan may include a glossary of common terms that will be used during the project. This glossary may also define and include samples of templates, reports and forms that the project manager will use to communicate information.
A communication plan for emergency situations must address ways both electronic and non-electronic communication channels should be used to disseminate information. This includes announcements over a building paging system, automated text message, email alerts, pre-recorded robocalls and phone trees. Should electronic communication channels be available, social media and the organization’s website can also be used to communicate emergency information.
Continue Reading About communication plan
Margaret Rouse asks:
Why do formal communication plans fall by the wayside so often?
Communications Management Plan — Project Management Docs
The purpose of the Communications Management Plan is to define the communication requirements for the project and how information will be distributed. The Communications Management Plan defines the following:
- What information will be communicated—to include the level of detail and format
- How the information will be communicated—in meetings, email, telephone, web portal, etc.
- When information will be distributed—the frequency of project communications both formal and informal
- Who is responsible for communicating project information
- Communication requirements for all project stakeholders
- What resources the project allocates for communication
- How any sensitive or confidential information is communicated and who must authorize this
- How changes in communication or the communication process are managed
- The flow of project communications
- Any constraints, internal or external, which affect project communications
- Any standard templates, formats, or documents the project must use for communicating
- An escalation process for resolving any communication-based conflicts or issues
This Communications Management Plan sets the communications framework for this project. It will serve as a guide for communications throughout the life of the project and will be updated as communication needs change. This plan identifies and defines the roles of persons involved in this project. It also includes a communications matrix which maps the communication requirements of this project. An in-depth guide for conducting meetings details both the communications rules and how the meetings will be conducted, ensuring successful meetings. A project team directory is included to provide contact information for all stakeholders directly involved in the project.
Communications Management Approach
Approximately 80% of a Project Manager’s time is spent communicating. Think about it – as a Project Manager you are spending most of your time measuring and reporting on the performance of the project, composing and reading emails, conducting meetings, writing the project plan, meeting with team members, overseeing work being performed, meeting with clients over lunch and many more activities related to your projects.
You should give considerable thought to how you want to manage communications on this project. By having a solid communications management approach you’ll find that many project management problems can be avoided. In this section give an overview of your communications management approach.
The Project Manager will take a proactive role in ensuring effective communications on this project. The communications requirements are documented in the Communications Matrix presented in this document. The Communications Matrix will be used as the guide for what information to communicate, who is to do the communicating, when to communicate it and to whom to communicate.
As with most project plans, updates or changes may be required as the project progresses or changes are approved. Changes or updates may be required due to changes in personnel, scope, budget, or other reasons. Additionally, updates may be required as the project matures and additional requirements are needed. The project manager is responsible for managing all proposed and approved changes to the communications management plan. Once the change is approved, the project manager will update the plan and supporting documentation and will distribute the updates to the project team and all stakeholders. This methodology is consistent with the project’s Change Management Plan and ensures that all project stakeholders remain aware and informed of any changes to communications management.
Communications Management Constraints
All projects are subject to limitations and constraints as they must be within scope and adhere to budget, scheduling, and resource requirements. Project planning and documentation are no exception to this rule. There may also be legislative, regulatory, technology, or organizational policy requirements which must be followed as part of communications management. These constraints must be clearly understood and communicated to all stakeholders. While communications management is arguably one of the most important aspects of project management, it must be done in an effective manner and within the constraints of the allocated budget, time, and resources.
All project communication activities will occur within the project’s approved budget, schedule, and resource allocations. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that communication activities are performed by the project team and without external resources which will result in exceeding the authorized budget. Communication activities will occur in accordance with the frequencies detailed in the Communication Matrix in order to ensure the project adheres to schedule constraints. Any deviation of these timelines may result in excessive costs or schedule delays and must be approved by the project sponsor.
ABC Corp. organizational policy states that where applicable, standardized formats and templates must be used for all formal project communications. The details of these policy requirements are provided in the section titled “Standardization of Communication” in this document.
ABC Corp. organizational policy also states that only a Vice President or higher level employee may authorize the distribution of confidential information. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that approval is requested and obtained prior to the distribution of any confidential information regarding this project.
Stakeholder Communication Requirements
Most projects consist of a broad range of stakeholders all of whom may have differing interests and influence on the project. As such, it is important for project teams to determine the communication requirements of these stakeholders in order to more effectively communicate project information. There are a number of methods for determining stakeholder communication requirements; however, it is imperative that they are completely understood in order to effectively manage their interest, expectations, and influence and ensure a successful project.
As part of identifying all project stakeholders, the project manager will communicate with each stakeholder in order to determine their preferred frequency and method of communication. This feedback will be maintained by the project manager in the project’s Stakeholder Register. Standard project communications will occur in accordance with the Communication Matrix; however, depending on the identified stakeholder communication requirements, individual communication is acceptable and within the constraints outlined for this project.
In addition to identifying communication preferences, stakeholder communication requirements must identify the project’s communication channels and ensure that stakeholders have access to these channels. If project information is communicated via secure means or through internal company resources, all stakeholders, internal and external, must have the necessary access to receive project communications.
Once all stakeholders have been identified and communication requirements are established, the project team will maintain this information in the project’s Stakeholder Register and use this, along with the project communication matrix as the basis for all communications.
The project sponsor is the champion of the project and has authorized the project by signing the project charter. This person is responsible for the funding of the project and is ultimately responsible for its success. Since the Project Sponsor is at the executive level communications should be presented in summary format unless the Project Sponsor requests more detailed communications.
The Program Manager oversees the project at the portfolio level and owns most of the resources assigned to the project. The Program Manager is responsible for overall program costs and profitability as such they require more detailed communications than the Project Sponsor.
Normally Stakeholders includes all individuals and organizations who are impacted by the project. For this project we are defining a subset of the stakeholders as Key Stakeholders. These are the stakeholders with whom we need to communicate with and are not included in the other roles defined in this section. The Key Stakeholders includes executive management with an interest in the project and key users identified for participation in the project.
Change Control Board
The Change Control Board is a designated group which is reviews technical specifications and authorizes changes within the organizations infrastructure. Technical design documents, user impact analysis and implementation strategies are typical of the types of communication this group requires.
You should identify the customer if the project is the result of a solicitation. In such a case, the customer will be involved in reviewing prototypes, approval of designs and implementation stages and acceptance of the final project the project generates.
The customer for this project is . As the customer who will be accepting the final deliverable of this project they will be informed of the project status including potential impacts to the schedule for the final deliverable or the product itself.
The Project Manager has overall responsibility for the execution of the project. The Project Manager manages day to day resources, provides project guidance and monitors and reports on the projects metrics as defined in the Project Management Plan. As the person responsible for the execution of the project, the Project Manager is the primary communicator for the project distributing information according to this Communications Management Plan.
The Project Team is comprised of all persons who have a role performing work on the project. The project team needs to have a clear understanding of the work to be completed and the framework in which the project is to be executed. Since the Project Team is responsible for completing the work for the project they played a key role in creating the Project Plan including defining its schedule and work packages. The Project Team requires a detailed level of communications which is achieved through day to day interactions with the Project Manager and other team members along with weekly team meetings.
The Steering Committee includes management representing the departments which make up the organization. The Steering Committee provides strategic oversight for changes which impact the overall organization. The purpose of the Steering Committee is to ensure that changes within the organization are effected in such a way that it benefits the organization as a whole. The Steering Committee requires communication on matters which will change the scope of the project and its deliverables.
The Technical Lead is a person on the Project Team who is designated to be responsible for ensuring that all technical aspects of the project are addressed and that the project is implemented in a technically sound manner. The Technical Lead is responsible for all technical designs, overseeing the implementation of the designs and developing as-build documentation. The Technical Lead requires close communications with the Project Manager and the Project Team.
Project Team Directory
The following table presents contact information for all persons identified in this communications management plan. The email addresses and phone numbers in this table will be used to communicate with these people.
|Project Sponsor||A. White||VP of Technology||IT||[email protected]||(555) 555-1212|
|Program Manager||B. Brown||PMO Manager||PMO||[email protected]||(555) 555-1213|
|Project Manager||C. Black||Project Manager||PMO||[email protected]||(555) 555-1212|
|Project Stakeholders||See Stakeholder Register||See Stakeholder Register||See Stakeholder Register||See Stakeholder Register||See Stakeholder Register|
|Customer||J. Doe XYZ Corp.||Manager||IT||[email protected]||(555) 555-8121|
Communication Methods and Technologies
Many times, the methods and technologies used to communicate are just as important of a consideration as the information being communicated. Imagine a large project with many stakeholders who all have different technological capabilities. Some may have access to a share drive while others do not. Some may have access to video teleconferencing and others only have telephone and email capabilities. In order to be effective, project information must be communicated to everyone involved by some method using available technology. Determining communication methods and what technologies are available should be part of determining stakeholder communication requirements.
The project team will determine, in accordance with ABC Corp. organizational policy, the communication methods and technologies based on several factors to include: stakeholder communication requirements, available technologies (internal and external), and organizational policies and standards.
ABC Corp. maintains a SharePoint platform within the PMO which all projects use to provide updates, archive various reports, and conduct project communications. This platform enables senior management, as well as stakeholders with compatible technology, to access project data and communications at any point in time. SharePoint also provides the ability for stakeholders and project team members to collaborate on project work and communication.
For stakeholders who do not have the ability to access SharePoint, a web site will also be established for the project. Access to the website will be controlled with a username and password. Any stakeholders identified who are not able to access SharePoint will be issued a unique username and password in order to access the web site. The project manager is responsible for ensuring all project communications and documentation are copied to the web site and that the content mirrors what is contained on the SharePoint platform.
ABC Corp. maintains software licenses for MS Project software. All project teams are responsible for developing, maintaining, and communicating schedules using this software. PERT Charts are the preferred format for communicating schedules to stakeholders. The project schedule will be maintained on both the SharePoint platform and the project website.
All project communication and documentation, in addition to being maintained on the SharePoint platform and project website, will be archived on the internal ABC Corp. shared drive which resides in the PMO program directory. Organizational naming conventions for files and folder will be applied to all archived work.
The following table identifies the communications requirements for this project.
|Communication Type||Objective of Communication||Medium||Frequency||Audience||Owner||Deliverable||Format|
|Kickoff Meeting||Introduce the project team and the project. Review project objectives and management approach.||– Face to Face||Once|| – Project Sponsor|
– Project Team
|Project Manager|| – Agenda|
– Meeting Minutes
|– Soft copy archived on SharePoint site and project website.|
|Project Team Meetings||Review status of the project with the team.|| – Face to Face|
– Conference Call
|Weekly||– Project Team||Project Manager|| – Agenda|
– Meeting Minutes
– Project Schedule
|– Soft copy archived on SharePoint site and project website.|
|Technical Design Meetings||Discuss and develop technical design solutions for the project.||– Face to Face||As Needed||– Project Technical Staff||Technical Lead|| – Agenda|
– Meeting Minutes
|– Soft copy archived on SharePoint site and project website.|
|Monthly Project Status Meetings||Report on the status of the project to management.|| – Face to Face|
– Conference Call
|Monthly||– PMO||Project Manager|| – Slide Updates|
– Project Schedule
|– Soft copy archived on SharePoint site and project website.|
|Project Status Reports||Report the status of the project including activities, progress, costs and issues.||Monthly|| – Project Sponsor|
– Project Team
|Project Manager|| – Project Status Report|
– Project Schedule
|– Soft copy archived on SharePoint site and project website.|
Flowcharts provide a visual representation of a process or processes which often allow a better understanding of how the process is intended to work. Project communications may be extremely complex depending on the size and scope of the project and the number of stakeholders. A flowchart provides all stakeholders with a better understanding of the steps involved with the distribution of all project communications.
The communication flowchart below was created to aid in project communication. This flowchart provides a framework for the project team to follow for this project. However, there may be occasions or situations which fall outside of the communication flowchart where additional clarification is necessary. In these situations the Project Manager is responsible for discussing the communication with the Project Sponsor and making a determination on how to proceed.
Guidelines for Meetings
Meeting Agenda will be distributed 5 business days in advance of the meeting. The Agenda should identify the presenter for each topic along with a time limit for that topic. The first item in the agenda should be a review of action items from the previous meeting.
Meeting minutes will be distributed within 2 business days following the meeting. Meeting minutes will include the status of all items from the agenda along with new action items and the Parking Lot list.
Action Items are recorded in both the meeting agenda and minutes. Action items will include both the action item along with the owner of the action item. Meetings will start with a review of the status of all action items from previous meetings and end with a review of all new action items resulting from the meeting. The review of the new action items will include identifying the owner for each action item.
Meeting Chair Person
The Chair Person is responsible for distributing the meeting agenda, facilitating the meeting and distributing the meeting minutes. The Chair Person will ensure that the meeting starts and ends on time and that all presenters adhere to their allocated time frames.
The Note Taker is responsible for documenting the status of all meeting items, maintaining a Parking Lot item list and taking notes of anything else of importance during the meeting. The Note Taker will give a copy of their notes to the Chair Person at the end of the meeting as the Chair Person will use the notes to create the Meeting Minutes.
The Time Keeper is responsible for helping the facilitator adhere to the time limits set in the meeting agenda. The Time Keeper will let the presenter know when they are approaching the end of their allocated time. Typically a quick hand signal to the presenter indicating how many minutes remain for the topic is sufficient.
The Parking Lot is a tool used by the facilitator to record and defer items which aren’t on the meeting agenda; however, merit further discussion at a later time or through another forum.
A parking lot record should identify an owner for the item as that person will be responsible for ensuring follow-up. The Parking Lot list is to be included in the meeting minutes.
Standardization is a proven way to simplify the complexities of project management communications. Many organizations develop and use standard templates or formats for the various communication tools used throughout projects. Standard templates and formats may be applied to certain types of project meetings or specific types of communication (i.e. emails, status reports, etc.). By using standardization, organizations can help ensure that its project teams and stakeholders have a thorough understanding of what is expected and achieve consistent and effective communications.
In addition to standard templates and/or formats, organizations may standardize file naming or sharing conventions. An organization may use SharePoint or some other type of Web Portal/Network tool (blogs, message boards, etc.) as a standard platform from which to share information and communicate. Additionally, an organization may have standard file naming conventions for their stored data on their internal share drives. Many of these tools and new technologies are used in today’s projects with team members and stakeholders often spread over wide geographic areas. Standardization provides a level of simplicity to an organization’s communication platforms and improves effectiveness and efficiency.
For this project, ABC Corp. will utilize standard organizational formats and templates for all formal project communications. Formal project communications are detailed in the project’s communication matrix and include:
Kickoff Meeting – project team will utilize ABC Corp. standard templates for meeting agenda and meeting minutes. Additionally, any slides presented will use the ABC Corp. standard slideshow template.
Project Team Meetings – project team will utilize ABC Corp. standard templates for meeting agenda and meeting minutes. Additionally, any slides presented will use the ABC Corp. standard slideshow template.
Technical Design Meetings – project team will utilize ABC Corp. standard templates for meeting agenda and meeting minutes. Additionally, any slides presented will use the ABC Corp. standard slideshow template.
Monthly Project Status Meetings – project team will utilize ABC Corp. standard templates for meeting agenda and meeting minutes. Additionally, any slides presented will use the ABC Corp. standard slideshow template.
Project Status Reports – project team will utilize ABC Corp. standard templates for meeting agenda and meeting minutes. Additionally the standard project status report document, available on the share drive, will be used to provide project status.
Informal project communications should be professional and effective but there is no standard template or format that must be used.
Communication Escalation Process
As issues or complications arise with regards to project communications it may become necessary to escalate the issue if a resolution cannot be achieved within the project team. Project stakeholders may have many different conflicting interests in a given project. While escalations are a normal part of project management, there must be a documented process that defines how those escalations will take place.
Efficient and timely communication is the key to successful project completion. As such, it is imperative that any disputes, conflicts, or discrepancies regarding project communications are resolved in a way that is conducive to maintaining the project schedule, ensuring the correct communications are distributed, and preventing any ongoing difficulties. In order to ensure projects stay on schedule and issues are resolved, ABC Corp. will use its standard escalation model to provide a framework for escalating communication issues. The table below defines the priority levels, decision authorities, and timeframes for resolution.
|Priority||Definition||Decision Authority||Timeframe for Resolution|
|Priority 1||Major impact to project or business operations. If not resolved quickly there will be a significant adverse impact to revenue and/or schedule.||Vice President or higher||Within 4 hours|
|Priority 2||Medium impact to project or business operations which may result in some adverse impact to revenue and/or schedule.||Project Sponsor||Within one business day|
|Priority 3||Slight impact which may cause some minor scheduling difficulties with the project but no impact to business operations or revenue.||Project Manager||Within two business days|
|Priority 4||Insignificant impact to project but there may be a better solution.||Project Manager||Work continues and any recommendations are submitted via the project change control process|
** NOTE: Any communication including sensitive and/or confidential information will require escalation to VP level or higher for approval prior to external distribution.
Glossary of Communication Terminology
|Communication||The effective sending and receiving of information. Ideally, the information received should match the information sent. It is the responsibility of the sender to ensure this takes place.|
|Stakeholder||Individuals or groups involved in the project or whose interests may be affected by the project’s execution or outcome.|
|Communications Management Plan||Portion of the overall Project Management Plan which details how project communications will be conducted, who will participate in communications, frequency of communications, and methods of communications.|
|Escalation||The process which details how conflicts and issues will be passed up the management chain for resolution as well as the timeframe to achieve resolution.|
What is a Project Management Communication Plan?
Communication is strange. It should be so easy. You say something, someone listens and understands. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it?
So, what do we do to make sure our words are heard and the message we’re trying to convey is comprehended and acted on correctly? That’s a tall order. You’ve probably noticed in both your personal and professional life that it’s easier said than done.
But there is a way to make communication clearer. That’s right, process. If you have a project communication plan, like our free template, then you have a way to get information out to those who need it, in a way that is understandable and actionable.
The Importance of a Communication Plan
Communication isn’t just about barking directives or conveying your message, it’s also about asking questions. Communications are a two-way street, and if you’re only going one-way then you’re going to get stuck in a dead end.
Okay, enough with the traffic metaphors. There’s enough data to support the idea that communication is crucial to project success. Everything you do when managing a project is partially if not entirely a communicative process. Planning is a way to communicate your path through time to complete a series of tasks. Managing those tasks is a constant communicative effort with your team. And so on.
You wouldn’t start a project without a plan in place, and so a communications plan is equally important, as it defines how you’re going to get the critical project information out to the people who need it, clearly and in a timely manner.
Project Communication Can Vary
Different projects, of course, demand different means of communications. Large projects requires more structure to your communication plan, but a smaller one doesn’t mean you can just wing it. Communication plans must be made in context, but they must be made.
When you formalize the process of communications in a project, you’re taking steps to make the project successful. If you don’t… well, you know what happens.
What Makes a Communication Plan Effective?
Now that we’re all onboard with the validity of creating a communication plan, how exactly do we make one that can work fluidly across all the channels we need to communicate? Let’s define the communication plan for a larger project, as it’s easier to take away what you don’t need than add it later.
Know the Project Culture
Knowing the context of the communications is critical to creating an effective plan. That means understanding the culture at the organization you’re working for. How structured or casual is it? How have communications been handled in the past? Have those communications been successful? Know the environment you’re working in first.
Start with the Background
Before effective communications can start, you should have a clear picture of what exactly it is that you’re communicating. By describing the project landscape, so to speak, you know what your parameters are, and it’ll help you get buy-in from the stakeholders and your team.
In short, you lead through your communication.
Start with a project vision and its objectives. What are they? Jot them down. This is the lodestar you’ll follow throughout your project, so you want to have them clearly defined from the start and remind people throughout the project the importance of this mission.
Next, you must assign an owner to the communication process. If you have too many people responsible for communications, then your message is scattered and less effective. Pick that person and provide them with the right tool or tools, such as chat, email, text, etc.
You’re also going to need a review method in place to monitor the effectiveness of your communications. This way, if your metrics show that you’re not getting a message across to those who need to hear it, you can tweak the process before it negatively impacts the whole project.
And you’re going to want to record the measurement process after you close out the project. Now you have a record of how well your communication plan worked and where it fell short, so you can address those issues when developing a communication plan for your next project.
Have an Actual Communication Plan
It seems obvious, a better communication plan requires having a plan, but it’s surprising how many people fly by the seat of their pants. Communications is just emailing or meetings or talking with someone. You tell them what they need to know and then they take that information and apply it.
Sure, but it doesn’t always work out that way. You need to have a process in place to make sure no messages fall through the cracks. A plan helps you reach the right people with the right information.
Analyze the Situation
What are strengths and weaknesses in your plan? You might have a team that is very tightknit and communicates easily. But maybe stakeholders are not happy with the method you’ve chosen to communicate the project’s progress with them?
These strengths and weaknesses are not etched in stone. They can be springboards of opportunity, and you should use them as such. Now you have a chance to improve your communications. Be aware of all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and even threats to your communication process, and record them all.
What Have You Learned Before?
If this isn’t your first project, then you have a historical record to look back upon. That’s a great resource, one that will give you precedent and direction on moving forward.
Even if you’ve never led a project before, chances are that the organization you’re working for has, and they’ve keep archives of past projects, which can be a valuable tool at your disposal.
Start with a list of the basic communications that have taken place, how they were made and if they were successful. Now document what you’ve learned from this research and apply it to the present communication plan.
What are you going to achieve with your communication plan? Good communications, of course. But how to you make sure of that?
Well, begin with a list. What are your three top objectives? Got those. But make sure you’re SMART about it. Yes, SMART is an acronym to remind you to be:
- Relevant; and
Relevance is key. Don’t assume everyone wants the same amount of info delivered in the same way, but most everyone wants their information delivered consistently on time.
Have Guidelines, and Follow Them
With your objectives in place, you now need to formulate a plan by which to achieve them. So, you need to set guidelines to help you get those communication objectives out.
For example, you must determine how you’re going to deliver the message, whether you want structured and regular feedback, meetings, a procedure of approval before sending a missive, what to send, etc.
Define the core types of communications you are producing, and then set about clarifying the method of delivery and process for feedbacks and approvals for each method. The communications owner or liaison should own this chart and process to make sure they are followed up on.
Make Rules for Meetings
Meetings are a great communications tool and should be part of any project communication plan. But meetings have a bad reputation as time-wasters. They certainly can be, but they don’t have to be inefficient. That’s why you want to have guidelines to make sure your meeting is getting the right message to the right people.
Start by only having those people in a meeting who need to be there. Then make sure you have an agenda to keep you on message. Keep meeting minutes and assign action items. Not all meetings need such structure, but you want them to facilitate the work, not interrupt it.
Determine Who are Your Stakeholders
These are people that you’ll be in communications with throughout the project, as you note the progress, so they can feel things are moving smoothly to a positive end. If you miscommunicate to them, you risk the very project itself.
So, you want to make a list of those stakeholders, what their role in the project is and what it is that they need to know about the project, what frequency do you need to communicate with them, etc. Make sure you also ask your stakeholders how they need information. Some of them have stakeholders of their own!
Make sure this list shared with those stakeholders, so they can approve or comment. This will help to keep them in the loop and you focused on the project at hand.
There Are Many Messages, What’s Key?
You can get inundated with data when you’re managing a project. That’s why it’s important to prioritize the most important data points, and define where that information needs to go.
Communicating on projects means focusing on one thing or else you have too broad a message. There are many metrics to communicate, from project status and issues to project risk and deliverables. Decide which are most crucial for which people.
How Are You Delivering Your Message?
There are many channels to disseminate your message. One method might not be the magic bullet to cure all your communication ills. Some like email, others prefer text or chat, and there are those who still like to get a printed document. Know who needs what and set up those channels.
What’s the Schedule?
A great way to make sure people get your message is for them to know when it’s coming. If they expect a missive from you every Monday morning, then they’ll be looking out for it.
You can create the schedule for your communication plan on a Gantt chart, so there’s an easy-to-read visual of its frequency. Meetings, newsletters, social events, conferences, seminars, etc., can all be charted on the timeline to keep track of your various communications.
Monitor Your Project Communications
Yes, communications aren’t thrown into the void with the hope that they’ll connect. If you want to know if your communications are hitting their marks, you must monitor them. You can simply ask if they’ve been received or required an acknowledgement of receipt. There is also software that can automate this process for you.
Communicating Clearly Isn’t Simple
By now you’ve gotten the picture that for communications to be clear and effective is a complicated matter. A template is necessary to organize all these various parts and keep track of them.
Of course, there are other ways, more dynamic tools, which can streamline the process and add efficiencies so your communications is more productive. But you must start somewhere!
If you’re ready to take the leap into the 21st century, then start using a project management software to facilitate your project communication needs. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based tool that means you’re messages are delivered and received in real-time, and your communication plan folds in seamlessly with all the other aspects of the project. See how it can help you communicate better, take this free 30-day trial.
10+ Communication Plan Template
Be it through advertising or presentations or campaigning, communicating the right way is really important for a company to meet their targets. Sometimes, mistakes that come with improper communication can lead to loss of Market Plan, clients and thereby, a downfall in your business.
To make sure that you are saying things that the other person wants to hear, it is really important for you to sketch a proper communication plan. Our communication plan templates are meant to do just that – plan out all the communications that you intend to make with a certain party so that it leads to the success of your company.
What is a Communication Plan?
A communication plan consists of a detailed description of the communication that you wish to make with the other party. Firstly, an objective is stated that is to be achieved, for which you intend to use the plan. The audiences and the messages that you wish to send out to those particular audiences are then charted out.
The channel through which you wish to communicate and the timing that would be perfect for your communication are all listed out for all the categories of audiences in question. Each and every category should be listed in the communication plan after some elaborate study.
Our communication plan templates have got just those communication plans that you need to make the best possible connection with your client or your target market. After all, the secret to success is almost always ‘marketing the right message’..!
Sample Internal Communication Plan Template
Communication Plan Template
Sample Communication Plan
Project Communication Plan Template
Internal Communication Plan Template
Internal Communication Plan
Communication Plan Template Word
Strategic Communication Plan Template
Marketing Communication Plan
Communication Plan Outline
Communication Plan Example
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Communication Plan Template — ProjectManager.com
From defining communication objectives to identifying stakeholders and channels, use this communication plan template to schedule project communications and establish a feedback loop to keep everyone up to date. By formulating you communication plan in advance of the project you make sure that information will be disseminated clearly and correctly to whoever needs it.
Get your free communication plan template!
Why You Need a Communication Plan Template
Communication is the backbone of any project. Well, good communication, that is. With this free communication plan template you can ensure that your project documentation, messages, data and reports are as clear and effective as possible.
This document describes the way you’ll transmit information to your project teams and stakeholders so that they’re heard correctly and targeted to the proper party, who receive it in a timely manner or within the timeframe that you require.
Not only that, but a communication plan will note the goals, stakeholders, strategies and activities as they relate to communications, along with the timeframes surrounding your outreach.
Think of the communication plan template as a repository for your communications objectives; how you plan to bring about those objectives; in what timeframe and the effort involved to fulfill those goals; and finally, the metrics to measure whether you’re successful.
There are more appropriate times than others to use your communication plan template. For example, if you’re working on a large project, with many resources, vendors, managers, et al., then you’ll want a more structured delivery for communications. That way you’ll make sure everyone’s needs are being met.
The need for informal communications is also crucial to a project’s success. It’s smart to consider that as useful a tool as this communication plan template can be, there needs to be a line item in which you remember to talk informally with team members, stakeholders, and even vendors.
How to Use this Communication Plan Template
Now that you’ve downloaded your communication plan excel template, it’s time to put it to use in your project. While this document is ideal for larger projects (as communications on smaller ones are less complex) even if you’re working smaller, it’s good to get a handle on how to organize and run communications for when you eventually do manage a larger project.
This section asks you to describe your communication plan in context to get buy-in from stakeholders and team members alike. Among the things you will address here are:
- Vision and Objectives: Be clear as to why there is a communication plan. There could be several reasons, what are they? And note the goals and objectives for those communications, so it’s all clear from the start.
- Goals and Timeframes: As you detail the goals, you’ll also want to put them within the borders of time. Nothing gets done without a deadline.
- Communication Staff and Tools: For communications to work, there needs to be a person or group who has ownership over the process. Who are they? Now, what tools are they using to disseminate those missives, email, text, etc.?
- Review Effectiveness: There’s no way to know if your communications are in fact getting through if you’re not measuring the results. Have metrics in place to see how well your communication plan is working, and keep that data for historic precedent.
- Make a Plan: It goes without saying that you have to plan all this out, but maybe it should be said, clearly and definitively. You wouldn’t start a project without planning for it first, so follow your own advice and get a plan in place prior to setting up a communications process.
- Record Outcome: As part of your measurement process, after the project has closed, take time to see how effective the communication plan was overall. You’ll learn a lot: what to repeat next time and what to change.
Here you address the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats inherent in the communication plan. Strengths can include where your team excels in communications, while the weaknesses note areas where communications are not being well-served. As for opportunities, they are areas you find that can be improved upon. A threat is a problem that can bring down the whole communication process. Make sure you’re clear on these four areas and record them out in detail here.
Now it’s time to sketch out a history of communications at your organization to get a picture of trends and how to support the positive and move away from the negative. Begin by listing the basic communications that have already taken place. How have these communications been made and to what extent were they successful? Finally, document what you’ve learned from this investigation.
You’ve outlined the background, now you want to move into the future and express what you will achieve with this communication plan.
Start with a simple list of your top-three objectives. Be sure that these are very specific, measurable, actionable, relevant, and timely. You can remember this criteria with the acronym S.M.A.R.T.
Now that you’ve got objects, how are you going to achieve them? Guidelines to help you get out your communications will help. Make a list of how you want communications disseminated. That can included regular feedback or meetings, approval before sending, only communicating pertinent information, etc.
Make a list of the key personnel in the project by name, followed by their role and then the information they need to know. After that, you can indicate the frequency in which them should be communicated with. Have this list approved by the people on it to make sure you’ve gotten what they want and when they want it down correctly.
What are your key messages? Some regular communications for projects include: project status, project issues, project risk, project deliverables and project resources. These are markers that will be included in most of your communication messages.
By what mechanism will you disseminate your communications? What is the channel of preference of your target audience? It could be email or text or even printed matter, but find out what it is and use that access point which will in fact reach your reader.
Once you’ve decided on the channel, you’ll want to create a document that collects the information you will be sending off through this channel. Write the name of the channel, the information required, who the information provider is and the timeframe.
Now you’re ready for the communication plan, which starts with a schedule. You can create a schedule on a Gantt chart to visualize the frequency of communications, including meetings, newsletter, social events, conferences, seminars, alerts, etc.
Finally, you want to describe the events in your communication schedule in detail to help team members complete these events on time. So, number the events, name them, describe them, write what their purpose is, the frequency and then the date.
Communications in all its forms, from a structured plan to a foundational pillar of leadership, has been written about and has been the subject of video tutorials on ProjectManager.com. Our site is not only a portal to great project management software tools, but a hub where professionals and novices alike can come to brush up on all aspects of leading a project, big or small, to a successful completion.
We have gathered a few of our favorite articles on communication planning and have collected them in the links below for those of you who would like some further reading.
How to Create Clear Project Communications
Communication Patterns for High Performing Teams
5 Communication Mistakes to Avoid with Your Team
You’ve seen how important a communication plan is, and can download a free template, but a template is only a static document. If you want to take your planning, tracking, and reporting to the next level, then you want to engage with an online and collaborative project management software.
ProjectManager.com is cloud-based and accessible anywhere and at any time. Our awarding-winning tools have been repeatedly ranked #1 by Gartner’s GetApp in their project management category. Built into the software are many ways to communicate individually and in group chats, tailored to reach only the people you want to speak with.
See for yourself what a superior product ProjectManager.com is by visiting our site and taking the free 30-day trial. It really needs to be used to be believed.
18+ Communication Plan Templates — PDF, DOC
A Communication Plan Template provides a layout of how information will be conveyed from one party to the next. A Project Communication Plan Templates often includes the specifics, methodology and frequency with which formal communication is allowed. As a result, all people will be aware of when and how they are expected to send or receive information. You may also see Free Plan Templates.
Internal Communication Plan
Business Communication Plan Template
Simple Business Communication Plan Template
Marketing Communication Plan Template
Simple Marketing Communication Plan Template
Strategic Communication Plan Template
Project Communication Plan Template
Management Communication Plan
Strategic Communication Plan Template
Hazard Communication Plan Example
Size: 43.5 KB
In order to inform company employees about their rights and responsibilities regarding Job safety at the workplace, it is important to create a Hazard Communication Plan by downloading this template. It is also important for compliance with the Occupational Safety and Hazard Administration guidelines. This documents keeps the employees informed about safety regulations too. You may also see Sample Internal Communication Plan Templates
Project Communication Plan Word Format
Size: 30.2 KB
Every project that is undertaken by an organization is at various stages of completion and this needs to be informed to the concerned employees. By using the Project communication plan template, it is easy to draft this document and keep it on display for the stakeholders and management to be updated about the stages of completion. You may also see Crisis Communication Plan Templates.