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Effective Communication – Feedback Required

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 15th February 2016

Explain 5 distinct aspects which the project manager should consider
when preparing a communications plan 

A stakeholder identification and
analysis would take place to identify the relative power and interest of the
stakeholders and who they are. Stakeholders may be internal to the project such
as the sponsor and users but they may also be external such as the Government.
This will enable the project manager to begin to define the what, who and when
of the communications plan since all communications have a cost which is
attributed to the project.
Depending on the level of the
stakeholder (relative power and interest) over the project will define what we
intend to communicate. Those within the project such as the project sponsor and
the sponsoring group would receive confidential information which may not be
appropriate to share with the wider stakeholder community. For example the
Sponsor would be receiving accurate and detailed information relating to
progress and the viability of the business case where as the end user would
receive information about progress at a less detailed level reinforcing the
positive benefits of the project, what it means to them,  and when it is being delivered.
The mechanism for communication
will need to be considered by the project manager. For example it is highly
likely that the project manager will invest more time with face to face
meetings with those of higher power (either to keep them satisfied or increase
their level of interest). Those with lower power and interest or to larger
groups of stakeholders will require less costly (in terms of time and cost)
forms of communication such as email, websites, newsletters. If the information
is confidential or sensitive in nature then secure mechanisms will be required.
The timings of communications is
all important. It is important to identify when to engage with each stakeholder
group. For example in development of a new IT system, users would be engaged at
the start of the project to gain interest and sell the benefits and the timings
would increase as development progresses to prepare the users for key
activities such as User acceptance testing and training.
With communications the project
manager needs a mechanism to establish how effective the communications are at
getting the message across so that the communications process can be
continually improved. For example an organisation may have recently carried out
an initiative to raise awareness in data protection as part of a project to
improve overall data security. A short survey could be sent out via email to
assess the stakeholders understanding and see how it could be improved.