Feedback Request For Answers To Questions On Communications

Paul Naybour

Hi Paul – thanks for your feedback to my other answers, much appreciated!!  Haven’t had chance to post the rest I’ve done till today so will be posting for three chapters, advice gratefully received. He are my answers on the communications plan.  Thanks,

I have updated your answer to include some more detail. My additions are in italics. 

List and describe five components of a project communication plan.

Five components of a communication plan are:

  1. The targets
  2. How you will communicates
  3. What will be communicated
  4. Costs of communication
  5. Feedback

Targets – once a stakeholder analysis is carried out at the beginning of a project a communication plan can be written. This lists the targets of communication which is the stakeholders. Basically this is anyone who needs to be kept fully informed about the project and potentially be influenced by the communication. For example we may identify that the teachers in a school project are key stakeholders who must be communicated with. 

The methods of communication are how you will communicate with the targets. This can range from informal verbal methods such as phone calls, to formal verbal methods such as meetings or stage gate reviews. There are also formal and informal communication methods. The appropriate method will vary depending on the target and the message to be communicated. So for example with teachers we might arrange a number of formal meetings with heads of departments. 

The plan will also contain information on what will be communicated. For example, is it a report to be issued, a newsletter or some minutes. Again, the nature of the item to be communicated depends on the stakeholder/target. So for our teacher exam we would focus on the ability to fully teach the curriculum. 

Costs of communication must be included in a project budget. All communication has cost implication such as transport to meetings, production of newsletter or someones time. These costs must be budgeted for at the outset to ensure they can be carried out as planned. So in our school example this could be the costs of an external meeting room to meet the teachers. 

Feedback mechanisms are an important aspect of a communication plan. Generally you are communicating with stakeholders to ensure a continued positive impression of your project and a suitable level of engagement. Collecting regular feedback ensures you can make sure your communications are having their desired effects. So for example in a school you would gather informal feedback from the heads of department, once they have had a plan to consider the proposals. 

Explain five implications of project communications being dealt with ineffectively.

One implication of project communication being dealt with ineffectively would be different stakeholders understanding different messages. This could lead to conflict or a lack of engagement on stakeholders part, in turn impacting on the success of the project.

When costs of communication are not deal with appropriately in the communication plan, the implication is that the communication necessary may not be budget for and therefore affordable. For example, if the cost of a face-to-face project meeting aren’t budget for you will not be able to run it as you would like.

If the stakeholders are not kept properly informed they will be unclear on who to go for information. This may lead to them having the wrong information at their disposal which could lead to bad decisions being made.

It is important to communicate effectively with all stakeholders so that the requirements of the project are understood and agreed from the outset. Failure to implement a communication plan to ensure this would lead to conflict and disagreement throughout the project. Ultimately a lack of understanding of different users requirements could lead to the failure of the project to fulfil its objectives.

An effective communication plan must recognise that different stakeholders require different messages in different formats. Without this knowledge the communication plan will not fulfil its main objective to ensure all stakeholders are appropriately engaged at all times.

List and describe five things a project manager might do to prepare for a negotiation.

  1. Brief the team
  2. Consider what’s in it for them
  3. Consider the best alternatives to a negotiated agreement
  4. Decide where the meeting will be
  5. Research the other side

It is important to brief your team prior to a negotiation to make sure everyone is ‘on the same page’. This avoids a situation where another member of your team may undermine your position by suggesting or agreeing to something not in your best interests.

The project manager should also consider what is in it for the other side. Putting yourself in their shoes helps you to see their position more clearly, thereby providing a stronger starting point for the negotiation.

Considering the best alternative to a negotiated agreement allows the project manager to consider what would happen if they walked away from the negotiation. This helps establish the point at which you will happily walk out without sacrificing too much. As part of this the project manager should also establish a bottom line for the negotiation.

The venue for a negotiation is key. Neutral ground is likely to be most favourable so that both parties are comfortable. Less neutral terrain, such as one party’s office, could change the balance and nature of the negotiation.

The project manager should also research the other party. Having information about them which extends beyond the main issue at hand provide a stronger position in that you may be ale to change your offer to suite the wider picture.

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