Project Communication

Communication is a key component to the success of your project. 

Communicate project progress and issues to the project stakeholders, team members and leadership.  Though the communication schedule may differ by the audience, establish a regular schedule for informing the target audience.

BEST PRACTICE:   Proactively analyze the project's communication needs and create a communication plan

The communication plan is used to document all communication activites, frequencies, method of delivery, and intended audience for each activity.  It provides the baseline for the appropriate checkpoints or tasks to be added to the project plan.

BEST PRACTICEHold periodic phase reviews with key stakeholders and sponsors

The purpose of the phase review is to provide a summary update to the sponsors and stakeholders of the projects' progress.  Focus should be on what changed since the last review.  A phase review typically includes an updated timeline showing current position, accomplishment, items needing sponsor / stakeholder help to close, likely risks, and expected activites until the next review.  All phase reviews should end with 'formal' approval from the sponsor and key stakeholders to move forward to the next phase. 

Ideally, each phase of the project life cycle ends with a phase review.  If several phases are being worked in parallel, the project is small or of short duration, the project manager and sponsor may agree to combine the reviews of several phases into a single review. 

BEST PRACTICE:   Project status communications

Project status communications provide a means to periodically, usually bi-weekly, communicate the project status to sponsors, and stakeholders outside of phase reviews.  They are extremely beneficial if a phase is scheduled to have a long duration, or there is approval to skip some phase reviews. 

Project status communications can take many forms.  The most common is a PowerPoint presentation document.  Unlike a phase review which may include several slides, a project status communication should consist of a single slide per project.  The focus is on publishing a concise visual representation of the project status.  A typical project status slide includes overall project status, summary of project objectives, status summary, list of accomplishments / successes / wins, key issues, requested actions needing sponsor / stakeholder response, and a high level timeline. 

A project newsletter is often used if the project delivers a new product, or involves a large change to the organization.  As a management of change (MOC) vehicle, periodic newsletters to end users may help create interest and work to drive adoption of the product once it is delivered.