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Eight Steps to Create a Communications Plan

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This content is from the Method123 weekly email dated 2016.15.9

Eight Steps to Create a Communications Plan

Communications Plans are important for projects with many stakeholders. The Communication Plan is especially important if your project has an element of organizational change management. Think about the following eight steps as you create the plan.

Step 1: Communications Objectives. List the top three objectives that you want to achieve from your project communications. For instance, you might want to inform stakeholders of the project progress, boost management buy-in or improve your team productivity.

Step 2: Communications Guidelines. Then set out your communications guidelines for controlling communications within your project. For example, you may decide that:

$1·        All messages will be distributed through pre-defined channels

$1·        All critical communications will be pre-approved by management

$1·        All communications will be tailored, based on stakeholder needs

Step 3: Target Audience. Now define exactly who it is that your team will formally communicate with. Remember, formal communications are a method for controlling the messages sent out by your team. They promote a single consistent view of your project to a specified audience so that everyone has the same version of the truth.

Step 4: Stakeholder Needs. Each target audience group will have their own needs. These stakeholders will require information that is specific to their role in the project. For instance, a Project Sponsor will need to be informed of high priority risks and issues, whereas a Quality Reviewer might need to be notified of the current status of project deliverables.

Step 5: Key Messages. Then list the key messages that need to be sent to each Stakeholder. Key messages may include project status, project issues, project risks, project deliverables or project resources. The next step is to define how you will deliver each message to them, through a delivery channel.

Step 6: Delivery Channels. There are a huge variety of ways in which you can deliver your key messages to stakeholders (e.g. emails, newsletters, meetings, conferences). For each stakeholder, identify the channel that you will use to deliver your key messages.

Step 7: Communications Schedule. Now you are ready to create the schedule of communications events, activities and actions that are required to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right time throughout the project.

Step 8: Assessment. And finally, once you have listed the events and described them in detail, you need to identify who will manage them and who will review their effectiveness. 
At TenStep we are dedicated to helping organizations achieve their goals and strategies through the successful execution of critical business projects. We provide training, consulting and products for organizations to help them set up an environment where projects are successful. This includes help with strategic planning, portfolio management, program / project management, Project Management Offices (PMOs) and project lifecycles. For more information, visit www.TenStep.com or contact us at admin@TenStep.com

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