2.2 Manage Communications

Process - Manage Communications


2.2.1Analyze communication needs of all stakeholders
2.2.2Determine communication methods, channels, frequency, and level of detail for all stakeholders
2.2.3Communicate project information and updates effectively
2.2.4Confirm communication is understood and feedback is received

Managing communications involves the creation, dissemination, storage, retrieval, and management of project information throughout the project lifecycle. This ensures all stakeholders are informed, engaged, and aligned with the project goals.

Refer to Project Communications Management Knowledge Area and its processes for an in-depth understanding of this task. The following section covers the enablers at a high level.

2.2.1 Analyze communication needs of all stakeholders

Understand the unique communication requirements of various stakeholders involved in the project.

  • Identify Key Stakeholders:
    • Begin by identifying all relevant stakeholders. These can include project sponsors, team members, clients, end-users, vendors, and regulatory bodies.
    • Consider both internal and external stakeholders.
  • Assess Roles and Influence:
    • Understand the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder.
    • Identify who has decision-making authority, who provides resources, and who may be impacted by project outcomes.
  • Preferred Communication Styles:
    • Some stakeholders prefer formal written communication, while others may prefer face-to-face discussions.
    • Consider cultural differences and individual preferences.
  • Expectations and Needs:
    • Conduct interviews or surveys to gather insights.
    • Ask stakeholders about their expectations regarding project updates, frequency of communication, and level of detail.

Tools and Techniques

  • Stakeholder Analysis: This technique helps identify stakeholders, their power and interest in the project, and their preferred communication methods.
  • Communication Requirements Analysis: This technique is used to determine the information needs of the project stakeholders through interviews, workshops, study of lessons learned from previous projects, etc.
  • Communication Styles Assessment: A technique used to assess communication styles and identify the preferred communication method, format, and content for planned communication activities.
  • User Story Mapping: This technique visually depicts user needs and dependencies, which can help identify stakeholders and their communication needs.

2.2.2 Determine communication methods, channels, frequency, and level of detail for all stakeholders

Establish a structured approach to communication that ensures relevant information reaches the right people at the right time.

  • Methods and Channels:
    • Email: Suitable for formal communication, document sharing, and announcements.
    • Meetings: Effective for discussions, brainstorming, and decision-making.
    • Reports and Dashboards: Provide visual summaries of project status.
    • Project Management Software: Facilitates collaboration and real-time updates.
  • Frequency:
    • Daily Stand-ups: Quick daily check-ins for agile teams.
    • Weekly Updates: Detailed progress reports.
    • Monthly Reviews: Summarize achievements and challenges.
  • Level of Detail:
    • Executive Summary: High-level overview for senior management.
    • Detailed Reports: In-depth information for project teams.
    • Visual Aids: Charts, graphs, and diagrams for clarity.

Tools and Techniques

  • Communication Technology: Various technologies can be used to transmit the information. Examples include meetings, teleconferences, webinars, formal letters or memos, faxes, emails, websites, wikis, blogs, etc.
  • Communication Channels: Consider the number of potential communication channels.
  • Information radiators: Visible communication channels like physical boards or online dashboards can display key project information.
  • Interpersonal and Team Skills: Utilize skills such as political and cultural awareness, and active listening to ensure that stakeholders feel heard and understood.

2.2.3 Communicate project information and updates effectively

Ensure timely and accurate dissemination of project-related information.

  • Regular Status Updates:
    • Project Managers: Share progress, milestones, risks, and issues.
    • Team Members: Highlight completed tasks and upcoming work.
  • Transparency:
    • Be honest about challenges and setbacks.
    • Address any deviations from the plan promptly.
  • Use Clear Language:
    • Avoid jargon or technical terms.
    • Explain complex concepts in simple terms.
  • Visual Aids:
    • Use charts, graphs, and visuals to enhance communication.
    • Summarize complex data visually (e.g., burn-down charts, progress bars).

Tools and Techniques

  • Manage Communications - Tools and Techniques: The tools and techniques of the Manage Communications process such as communication technology, communication methods, communication skills, project management information system, project reporting, interpersonal and team skill, and meetings are used in this process.
  • Daily Stand-up Meetings: These short, frequent meetings facilitate quick information sharing and updates within the agile team.
  • Sprint Reviews: These meetings present progress and gather stakeholder feedback, ensuring project information is shared effectively.

2.2.4 Confirm communication is understood and feedback is received

Verify that stakeholders comprehend the information shared and actively participate in the communication process.

  • Feedback Loop:
    • Encourage questions and discussions.
    • Seek confirmation that messages are received and understood.
  • Two-Way Communication:
    • Actively listen to stakeholders.
    • Address their concerns promptly.
  • Assess Effectiveness:
    • Regularly evaluate the impact of communication efforts.
    • Adjust strategies based on feedback and outcomes.

Tools and Techniques

  • Monitor Communications - Tools and Techniques: The tools and techniques of the Monitor Communications process such as expert judgment, project management information system, stakeholder engagement assessment matrix, observations/conversations, and meetings are used to ensure that communication is understood and feedback is received.
  • Retrospectives: These regular meetings encourage open discussion and feedback, allowing the team to identify communication gaps and improve future interactions.

Traditional vs. Agile

  • Traditional methods involve thorough upfront analysis of communication needs for all stakeholders. Detailed plans define communication methods (emails, reports), channels (distribution lists), frequency (weekly meetings), and information detail for each group. Communication primarily occurs through structured channels like reports, presentations, and scheduled meetings, often incorporating opportunities for two-way interaction through Q&A or feedback forms. Confirmation of understanding and feedback happen through formal methods like surveys, reports, or meetings.

  • Agile methods prioritize ongoing analysis through daily stand-up meetings and retrospectives. Lighter communication plans, often visualized on physical boards, outline key channels and frequencies for different stakeholders. Communication thrives on collaboration and real-time interaction through daily stand-up meetings, short sprints with demos, and frequent informal discussions. Confirmation of understanding and feedback are seamlessly integrated into daily interactions, utilizing short sprint reviews and ongoing discussions throughout the project lifecycle.

Remember that effective communication is a dynamic process. Adapt these enablers based on your project context, team dynamics, and organizational culture. Open channels of communication foster collaboration, reduce misunderstandings, and contribute to project success.

Last updated: March 10, 2024