Project Management Practices Communications Management

Communication is a vital element of successful project management. Effective project communication ensures that the appropriate information is generated, collected, and distributed in a timely manner to the appropriate project stakeholders. Different stakeholders need different kinds of project information—from the team members carrying out the project tasks, to customers sponsoring the project, to executives making strategic decisions regarding the project and the organization. Your stakeholders don't just receive project information; they also generate it. When all your stakeholders share project information, people are linked and ideas are generated—all of which contributes to the ultimate success of the project.

The first stage of effective project communications management is communications planning. This stage should take place in the initiating and planning processes for the project, in conjunction with scope and activity development. As you develop and build your project plan, you also need to determine what types of communication will be necessary throughout the life of the project.

Determine what tools you have at your disposal and how your project team communicates most effectively. You might have weekly meetings and weekly status reports. Perhaps you'll also have monthly resource management and cost management reviews. Other possible communication vehicles include presentations, e-mail, letters, and an intranet site. You'll likely use a combination of these vehicles for different aspects of project management and different audiences.

If you're using Microsoft Office Project Server 2003 and Microsoft Office Project Web Access 2003, you have a very effective and targeted means of communicating electronically with your team members and other stakeholders. You can automate the flow of progress information about the project, including status reporting. You'll post certain views of the project periodically to Project Web Access 2003 for all stakeholders to review. If you're also using Windows SharePoint Services with your Project Server 2003 implementation, you can store reports, manage risks, and track issues.

While the project is being executed, you'll be executing your communications plan. You'll report on current project status, describing where the project stands at that point in time, especially as it relates to the schedule, budget, scope, and resource utilization. You'll also report on overall progress, describing the accomplishments of the project team to date and what is yet to be done. Finally, you'll make forecasts by using project plan information to predict future progress on tasks and anticipating potential problems.

Tasks will be completed, milestones met, deliverables handed off, and phases concluded. Your communications management strategy provides the means for documenting project results and the receipt of deliverables as each stage of the project is completed.

Project Management Made Easy

Project Management Made Easy

What you need to know about… Project Management Made Easy! Project management consists of more than just a large building project and can encompass small projects as well. No matter what the size of your project, you need to have some sort of project management. How you manage your project has everything to do with its outcome.

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