Communications Management Plan

There are two outputs to the Plan Communications process. They are communications management plan and product document updates. The updates that may be required as a result of performing this process are the project schedule, the stakeholder register, and the stakeholder management strategy. Let's take a closer look at the details of the communications management plan.

All projects require sound communication plans, but not all projects will have the same types of communication or the same methods for distributing the information. The communications management plan documents the types of information needs the stakeholders have, when the information should be distributed, and how the information will be delivered. The answer to the pop quiz posed earlier in this chapter is the communications management plan is a subsidiary plan of the project management plan I talked about in Chapter 3.

The type of information you will typically communicate includes project status, project scope statements and scope statement updates, project baseline information, risks, action items, performance measures, deliverable acceptance, and so on. What's important to know for this process is that the information needs of the stakeholders should be determined as early in the Planning process group as possible so that as you and your team develop project planning documents, you already know who should receive copies of them and how they should be delivered.

According to the PMBOK® Guide, the communications management plan typically describes the following elements:

■ The communication requirements of each stakeholder or stakeholder group

■ Purpose for communication

■ Frequency of communications, including time frames for distribution

■ Name of the person responsible for communicating information

■ Format of the communication and method of transmission

■ Method for updating the communications management plan

■ Glossary of common terms

The information that will be shared with stakeholders and the distribution methods are based on the needs of the stakeholders, the project complexity, and the organizational policies. Some communications might be informal—a chat by the coffeemaker, for instance— while other communications are more formal and are kept with the project files for later reference. The communications management plan may also include guidelines for conducting status meetings, team meetings, and so on.

You might consider setting up an intranet site for your project and posting the appropriate project documentation there for the stakeholders to access anytime they want. If you use this method, make sure to document it in the communications management plan and notify your stakeholders when updates or new communication is posted.

exam spotlight

For the exam, know that the communications management plan documents how the communication needs of the stakeholders will be met, including the types of information that will be communicated, who will communicate it, who receives the communication, the methods used to communicate, the timing and frequency, the method for updating this plan as the project progresses, the escalation process, and a glossary of common terms.

I've included only some of the most important elements of the communications management plan in the list of elements for the communications management plan. I recommend you review the entire list in the PMBOK® Guide.

Real World Scenario

Project case study: New Kitchen Heaven retail store

After creating the first draft of the project schedule network diagram, you went back to each stakeholder to ask for cost estimates for each of the activities. Ricardo's estimates are shown here with the activities he gave you last time:

1. Procure the T1 connection. This takes 30 to 45 days and will have ongoing costs of $3,000 per month. Procurement costs are covered in the monthly expense.

2. Run Ethernet cable throughout the building. The estimated time to complete is 16 hours at $100 per hour, which was figured using parametric estimating techniques.

3. Purchase the router, switch, server, and rack for the equipment room and four point-of-service terminals. The estimated costs are $17,000.

4. Install the router and test the connection. Testing depends on the T1 installation at demarcation. The time estimate to install is eight hours. Ricardo's staff will perform this activity at an average estimated cost of $78 per hour.

5. Install the switch. Based on past experience, the time estimate to install is two hours. Ricardo's staff will perform this activity at an average estimated cost of $78 per hour.

6. Install the server and test. Based on past experience, the estimate to install is six hours at $84 per hour.

7. The web team will add the new store location and phone number to the lookup function on the Internet site. The time estimate is two hours at $96 per hour.

Jake and Jill have each written similar lists with time and cost estimates. Using this information, you create the activity cost estimates and are careful to document the basis of estimates. The following list includes some of the information you document in the basis of estimates:

■ Ricardo's use of parametric estimates for his cost estimates.

■ Jake's use of both analogous and parametric estimating techniques.

■ Jill's use of reserve analysis to include contingencies for unplanned changes involving vendor deliveries.

■ Assumptions made about vendor deliveries and availability of the T1 and assumptions made regarding when lease payments begin.

■ The range of possible estimates is stated as plus or minus 10%.

You also document the cost performance baseline and project funding requirements. Since this project will occur fairly quickly, there are only two funding requirement periods needed.

The communications management plan is also complete, and you've asked the key stakeholder to review it before posting it to the intranet site for the project. You want to make certain you've identified stakeholder communication needs, the method of communication, and the frequency with which they will occur.

Project Case Study Checklist

The main topics discussed in the case study are as follows: Estimate Costs Determine Budget Cost aggregation Reserve analysis Expert judgment Parametric estimates Cost performance baseline Project funding requirements Plan Communications

Determine effective and efficient communications Review stakeholder register and stakeholder management strategy Communications requirements analysis Communication technology Communication models Communication methods Communications management plan Stakeholder needs Format and language for information Time frame and frequency of communication Person responsible for communication Methods for communicating Glossary of terms

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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