The 7th area of knowledge of the Project Management Book of Knowledge (PMBOK) is focused on project communications management. This proposal is addressed to the creation, compilation, distribution, storage, recovery, and final disposition of all the information for it to be accurate and appropriate.
As in any other area, the information follows the communication management 5W and the project manager should take them into account if they want to succeed.
Our starting point are the communications which, sometimes, are even more important than the technical project itself because they allow information to flow normally without misunderstandings or confusions within the project management.
Project communication management is divided into three main parts:
- Communications management plan
- Use of communications
- Control of communications
1. Project communications plan
The right project communication, both with the members involved and with the interested stakeholders, is crucial for the plan to be carried out successful. Many projects don’t catch on due to poor communications. Therefore, heavy focus must be on the initial strategy that will lead to the achievement of the goals.
The PMBOK guide states that we have to identify basic or standard needs: progress updates and newsletters to investors among others. The contents of these communications must have been planned in advanced and this planning is captured in the strategy itself in two different sections: exit and entry.
The entry or internal communications section includes:
- Project management plan
- Record of the interested people
- Enviromental factors of the enterpirse
- Assets of the organizational processes.
In order to do that, as in the two following points, the tools and techniques used are linked with information technology, communication models, methods and meetings.
The exit or external communications section includes:
- Management plan
- Project documents with their corresponding updates
It cannot be ignored that project planning deliverables are communication tools and that project managers are communicators who collect, unify and distribute information so that the team can act in a coordinated way. The documents are valuable, but they do not speak for themselves.
2. Management of project communications
During the project execution stage, the management of the communication is crucial. The communications with the agents involved or part of the involved target groups must be identified in the communications management plan.
For example, if the project was about developing a programme for the urbanisation of an area, the agents involved or affected by the project could be the owners of the land and the administrations, even though the consumer is the final buyer of the house. If we don’t correctly manage the communication with the agents involved who are not participating actively on the project development, we may receive negative opinions that might complicate or even stop the development of the plan.
We must ensure everything and not facilitate random communications. The creation, distribution and storage of communications is an important process within project management and it requires the full attention of its manager.
3. Project communications control
Considering that communication plays an essential role in the development of our project, having strong and strict control is a mandatory task that provides security and confidence. In order to do so, it is very important to analyse the given results and to make reports from these.
The project manager must be part of the Control and Monitoring team to know, which is the state of each stage, task or activity with the objective of supervising its functioning and to check that it achieves the set goals. In addition, the manager or person in charge of the plan oversees quality control, scope and other control elements and he/she must also ensure that each actor receives appropriate communication and assesses possible changes to improve processes.
The area referred to the entries includes, apart from the ones mentioned before, the registry issuance. The tools and techniques are based on the information management system, the judgement or criteria of an expert and the meetings.
In the exit section, we should include:
- Information about the performance at work
- Change requests
- Plan updates
- The documentation that refers to the organizational aspects of the assets that intervene in the processes
This article belongs to a series on the 10 areas of knowledge of PMBOK. Take a look at the articles already published: