Project Communications Management

Communication is simply the exchange of information between two or more parties. There’s the sender of the message, the receiver and then there’s the message itself. These are three of the seven elements that the communication model is made up of.

There’s communication, and then there’s effective communication. In order to make the communication model effective, we need to add a few more elements. For example, the sender needs to encode the information (translate the information into thoughts or ideas that can be understood by others). The sender then needs to select the appropriate vehicle (a medium such as e-mail, letter, text message, touch, or phone call) to convey the message. The receiver then needs to decode this message i.e. translate it back into understandable and meaningful thoughts and ideas. Ideally the receiver should then provide feedback to the sender in the form of either an acknowledgement or additional questions to clarify the message. The purpose behind this is to have a communication circle of a clearly understood actionable exchange of information, ideas, or directions that produce the desired results.

Communication is extremely important from the point of view of project management, that’s why you’ll most likely see several questions related to communication on the PMP exam in areas such as risk management, scope management, and status reporting.

What is the Project Manager’s Role in Communications

Communication is without doubt the most important aspect of project management. Effective communication is an essential skill that helps the PM to keep the team and stakeholders informed about the different aspects of a project. It is essential for a Project Manager to develop this skill to successfully utilize it as part of the Project Communications Management knowledge area.

Effective communication is a skill that is honed and developed your entire life. Communicating is not just about the sender. It is a two-way street, where both the sender and the receiver continuously influence each other as information travels back and forth, on sometimes non-verbal, hardly perceptible levels.

Project Communications Management Processes

According to PMI, the five processes associated with communications management are:

    Identify stakeholders: A part of the Initiating process group, this is the process of recognizing all the people and organizations affected by the project and documenting specific information concerning their interests, level of involvement and impact on the success of the project.
    Plan communications: Part of the Planning process group, this involves identifying stakeholder information needs and approach to project communications.
    Distribute information: (Executing process group) The process of making relevant information available to project stakeholders as planned.
    Manage stakeholder expectations: Its about working with the stakeholders to meet their communication needs and dealing with issues as they occur. This forms a part of the Monitoring and Controlling process group.
    Report performance: This involves collecting and distributing performance data, such as status reports, progress measurements, and forecasts. The process group is Monitoring and Controlling.