Creating a communication plan, a critical component of project change management

by Mona Mortazavi
0 comment 65 views

Creating a communication plan that delivers the right messages, to the right audiences, at the right time is a critical component of your project’s change management. The plan should be a living document; a robust roadmap of your messaging throughout the project’s lifecycle. 

Every project has a change element, and taking the time and effort to create a thoughtful plan will help ensure you reach your target audiences and properly prepare them for any changes. 

Plan framework

The easiest way to start creating a plan is to start with the initial framework to answer the following questions:

  1. What do I need to communicate?
  2. Who do I need to communicate to?
  3. What medium should I use?
  4. When should the communications be sent?

Some additional points could include:

  1. Content creator (who is responsible for creating the message, email, PowerPoint presentation)
  2. Responsibility (who will deliver the message. example: sponsor, training manager, team director)
  3. Notes section

Here is how you can structure the plan’s framework with items 1 – 4 listed above. The below example includes a daily visual timeline:

Exhibit A

  Communication Audience Method of Communication 15-Oct 16-Oct 17-Oct 18-Oct 19-Oct 20-Oct 21-Oct 22-Oct 23-Oct
1 New Process Introduction Supply Chain Leadership Team Face-to-Face Meeting                  
2 PMO Call – New Process Introduction Supply Chain Call/WebEx                  
3 Deep-Dive: New Process Discussion Area Procurement Liaisons Call/WebEx                  
4 Area Controllers Process Introduction – Focus Group Area Finance Controllers – Focus Group Call/WebEx                  
5 Area Controllers New Process Communication Area Finance Controllers Call/WebEx                  
6 Pre-UAT Briefing Call UAT Testers Call/WebEx                  
7 Change Email 1 – Overview of Change – Coming Soon Supply Chain/Area Controllers/Liaisons/Admins Email                  
8 Change Email 2 – Overview of Change – More on Change Supply Chain/Area Controllers/Liaisons/Admins Email                  

Your plan is customizable. If a visual timeline is not appropriate for your communication plan, then replace it with a column labeled: 

or 

  • Target date for distribution

That way, you can still address the roll-out schedule without the extra columns. 

Communications tracking

While having a communication plan is critical, just creating the plan doesn’t fulfill all its requirements. You’ll still need to make sure you track progress against your original set goals, like any project plan, and communicate progress to your team and stakeholders.

I picked this up from a boss/mentor years ago, and it has stuck with me – BRAG status. Blue, Red, Amber, Green. The project management standard is RAG, and I have seen RAG+B in some places where B means something completely different, so use them however you choose. 

This is one way you can share progress against your plan and delays if any:

Exhibit B

BRAG Status
B R A G
Complete Risk of Delay Potential Delay On-time

 Exhibit C

  Communication Audience Method of Communication 15-Oct 16-Oct 17-Oct 18-Oct 19-Oct

BRAG

1 New Process Introduction Supply Chain Leadership Team Face-to-Face Meeting            
2 PMO Call – New Process Introduction Supply Chain Call/WebEx            

Communications post-go live

Just because you went live with your project, doesn’t mean the communications end there. Make sure you build in follow-up communications, pulse surveys, etc. to keep your audiences engaged and embracing the change.  Example post-go-live communications:

  1. Post-go-live reminders 
  2. Post-go-live training (a catch-all for those who missed pre-go live training)
  3. Post-go-live tips
  4. Post-go-live best practices
  5. Pulse survey, how are we doing?

As a reminder, the framework, plan content, and status should be updated consistently and maintained to guarantee any added requirements, stakeholders, and additional changes are addressed. 

What are some other tips you can share for creating an effective and robust communication plan?

 

Similar Content:

You may also like

Leave a Comment