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.
The easiest way to start creating a plan is to start with the initial framework to answer the following questions:
- What do I need to communicate?
- Who do I need to communicate to?
- What medium should I use?
- When should the communications be sent?
Some additional points could include:
- Content creator (who is responsible for creating the message, email, PowerPoint presentation)
- Responsibility (who will deliver the message. example: sponsor, training manager, team director)
- 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:
|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|
|8||Change Email 2 – Overview of Change – More on Change||Supply Chain/Area Controllers/Liaisons/Admins|
Your plan is customizable. If a visual timeline is not appropriate for your communication plan, then replace it with a column labeled:
- Frequency of communication
- Target date for distribution
That way, you can still address the roll-out schedule without the extra columns.
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.
Mona Mortazavi, MBA, PMP, LSSGB is a project and change management professional based in Houston, Texas. In her current role, she manages projects for Waste Management in the Supply Chain Operations group. Mona’s primary experience has been in leading software implementation projects and process improvement transformation initiatives in the finance, supply chain, real estate, and human resources disciplines. With experience in the utilities and environmental services industries, her true focus is in creating best practice programs for the projects she leads. Mona writes about project planning and change management.