“Plan ahead,” they tell us. Mothers and fathers, teachers, and bosses around the world teach this lesson. Whether it’s to plan an essay before writing it or to think before speaking, we tend to achieve the best results when we’ve anticipated any issue or obstacle in some sort of communication plan.
If there’s one thing that needs more planning than any other, that’s a business.
Every stage should be organized and carefully planned as a product is being developed. Any misunderstanding or disagreement in the middle of the development process can make the product fail.
This is why it’s so important for dev teams to have a project manager who watches over the process and creates a communication plan. Much like business process maps, the management communication plan helps a business become more effective. No matter how simple you may think your project is, it won’t run smoothly without a communication plan.
What is a project management communication plan?
A project management communication plan contains key information regarding all communication events. This includes communication between the dev team and the stakeholders as well as any other people related to the project. With businesses hiring remote developers more and more and making the turn to hybrid or remote working, having a sound communication plan is more crucial than ever.
The development team should agree on a communication method to inform stakeholders of important news. It also lists who, how, and when people will receive communications. The plan should also contain fixed deadlines for any documents or forms that need to be sent to the stakeholders and vice versa.
Unfortunately, this process can’t be automated by tools like robotics process automation. Create the plan after a discussion where all members are happy with the agreed schedule. After that, the communication plan should be accessible to everyone so all the members are aware of any deadlines.
The format of the communication plan can be adapted to each company. There isn’t a universal template. Some businesses prefer online calendars where every team member can view the meeting dates, though some find that a checklist with events works best for them.
The Benefits of a Management Communication Plan
Everyone knows that when there’s poor team communication, it’s very easy for something to go wrong. This works the same for partners, families, and, of course, businesses. It’s easier for a project to succeed when every team member knows where the important documents are saved and when they’ll be receiving crucial news from a client.
Prioritizing a task over another can be quite daunting, especially when starting a new project. It can be very easy to waste valuable time doing other less important work. Employee unproductivity is one of the issues project managers fear the most.
By having a schedule whereby every meeting has a date and an agenda, we can improve our team’s productivity. Because the communication plan is accessible to all, it can also be a great way of displaying positive results and completed goals to motivate the team.
When we’re creating our management communication plan, it’s very important to include deadlines and specific dates. If we leave clients in the dark, it can be very frustrating for them. Especially when they’re investing in your product.
By letting stakeholders know when they’ll receive communications from your team, you’ll create a sense of trust. Not only does this manage your client’s expectations, but it can also help the dev team manage theirs as all necessary information they need from the client will also be detailed in the plan.
Allows Businesses to Make Organized Decisions
If the development team creates an organized plan, this will benefit the communication between the dev team and the product owners. The plan should revolve around the company’s aims to help the business move forward.
Having effective meetings also lets product owners have an understanding of the team’s progress. You create a sense of clarity and transparency when both parties are in constant communication. Product owners can then use this information to plan future business actions.
Makes the Project More Manageable
When we start a new project, it can feel like the final product will take forever to materialize. A communication plan is a great tool that divides the complete process into milestones. It’s easier to monitor our progress if we have a calendar that reminds us of deadlines and meetings.
This doesn’t only help developers, it also ensures that stakeholders are constantly in the loop. Plan communication events ahead of time. That way, it’s easier for all team members to know they’re on the right path.
Captures Potential Clients
Communication is key to maintaining successful relationships with stakeholders and clients. Not only does it build trust between both parties, but it also keeps everyone informed at the same time, making it easier to tackle any future issues.
If we create a successful management communication plan, we’ll secure future relationships with clients. Great communication between parties leads to great results. If we maintain this during the future, we can attract many other clients and business partners.
How to Develop a Management Communication Plan
Now that we understand how important it is to create a management communication plan, it’s time to go through the basics of developing our plan. As mentioned before, there isn’t just one way to create a communication plan. Your dev team members should decide on the format you use.
The following questions will give you some initial guidance. Make sure you answer them before starting any new project.
1. What format will you use?
The first step is to choose a platform that’s familiar to you and your team. It should be easy for other members to add information such as feedback to it. Other participants should also be able to save and share the plan for future reference. This ensures that everyone’s on the same page.
There are many formats you can use to put your plan together. You can find a wealth of word documents and spreadsheet templates online that may work for you as a starting point. You can also complement the plan by using timelines and charts to display data like communication frequency.
2. Who are your stakeholders?
In any business, there are always different groups of people involved in the same project. We’ll call these people stakeholders. When planning a project, it’s crucial to identify who the stakeholders are from an early stage.
Ensures that your stakeholders are informed from the initial development phase. By including them in your communication plan from the start, your schedule will remind you to inform them every time there’s a communication event planned. This is the key to keeping your business partners happy.
3. What are your methods of communication?
Once you’ve identified who your stakeholders are, you should decide how you’ll communicate with them. You can use different methods for each group of people. Just make sure you adapt to their usual communication method to ensure fast responses. Systems like computer telephony integration (CTI) are becoming an increasingly popular communication method.
Another effective communication method is holding meetings. Nowadays, most meetings are held remotely, so your team may need to consider installing video conferencing software or setting a business VoIP for calls. You can also update your stakeholders with weekly reports or presentations via email to save time.
4. How frequent are your communications?
When you’re planning your communication frequency you should be as specific as possible. Saying you’ll update stakeholders regularly about the progress made by the team is not enough. You should be clear about how many times a week or a month you’ll inform them.
A good example of this is to write that you’ll send weekly updates via email on Tuesdays about the progress made by your team. However, it’s no use setting communication goals if you can’t sustain them. That’s why it’s very important to be realistic about the communication frequency.
5. Who provides communication updates?
Most of the time, communication updates will be sent by the project manager to stakeholders. However, on some occasions, it can be beneficial to include other team members in this task. If you’re planning to use different communication methods, it may be easier to have different people working on them.
Though the project manager has the leading role, making sure the plan and schedule stay on track is everyone’s responsibility. If every member of the dev team is involved in the communication plan, the product will help the process run smoothly.
Start planning your communication…today!
The very best dev team communication is all about being organized. A chaotic business will never deliver great results. It’s like a restaurant that doesn’t create a menu or a call center that completely ignores logging calls. It just won’t work.
To make the best of your project, you must create a plan that adapts to every member of the dev team. Stakeholders should also be happy with the communication methods and frequency you’ve planned. Start answering the questions in this guide and you’ll have created the perfect plan for both you and your team.