What are we trying to achieve?

Setting the objective for a programme or project is something that some managers and organisations give too little analysis. The instinct is to say “make me widget X” or “make this new organisation structure happen”.  That simply defines the solution that seems obvious at the time. For some projects that is enough but for many that is like saying “go to Plymouth” without say why or what you need to be ready to do when you get there.

For a project team to be successful, it helps to know what the end state needs to be and why you need that end. Read more of this post

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Non-participation in project meetings

You have gathered your whole team for a meeting. It is important to get them all in a room from time to time but that is a lot of people. You’ve had to hire a cinema or conference hall.

You want it to be engaging but you don’t seem to have all their attention. You know your presentation skills are OK and that they are interested to hear what you have to say because they asked you to explain this bit. Read more of this post

Communicating with the world

Some projects simply need more publicity than others. With budgets being squeezed what can you do to get the message out?

Social Medial might help but recognise that, like any tool, it has its limitations and risks. A social media trend (in old media it might have been called a buzz) can be created by more than one person posting contributions about a particular key word. That means like every other part of your project, you’ll need to plan and co-ordinate the work. Read more of this post

IT Project failure: can we blame the techies?

The business commentators have noticed: IT is not giving most businesses the benefits they claim IT should.   The projects themselves bring change that the businesses and their people aren’t handling properly.  IT projects lock wasteful practices into new systems. The dream and the promises have been broken.

It is so easy to throw stones at IT people. Read more of this post

Communication Planning – review

You have the communication plan in place but does it all fit together? The project management team should check this part of the plan together and consider:

  • Are all the stakeholders considered in the plan?
  • Does the plan support the project team getting the information and commitment they need from stakeholders?
  • Does it fit with the organisation’s context and other activity?
  • Has risk management looked at and planned for communication activity?
  • Have the right resources scheduled?
  • Is there a training plan to make those involved more effective?

Now review the project objective and budget. Check that what you have planned drives the project towards its goal and is proportionately affordable.

Finally, schedule time for the project management team to check the communication plans again at major milestones. The plan may need to change: projects change direction, organisational contexts change and stakeholders change their views.

Risk Management for Communication

One area of communication planning work that can be forgotten is dealing with the response.  Some communications will provoke an adverse reaction. Others asking for feedback will get a greater response than expected.  Read more of this post

Planning Resources and Training for Communication

 So far in your notes you have:

  • who needs what information when,
  • how you get feedback and information from stakeholder,
  • the timing and format of the communication. 

Now we need to add that work to the project schedule and assign the right resources. Read more of this post

Planning Stakeholder Communication

The main part of the communication plan is for communication with stakeholders.

Some preparatory work is needed:

  • who the stakeholders are 
  • what information they can give
  • their areas of influence 
  • their information needs

Read more of this post

Planning Communication with the Team

Planning for formal communications with the project team might seem to pre-empt the project manager’s role.  However, deciding the frequency, style and timing of communication with the team is important.  Read more of this post

Planning Communication for Governance

The first part of the planning should be about responsibilities and governance.  If this is decided early, then the decision-making process is easier when the project is under pressure.  Read more of this post