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What’s the most important skill a project manager has? Communication. Project
managers spend about ninety percent of their time communicating. Think about
it: meetings, phone calls, memos, emails, reports, presentations, and the list goes
on and on. Project managers spend the bulk of their day communicating news, ideas, and knowledge. A Project manager is a communicator.

ProjectCommunications Management centers on determining who needs what
information and when—and then produces the plan to provide the needed information.

Project Communications Management includes generating, collecting, disseminating, and storing communication. Successful projects require successful communication.

Communication is the key link between people, ideas, and information.
Project CommunicationsManagement includes four processes, which may overlap
each other and other knowledge areas.

The four processes are:
■ Communication planning The project manager will need to identify the
stakeholders and their communication needs and determine how to fulfill
their requirements.
■ Information distribution The project manager will need to get the correct
information on the correct scheduleto the appropriate stakeholders.
■ Performance reporting The project manager will rely on EVM and other
performance measurement to create status reports, measure performance, and
forecast project conditions.
■ Administrative closure The project manager will need a routine of
documentation, communication, and information distribution to close out
a phase or project.

CommunicationsPlanning
Because project managers spend so much of their time invested in communications,

it’s essential for them to provide adequate planning for communication. Such planning focuses on who needs what information and when they need it. A project manager must identify the stakeholders’ requirements for communication, determine what information is actually needed, and then plan to deliver the neededinformation on a preset schedule or based on project conditions.

Communications planning is typically completed early in the project. As part of
this planning, the modality of the communications is documented. Some stakeholders may prefer a hard copy document rather than an email. Later in the project these needs can change. Throughout the project, the needs of the stakeholders, the type ofinformation requested, and the modality of the information should be reviewed for accuracy—and updated if needed.
Identifying Communication Requirements
Stakeholders will need different types of information depending on their interest in
the project and the priority of the project. The project manager will need to complete an analysis of the identified stakeholders to determine what informationthey actually need—and how often the information is needed.

There is no value in expending resources on generating information, reports,
and analyses for stakeholders who have no interest in the information. An accurate
assessment of stakeholders’ needs for information is required early in the project
planning processes.

As a rule of thumb, provide information when its presence contributesto success or when a lack of information can contribute to failure.

The project manager and the project team can identify the demand for
communications on the basis of the following requirements:
■ Project structure within the performing organization
■ Stakeholder responsibility
■ Departments and disciplines involved with the project work
■ Number of individuals involved in the projectand their locale
■ Number and type of external communication needs (media, community,
or customers)

In the real world, the project manager will need to identify the number of communication channels within a project. Here’s a magic formula to
calculate the number of communication channels: N(N-1)/2, where N represents
the number of identified stakeholders. For example, if a project has 10...
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