Chapter 10

Setting Up a Communication Plan

You might wonder why you have to plan communication. After all, you've been communicating all your life. Unfortunately, communication is the source of many problems and projects are no exception. Are you overwhelmed with emails — and frustrated when you receive emails that have nothing to do with you? Have plans gone awry because someone didn't listen to a voicemail message you left? Or do you sit in a meeting and wish that the person talking would get to the point?

There's always room to improve communication, whether you want to get your point across more effectively or truly listen to what others are saying. This chapter discusses techniques for communicating better, whether you're talking or listening, meeting in person, or communicating via email or some other means.

As a project manager, you spend most of your time communicating with others. You might communicate with the customer, management team, and other stakeholders to gain their concurrence on project objectives. You communicate assignments to team members and receive reports on work status from them in return. Perhaps the sponsor or another stakeholder tells you about an issue that needs to be resolved. And you update everyone involved about the project status — except that the status you provide to team members is a lot different than the status you deliver to the management team.

Communication becomes an especially big job when dozens or even hundreds of people are involved ...

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