When I begin a new project, I include a Communication Plan as part of my team work. That is, we take the stakeholder list and think about who we need to be in communication with, as we move through the project phases. Some of you may do this based on an ARMI exercise (Approvers/ Resources/ Members/ Interested Parties) or Stakeholder Analysis exercise (List of key stakeholders and their estimated level of commitment to the project). We include activities like face-to-face conversations, presentations in department meetings, newsletter articles, postings on the web site, etc.

But even though we try to heed the mantra, “communicate 8 times, 8 ways” it seems like we always have a gap in our communication.

For example: Our team invites a key department leader to our project meeting; we discuss our project and get agreement as to next steps. We plan an elevator speech and ask the leader to discuss it at his/her next department meeting and get agreement to do that. We talk about possibly sending an email or posting information on the department’s bulletin board for those who can’t attend the meeting. All good so far!

Then, a week later – after the department meeting, and having seen for ourselves that the information is posted on the bulletin board, a few team members stroll through the department to gauge the level of buy-in. And – do they find that everyone is informed, interested, and enthusiastic about the project? Or, do they find that people are negative toward the new process that’s coming their way?

Why, no! We find that most people remember vaguely hearing something about some new process, and others just give us blank stares. When the bulletin board is mentioned, we get the response “Oh, I know it’s there but it never changes so I don’t look at it.”

So, what are our learnings from this type of situation? We only communicated once or twice, one or two ways – so obviously we would need to keep our communication plan active! But are there other ways that you have been successful communicating outside ofyour project team, as you make progress? Thanks in advance for sharing!

About the Author