How to Develop an Effective Project Communication Plan: Templates & Examples
Successful projects run on effective communication. That’s why communication planning is so important.
Let’s take a closer look at what a communication plan is and how and why you should develop one for your projects.
What is a project communication plan?
A project communication plan sets clear guidelines for how and when information will be shared, as well as who’s responsible for and needs to be looped in on each project communication.
This simple document helps streamline communication through the most efficient and effective channels for project teams and stakeholders.
Why is a communication plan important in project management?
There’s no denying the importance of communication in project management. After all, your project plan needs a steady stream of communication to stay on track. Otherwise deadlines get missed, and stakeholders get frustrated.
As the project manager, you’ve already mapped out every task and deliverable to get you across the finish line. Why not do the same for project communications?
A communication plan strengthens every project by setting clear expectations for how and when updates will be shared. It also establishes written documentation everyone can turn to if—and when—questions arise.
What are the benefits of a communication plan in project management?
Let’s take the why a step further and unpack the project benefits you’ll see with a communication management plan in place.
An effective project communication plan:
- Reduces random requests for project updates
- Clearly outlines where important project information resides
- Increases visibility of the project and status
- Provides opportunities for feedback to be shared
- Boosts the productivity of team meetings
- Ensures the project continues to align with goals
What should a project communication plan include?
Now that you know how a communication plan benefits your projects, let’s take a look at 5 key components you’ll need to build one.
Every good communication management plan should answer the 5 Ws: who, what, when, where, and why. The following communication plan elements will help you answer these important questions.
5 components of a communication plan
- Communication requirements: This communication plan element defines your what. It describes all the different touchpoints or communications your project will need to succeed.
- Goal: Every project communication should have a purpose. Otherwise, you’re taking precious time away from progress. If you can’t explain why an email or meeting is necessary, leave it out of your communication plan.
- Communication method: This component explains where project communication will happen—whether it’s an email, in-person meeting, designated Slack channel, or TeamGantt discussion.
- Frequency: Setting clear intervals for when communications will be delivered is important for any communication plan. For example, team standup meetings might happen daily, while project status reports get sent out once a week.
- Communication lead and target audience: Finally, don’t forget to define your who. This component includes the person responsible for managing each project communication, as well as the team members and stakeholders on the receiving end.
How to create an effective communication plan for a project
Ready to develop a communications plan for your next project? Writing an effective project management communication plan is as simple as following these 5 steps.
Step 1: List your project’s communication needs
Every project is different, so start by determining the size of the project, the nature of work being done, and even the client’s unique preferences.
Then, make a list of which types of communication this project needs to succeed.
Step 2: Define the purpose of your communications
Bombarding people with too many emails or unnecessary meetings can interfere with their ability to get work done and cause them to overlook important updates. Be purposeful in your plan, and ensure every communication you include has a reason for being.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, go ahead and outline a basic agenda for the topics that will be covered in each meeting or report.
Step 3: Choose a communication method
Do you really need a meeting to share weekly updates, or is your project discussion board enough? Think through how your team works best, so they can stay in the loop while still being productive.
So how do you know what’s right for the project? Review past projects to see what worked well—and what didn’t. Then ask your team and stakeholders about their communication styles and preferences. After all, a weekly email’s no good if no one reads it!
Step 4: Set a cadence for your project communication
Establish a regular frequency for communication to streamline your process and set clear expectations from the get-go.
This not only frees you from fielding random requests for status updates. It also enables project members to carve out space for important meetings and reports ahead of time.
Step 5: Identify the owner and stakeholders related to each communication
As the project manager, you’ll be responsible for most communications, but there may be some you want to delegate to others. Assign ownership to create accountability so your carefully crafted plan can reach its full potential.
While you’re naming names, list the audience or stakeholders for each communication type too. That way key players come prepared to provide updates when needed.
Project communication plan examples
You know your team and stakeholders best, so how you organize the details is up to you. Just be sure it’s easy to understand. These examples show you 3 different options for structuring the same communication plan.
Simple matrix communications plan example
This example outlines different project communications and features basic elements every good communication plan should include.
Communication plan example by method
In this sample communication plan, we've grouped project communications by delivery method to make communication planning easier.
Project communication plan example by audience
This project management communication plan example clearly defines who should receive which communication so no one misses an important update.
Free project communication plan template
Want to save time creating your communication plan? Download our free project communication plan template to get started faster.
Simply choose your favorite format, and customize the details to fit your project, team, and stakeholders.
Tips for managing project communications in TeamGantt
With TeamGantt, it’s easy to put your communication plan into everyday practice. Here are just a few ways you can streamline and manage project communication using TeamGantt.
Upload your communication plan to your project
Upload your communication plan, along with the project scope document, to your project’s planning task or Files tab.
Add key meetings as milestones in your gantt chart
Add major meetings or presentations as milestones to your gantt chart.
Share a view-only link to your timeline with stakeholders
Share a PDF or view-only URL of your project so clients and stakeholders can stay up-to-date on progress without getting bogged down by nitty-gritty project details.
Use the discussion board to collaborate on tasks
Collaborate with team members on project tasks and share files using the comments feature.
Request a progress update directly from a task
Check in on tasks with team members using the Request a progress update feature. TeamGantt will send anyone who's assigned to that task an email asking them to update the percent complete.
Streamline your project communication for absolutely free
Want to eliminate project clutter and confusion?
With TeamGantt, you can keep all your tasks, documents, and conversations in a single centralized hub. That means everyone can find the latest files, chats, and updates without wasting precious project time.