For many small and medium projects, status reports and
status meetings may be all that is required for formal communication. However,
on a large project, all communication should take place within the context of
an overall Communications Plan.
When you build a Communication Plan, you need to determine
who your stakeholders are and then determine what information they need to
The most interesting part of the Communications Plan
involves marketing communication that is targeted toward people that you want
to influence. Typically, marketing communication is used to build excitement
and interest in your project. The rationale for marketing communication is that
it is much easier to implement a solution when the people that are impacted are
excited, rather than when they are confused, frightened, or ambivalent. If the
project is controversial, requires culture change or is political, the positive
aspects of marketing communication become more and more critical.
Marketing communication is used to build enthusiasm. Here
are some examples. You may have been on a project that utilized these
techniques and you know how effective they can be if done right.
newsletters. This should make sense. Have you ever seen a newsletter that
contained bad news? Not usually. These are meant for marketing purposes so
they always focus on positive news.
road shows to various locations and departments to explain the project and
from others that describe how the project deliverables provided value.
People like to hear successes from other “real” employees. It
gives your project more credibility.
with simple prizes to build excitement. The contests could even be about
the project name. Yes, they are a little corny, but they can be very
effective in building interest if they are done right.
acronyms and slogans to portray a positive image of the project. For
example, it might be better to call your project a proactive name like “MarketForce” instead of the more mundane “Marketing
Department Database Project.”
countdown-until-live date. If you have done other things right, people
will be anticipating your live date — not dreading it.
(but purposeful) walking around to initiate discussions about all the good
things the project is accomplishing.
to bring visibility to the completion of major milestones. People like to
celebrate as long as you don’t go overboard.
memorabilia with project name or image portrayed, such as pins, pencils,
Frisbees, cups, T-shirts, etc.
accomplishments. Make sure people know when you do good things.
These examples show that project communication can take many
shapes and forms. For large projects especially, the project team should be
creative in determining how, what, to whom, where,and how frequently the communication takes place.