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Project Communications Management

What is Project Communications Management?

Project communications management centers on the processes to deliver, collect, distribute, store, and retrieve project information to all internal and external project organization environments.

The following processes and the primary goals of Project communications management are defined as:

  • Plan communications. Goal: communications management plan
  • Manage communications. Goal: project communications
  • Control communications. Goal: work performance information, change requests

Project Communications Management

Project communications management identifies the processes required to assure the collection, generation, distribution, storage, retrieval, and the timely disbursement of project information to all project stakeholders and project team members.

Plan Communications identifies how information will be made available based on stakeholder needs and requirements, as well as defining an approach to Project communications.

Manage Communications addresses how information will be created, collected, distributed, stored and retrieved or otherwise made available to project stakeholders.

Control Communications addresses the process of monitoring and controlling project performance information to ensure the communications needs of stakeholders are met.

Communications Management Plan

The key output of Plan Communications is the creation of the Communications Management Plan. The primary tools for delivering the communications management plan include the following:

  • Communications Requirements Analysis - determines the information needs of the project stakeholders. This can be accomplished by interviewing all stakeholders and determining their specific communications needs for the project.
  • Communication Technology - defines the technology needed for the project communications.  This can range from face-to-face meetings to video and audio communications platforms designed to facilitate meetings of distributed teams.
  • Communication Models - will generally follow the encode-message-medium-decode process.  See the following page for the sender-receiver communication model.
  • Communication Methods - there are a number of communication methods, however,  they can be broadly classified into three following approaches: Interactive Communication, Push Communication,Pull Communication

Communication Sender-Receiver Model

The Mathematical Theory of Communication co-authored by Claude Elwood Shannon and Warren Weaver in 1948, has become the most widely adopted sender-receiver communication model. The Shannon-Weaver model, combined probability theory with something Shannon called ‘information entropy’, which measured the uncertainty in a message. The sender- receiver model consists of:
  • An encoded idea - in a form that the receiver can understand
  • The message and feedback - the output of encoding
  • Medium - the medium is the message is transmitted over
  • Noise level - any environmental disruptions that can impact the reception of the message
  • The decoded idea - the receiver's interpretation or understanding of the received message
It is the sender's responsibility to make sure that the information is clear and complete and to ensure that the message is correctly understood. It is the receiver's responsibility for ensuring the message was received in its entirety, understood and acknowledged to the sender.

PMP Certification Exam - Communications Management - Memory Check

  • ___Plan communications management
  • ___Manage communications
  • ___Control communications

A. The process of guiding communications throughout the entire project lifecycle to ensure the information needs of the project stakeholders are met

B. The process of developing an appropriate approach for project communications based on stakeholders information needs and requirements, and available organizational assets

C. The process of creating, collecting, distributing, storing, retrieving and the ultimate disposition of project information in accordance with the communications management plan

Question 1: You are managing a project in which there is a large procurement activity. One of the stakeholders approaches you with the need for a change. You have an off-line meeting with the stakeholder and discuss the change, decide it can be done and agree to implement. What mistake has the project manager made here?

a. You forgot to consult with senior management
b. You forgot to consult with other stakeholders on the team
c. Contract changes require a formal written approval
d. You forgot to perform an impact assessment

Question 2:
The project manager is managing a nine member team. Two members are removed and reassigned from the team. How many lines of communication have been removed from the team?

a. 17
b. 16
c. 15
d. 14

Question 3: You have just finished a recent progress meeting when an important technical issue emerged. With the help of two technical team members, you craft a detailed document, which is e-mailed to the rest of the team describing the issue and what can be done about it. What percentage of the message is actually going to be understood by the recipients?

a. 55%
b. 7%
c. 38%
d. 93%
Answer: C – Don’t get fooled by this question. It addresses a procurement issue, but it’s really about the correct form of communication to use in the situation. Contracts always require a formal written approval if change to the contract is needed

Answer: A – Did you forget the PM in the team count? (10*9)/2 = 45. (8*7)/2 = 28. 45 – 28 = 17

Answer: B – Paralingual studies show that only 7% of the message is contained in the words. 38% is contained in the vocal pitch and tone. 55% is contained in the body language. Per analytical research from Albert Mehrabian in his book “Silent Messages”.