There are three types of communication – mandatory, informational and marketing. When you create a Communication Plan for your project it might make sense to have different types of communication that fit into all three categories.

Mandatory

These types of communication are required by your company, your industry or by law.

  • Project Status Reports
  • Regular voicemail updates (of status)
  • Status meetings
  • Meetings with steering committee
  • Regular conference calls and videoconferences with remote stakeholders
  • Required reports to shareholders or your Board of Directors
  • Government required reports and other information
  • Required financial reporting such as budget vs. actuals, budget variances, etc.

This information is “pushed” (sent directly to) to recipients.

Informational

This is information people want to know or that they may need for their jobs. You put this information in a place that people can access and you tell them that it is there.

  • Awareness building sessions that people are invited to attend (these are not meant as training – just to build awareness of the project)
  • Project deliverables placed in a common repository, directory, website or library that people can access
  • Frequently-asked questions

This information is made available for people to read, but requires them to take the initiative, or “pull” the communication.

Marketing

These are designed to build buy-in and enthusiasm for the project and the deliverables. This communication is especially important if your project is going to change how people do their jobs. These types of projects are culture change initiatives.

  • Project newsletters with positive marketing spin
  • Meeting one-on-one with key stakeholders on an ongoing basis
  • Traveling road shows to various locations and departments to explain the project and benefits
  • Testimonials from others that describe how the project deliverables provided value
  • Contests with simple prizes to build excitement
  • Project acronyms and slogans to portray a positive images of the project
  • Project countdown-until-live date
  • Informal (but purposeful) walking around to initiate discussions about all the good things the project is accomplishing
  • Celebrations to bring visibility to the completion of major milestones
  • Project memorabilia with project name or image portrayed, such as pins, pencils, Frisbees, cups, T-shirts, etc.
  • Publicizing accomplishments

This type of communication is “pushed” to the readers.

The point of the examples is to 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. If the project is controversial, requires culture change or is political, the positive aspects of marketing communication become more and more critical.

 

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