More on Project Communications

At one of the companies I have worked one of the documents each project is required to submit to the PMO is the “Project Management Plan (PMP)”. The PMP provides a mechanism in which to centrally locate many of the projects individual management plans including the Communication Plan, the Risk/Issue Management Plan, the Cost Management Plan, Change Management Plan, and the Document Management Plan.  PMI says that managing communications includes the methods essential to guarantee timely and correct planning of information used to run the project. This includes the gathering, dissemination, managing, controlling, monitoring, and eventual storing of project documentation (Project Management Institute, 2012).

Now, it’s not the typical plan that one would think of, nor is it a project schedule. This documents objective is to describe the project management system the team is going use to manage the project. The most important part of this whole document is the Communication Plan.

PMI points out that there is a need to define, plan and manage communications (Project Management Institute, 2012). I’ve learned through the years of managing projects that communications is all important. If you don’t communicate with the stakeholders and your team what is going on at any given moment in your project, your project will likely fail.

With the Communication plan we determined what types of communication would be required including status reports, Business Requirements Document, Functional Requirement Documents, Project Plan, Project Schedule, Financial Communications, and as you can see, the forms and types of communication are many (Westland, 2006).

Many of these types of communication were determined by utilizing other documents such as the Stakeholder Register, the Charter and Scope, as well as the project management plan (Project Management Institute, 2012).

The PMP also help us to define how we were going to communicate certain events in the project such as change management: Verzuh points out that the Change Management Plan should be tailored to fit your specific function (Verzuh, 2009). And he’s right because it is not one size fits all in Project Management.

The PMP plan describes the roles and responsibilities of those able to request changes and those who approve the changes. Its plan describes when a Change Request is required:

  • Changes to the project’s scope / Business Requirements have been identified or requested.
  • Changes to the project’s budget have been identified or requested.
  • Changes to the project’s schedule have been identified or requested.

The plan requires that a Change Request Form be used to request a change and that it must be submitted to the Change Review Board for approval. In our case there is no maximum dollar limit, every change request no matter the cost has to be approved by the business sponsors.

The Project Manager has to be a communicator as well as a leader. They cannot be afraid to bring bad news to the forefront. Good news doesn’t always happen in projects. But the bad news could help in keeping the project from going from bad to worse. I would rather be accused of over communicating than to be accused of under communicating. When I over communicate I can always cut back. I under communicating once and I lost my job.


Project Management Institute. (2013). A guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK guide), fifth edition.

Newtown Square, PA: Author.

Verzuh, E. (2012). The fast forward MBA in project management, fourth edition. Hoboken, NJ:

John Wiley & Sons.

Westland, J. (2006). The project management life cycle: A complete step-by-step methodology for initiating, planning, executing and closing the project

successfully. London: Kogan Page.

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Author: Rich Garling

Successful results-driven experience in IT program/project management, focusing on collaborating with multiple businesses and IT workstreams to define detailed business process requirements into workable enterprise software solutions for retail, finance, pharmaceutical, and inventory processes. A successful proven track record in leading cross-functional international teams of project managers while managing expectations and delivering projects of greater than $10M within stakeholder expectations. Provided an in-depth knowledge of SDLC using Agile and Waterfall project management methodologies (Scrum Master (SMC)), MS IT Management/Project Management (AMU)), and a talent for developing business requirements delivering workable technology solutions. Rich holds a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Information Technology/Project Management from American Military University. He is currently a Project Manager III for Bradford Hammacher Group in Niles, IL/