Join Terri Wagner for an in-depth discussion in this video Communicating through the life of the project, part of Project Management: Preventing Scope Creep.
Communication of information and coordination of efforts among the team members and the project manager are critical success factors on most projects. The objective is to ensure accurate, consistent, and timely communication of information to the business teams, project team, management, and a client when appropriate. Part of the overall project plan should contain a subsidiary element called the Communication Management Plan. Check out the exercise file I've included for some tips to consider when creating your communication management plan. The final output of your communication management plan will include things like stakeholder communication needs, organizational communication needs.
For example, if you have a PMO or a project management office, they will likely require periodic reports and other information. Next is content, level of detail and frequency of communication. This will usually address your progress, status and forecast reporting requirements. And then we have the timeframe for distribution, the person responsible for the communication, stakeholders to receive the different communication elements, escalation procedures, and any known urgency issues around the information.
The communication plan and other planning documents will outline who has to communicate what, when, and to whom. Progress reports will include information from the start of the project and all that has been accomplished. Status reports will share information on what's occurred since the last report. Forecast reports give an idea about whether you're on track to hit your project constraints around scope, schedule, and cost compared to your baseline information. When you start seeing increased slippage week over week, often that's an indication of scope creep.
If monitoring these reports closely, you can identify the root cause of the slippage early and prevent major variance with quick intervention. If legitimate added scope is required, the documents or templates and procedures are usually well communicated. This will be typical in a more mature organizations helping prevent scope creep. A mature organization will also typically have a dashboard reporting process on all projects within the portfolio. These dashboards often give an overall status of the project in green when the project is on track.
Yellow when you have a minor recoverable slip. Or red which represents serious variance, and recovery will be difficult if not impossible to achieve. Weekly public communication that can be viewed by all concerned stakeholders is valuable to allow sponsors and stakeholders to lend their expertise at the earliest sign of trouble in the project. Open communication with measurable data can only be done if thorough planning and documentation is done from the start of the project. The project manager will have an easier time creating that environment when the organization also has a strong, well-developed and thorough set of project processes and templates to support open communication throughout the project life cycle.
With this type of structured communication, scope creep is much less likely to occur. If you're not already using communication plans, start incorporating them in all your projects, even if they're just simple ones, like half a page captured in an Excel spreadsheet. The important step here is that you're actually creating a plan. You may certainly encounter situations that require far more detail and rigor. Until you need that level of formality, let's keep it simple and available. By doing this, you'll have a more informed team, and hopefully avoid miscommunication.
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- What is scope creep?
- Why does scope change?
- Factoring in organizational maturity
- Setting scope and requirements
- Building a budget
- Resetting unrealistic expectations
- Resolving communication issues with stakeholders<br><br>
- The PMI Registered Education Provider logo is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.