Although this chapter comes at the end, research is the first step in developing a successful project communication strategy. The chapter discusses different research methodologies and how they can be used not only to inform the strategy, but to check if it is working. These are key activities for the project communicator and where practiced help to lift the function to the strategic position it deserves.
It comes as no surprise that plans are important in project communication, but what plans are needed and how should they be structured? How can planning help to deliver great communication without becoming onerous? Intelligent planning ensures that best use is being made of resources and helps to align communication at project, programme and portfolio level.
Channels and tactics
This is a very practical chapter. It discusses different communication channels and tactics and what they are most suitable for. It separates out one-way from two-way channels and helps project communicator select the best way to communicate project messages.
What should the project be saying and how should it say it? What is the right tone of voice? What makes a message memorable? How can we ensure that our project messages are aligned with those of the wider organisation? What is the secret of good leadership communication? This chapter helps the project communicator to tell the project story in a way that will engage stakeholders.
Good stakeholder relationships are key to project success and the communication function should be at the heart of stakeholder engagement. This chapter proposes a new model for understanding the role of stakeholders from a communication perspective and the communication approach at each stage of the project lifecycle.
Strategic communication planning goes much further than plotting dates and deliverables on project plan. This chapter explains how to develop communication strategies that really work. A model sets out what objectives should be set for at different stages of the project lifecycle.
Communicating Projects is all about helping projects to succeed through communication. Often considered a ‘soft skill’ good communication has its roots in theory and careful planning and is anything but ‘soft’. It’s tough to get right. Sometimes it feels like you can never get it right!
But it is incredibly rewarding when project stakeholders ‘get’ what the project is doing and want to be involved. Not all projects have the luxury of a large, experienced communication team and this book is aimed at those practitioners who suddenly find themselves in a project communication role but maybe without any experience in this specialist discipline. It will also be helpful to project managers who need to commission communication work by setting out what they should expect from their communication function.
The book includes some toolkit items – for example, a template for a communication strategy and for those that enjoy a bit of theory, vignettes explore key themes in more detail.