PRINCE2® and Your Communication Management Policy

    When it’s time to figure out how to approach communication management on your projects, you need to start from the top down.  Step 1 is to establish a communication management policy and high-level approach that applies consistently across all projects in the organization.  Once that is agreed upon, then it’s time to figure out the details.   It is essential that senior management periodically review the suitability and performance of the communication policy and approach at the project level.  In addition, all staff members should perform their project communication activities in accordance with the requirements of the deployed approach.  
    So let’s take a look at this big picture, and how we might build a communication management policy or standard aligned with PRINCE2.  When you are looking at the requirements for communication management, be sure that they clearly apply to any aspect of programs, projects, processes and operations that have the potential to impact the quality of the organization’s products and services.  You must look at all types and levels of communications, both internal and external to the organization, its programs and its projects. You need to build the structure, a high-level communications management approach, responsibilities of management and staff, and the project-level plans needed for implementation and maintenance.
    Consistent and clear communications is the cornerstone to achieving effective project outcomes.  Your communication policy should align with the PRINCE2 approach to engaging stakeholders by establishing controlled and bi-directional information flow.   In PRINCE2, communication is part of the Controls theme, focused on ensuring that projects remain viable against their business case, produce the required products and are carried out according to plan.  Effective communications are intended to bridge the gap between project stakeholders, provide consistent reports on project performance and create a common understanding of the desired project outcome.A communication policy should be clearly stated and adopted for risk management on all projects.  For example, a communication policy statement might read as follows:  To facilitate efficient and capable guidance and reporting of all project communications, Company X staff members and vendors will ensure the Communication Management Standard is followed and guidance for approaching communications is consistently carried out.The communication management approach is more detailed than the strategic communication policy, and consists of requirements which intertwine and cascade through all organizational functions.   This approach is further defined in policies, standards, procedures, manuals, guides, and other documentation.  You are establishing standards for communications planning, executing planned activities, monitoring results and trends of activities, and acting to correct or improve them.The resulting PRINCE2-aligned communication management cycle could be something like Plan-Execute-Monitor-Improve. Each project should determine the PRINCE2 processes needed to fulfill requirements of this high-level communciation management policy and approach. They do this by defining their specific Communication Management Strategy and establishing the project’s Issue Log early in the project.  Wow, and that’s just the big picture for communciation management!  We will take a look at more of the details for managing effective project communication using PRINCE2 another time.

    Remember, a copy of the PRINCE2 method is required reference material in any project manager’s bookshelf!  The method is documented in the OGC publication Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2” which is officially published by TSO.  Serious project managers seeking to enhance their knowledge, skills and professional credibility target should consider PRINCE2 certification.  Learning Tree offers two excellent certification courses for folks interested in becoming a Certified Practitioner of PRINCE2 or simply starting with the Foundation Certification.    

    Susan Weese

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