Behind many well-executed projects are meticulously detailed communication plans. In project management, communication plans explain who needs to know what, when, why, and how they'll get that information.
These documents can be time-consuming to put together because they need to not only be comprehensive but also update and change as the project itself progresses.
tools will include some form of communication plan template for their users, but these templates are usually an afterthought. The default communication plan tool for many project managers has been a massive spreadsheet they spend hours perfecting and updating.
These spreadsheets are great if they work for you, but the truth is that you don't need a massive spreadsheet or an expensive piece of software to create a communication plan. You just need a comprehensive yet flexible project communication plan template like the one we put together for you right here in Coda.
What is a project management communication plan template?
A project management communication plan template is a document that helps you standardize how your team communicates throughout the life of your various projects. It contains all the fields and automation your team needs to quickly plan out who needs to know what, when, why, and how they'll be notified.
When looking for a good communication plan template, look for one that's easy to customize. That way, you can not only cut down on project prep time but also tailor each communication plan to the needs of each specific project and its stakeholders.
With all this in mind, we went ahead and put together a project communication plan template for you to use across all your organization's projects, customize to the needs of your stakeholders, and share with your teams right now.
👉 Get started with: project management communication plan
How to use this project management communication plan template?
Step 1: Define Teams & Communication Channels
Starting with the
page, you should add in details about different teams that apart of your organization and what roles they serve. You can also fill out details for assigning
to teams when new people join and when people change teams. There are also
you must add for channels of communication for your project plan. Now that you have defined your teams you must visualize your projects in the next step.
For your team leads, you will automatically be able to select which people in your organization have a team lead role, so you can just select from the list available in the
Step 2: Defining you Projects and Goals
The next step of this template is defining your organization’s
are leading the efforts them. By accessing the
table you can add a new project, add details for the project and also a define a
for you project. You’ll notice that the
column will be left blank when adding a new project, this part comes in Step 3, when we move on to adding communication goals for our plan.
Along with that, you can also visualize a
in the view below. This is important for stakeholders of your company as they can see projects that are currently ongoing.
Step 3: Adding Communication Goals to the Plan
This is the core
table for each project for your organizational plan. In this table you can add a
, select a
, select a
, choose which
will be involved, chooses
that will be involved with the project, and also be able to select at which
this type of communication is happening.
If we go back to the
table, you will be able to see the communication goals in the table with the associated project. The goals will automatically populate in the column within this table.
Step 4: Keeping Track of Meeting Notes
You can keep track of your teams’ communication goals within each project by taking notes during
as they happen. By choosing which
you are reporting on, the
responsible is automatically populated so all you have to do is take notes on the meeting that is occurring.
What should a project communication plan include?
Customize this template and play around with it as much as you wish. Just keep in mind that a project communication plan should always include:
A list of core project teams and their team leads.
This will help everyone keep track of which team is responsible for what in each project. Include the leader of each team to provide a clear path of escalation if there are any issues or sensitive topics. Bonus points if you list the team leads' location, so everyone knows each others' time zones.
A list of all key stakeholders outside the core project team.
There are often people outside the core team that need information about how the project is progressing. Consider adding time zones for each stakeholder as well.
The different communication tools.
Include tools like Zoom, Slack, and email. Consider also adding things like "in-person team meeting" and "coffee chat" to make sure you're covering all circumstances.
A schedule and ongoing record of recurring meetings and other communications.
An ongoing record and future schedule of recurring communications will be very useful if you need to diagnose a problem later or manage bandwidth among team members.
The goal of each type of communication.
Be clear about why each instance of communication is happening. This clarity will cut down on fluffy unnecessary communication and keep everyone on track.
A place for notes.
Keep your notes from each meeting, email, or other forms of communication within the communication plan itself or link out to the relevant notes.
Input from each team member and stakeholder.
Give everyone that needs access to your communication plan access. In Coda,
What is the role of a communication plan?
The role of a communication plan is to keep everyone up to date on what's happening in the project. It's a simple but vital role because,
"Nothing can break your project like poor communication. Plan out who gets what communication, along with how often and what format. And then stick to it!"
In many ways, project management itself is the art of facilitating communication. The team members actually execute the project, but it's the project manager's role to coordinate these efforts. This coordination happens through regular communication in meetings, via email, and through Slack.
One way to think about project management is that without successful communication, there is no successful project. A communication plan ensures successful communication.
How to use and update a communication plan.
As your project progresses, you'll need to refer to your communication plan regularly to update it and make sure it's being followed.
You should use your communication plan to see which stakeholders to include in your piece of communication (like a weekly meeting or monthly reporting email) when those stakeholders are available and what to do if your plans fall through.
Maybe one team lead can't make it to next week's weekly meeting. Your communication plan should tell you:
The time window in which you can reschedule that meeting. Who to inform of the updated meeting time.
If someone can take that team lead's place.
If you need to update that meeting time because of an ongoing scheduling conflict with that team lead, you can tag all stakeholders in an online meeting poll to find a better time.
Situations like this one are why you should prioritize finding a customizable project communication plan template over a rigid one that can't adapt to your stakeholders' changing needs.
Common FAQs about project management communication plans.
How do you write a project management communication plan?
To write a project management communication plan, create a series of related tables listing:
All stakeholders involved with the project.
What communication channels you'll use.
The goals of each type of communication.
Listing all this out every time you plan a project can be cumbersome. Use a project management communication plan template like the one above to save time.
What are the five components of a project communication plan?
The five components of a project communication answer five main questions:
Who is doing the communication?
What is being communicated?
When will the communication happen?
How will the communication get conveyed (e.g., in a meeting, over email, or through Slack)?
Why is the communication happening (i.e., the goal behind each instance of communication)?
What does a project communications plan look like?
A project communications plan can look however you need it to, but it typically is a series of tables that include information on the who, what, when, how, and why of communication. Here's a screenshot of the template above that you can use as inspiration.