Academic and Student Affairs

Planning – Communication Plan



What is a communication plan?

A communication plan identifies people with an interest in the project (stakeholders), communication needs, and methods of communication. Communication planning helps to ensure that everyone who needs to be informed about project activities and results gets the needed information.

Who develops a communication plan?

The project manager is responsible to identify communication needs and to decide whether a formal communication plan is needed.

What kinds of projects need a communication plan?

Although every project undergoes some kind of communication planning, it is frequently informal – determining who needs to attend which meetings, receive which reports, etc. Projects of long duration will benefit from formal planning because the project stakeholders are likely to change over time. Projects that affect a large number of people or organizations may also benefit from formal planning to ensure full identification of both stakeholders and of communication needs.

What should be in a communication plan?

A communication plan needs to consider, and where appropriate document each of the following items:

  • List of Stakeholders (Who has interest in the project? See the project definition for an initial list of stakeholders. Be sure to include both business and technical stakeholders.)
  • Information Needs (What kinds of information about the project are of interest? Consider need to communicate plans, status and progress reports, changes, major events, availability of prototypes and demonstrations, etc.)
  • Communication Methods (What information will be communicated to what groups in what ways? Common methods include reporting and documentation, email, meetings, and web sites.)