over the course of writing my 2 books on project communications, i get asked continually “what is the minimum set of communication tools i can use on my projects?” yes, some project managers believe it or not just want to do the minimum and i get that, so i thought i would address it. circle of communications chart3. project report creation calendar7. i did not say this is the only thing you need, but this will give you a good start. every project manager needs to have some tool to outline who is on the project. the circle of communications chart is going to be an amazing replacement for a project organization chart if your company won’t accept an org chart with the project manager on the top. for example, when the project manager sits and talks to the customer about the various reports they want to see on the project, the project manager documents that conversation in the communication requirements matrix.
the project calendar is one of the most important documents on the project and one that i have used for many years. one of the advantages of using a report generation calendar is to understand when you create your project reports. i use the role report matrix as my starting point, and then i start to create the project report creation calendar and when used together makes for a very powerful communication tool. the wbs is the best graphical tool to document the scope of the project and if the project task is not on the wbs then it is not in scope for the project. the scatter chart is used for a variety of reasons for projects and should be a tool a project manager turns to when they want to report data. the project newsletter is one of the tools that seems to be falling by the wayside these days and i believe it is an important tool for every project manager. the project newsletter is one of the only communication tools where you can merge work items and personal items into one document.
at atomic we try to use the right tool for the job, and that applies to communication too. every project needs a way to capture the work that is planned, in progress, and completed. they give the entire team a window into the project and a way to quickly assess progress. this is also a good place to document and summarize a discussion that was had in person so that it is archived. formal written communication is a good way to periodically reflect on the project and document progress.
status reports, requirements documents, design artifacts, and other project documentation need a place to live that’s easily accessed by all members of the team. we include our client in our daily standup so that they are aware of what’s going on and decisions that are being made. the real-time nature of these meetings allows the team to present information verbally and ask and answer questions quickly. for bigger, more complex projects, we try to sync up periodically with all project stakeholders so that we all have as clear a picture as possible about what’s going on with the project. recognizing that different types of communication need to happen, and each is carried out more smoothly with the right tool, helps to keep the project moving forward with less friction and misunderstanding.
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