Formal Communication Plan

Micro Learning Unit

The ‘Formal Communication Plan’ defines the nature, frequency and manner of communication with project stakeholders and those who are affected by the project. Each of the project’s formal communication channels should be defined and the purpose of each should be articulated as part of this plan: who is to be part of the channel, how often and in what manner the channel should be engaged, how it is managed, and how reports are distributed inside and outside the channel.

A clear communication system that manages stakeholder’s expectations is essential to smooth progress in the project. Accordingly, the decision of how much effort should be put into communicating any particular piece of information should reflect both the importance of the message and the level of influence of the person receiving the message on the project. The more influence on the project a stakeholder has, the more attention should be paid to him and the more effort should be made to keep him engaged and interested.

Formal communications are managed within the framework of regular management meetings as well as in special meetings that reflect the needs of the project. The manner in which information is provided at each of these meetings varies: traditional reporting methods at formal meetings; short, stand-up work meetings conducted in some corridor; official reports, emails, phone calls, conference calls and video chats; or text messages and even tweets.

Information transmitted via formal reports is based on a suitable process of data collection and analysis, and is typically arranged into organized reports that will ultimately form the project’s official records.

In order to build a formal communication plan, it is necessary to answer several questions first:

  1. What is required in order to maintain proper communication?
  2. Why is a particular piece of communication important?
  3. Who should be party to the communication?
  4. How should the information be communicated?

The answers to these questions will form the basis of the project’s formal communication plan and will guarantee the existence of an efficient communication system throughout the project.

A standard communication plan will look something like this:

Steering Committee

Tracking the project’s overall progress; making fundamental, organizational decisions to resolve risks and other issues affecting efficient implementation of the project’s work plan; ensuring the project maintains its boundaries and quality; ensuring the involvement and commitment of the organization’s management to the project.

Client; senior management, representing the client and the supplier; project manager and his supervisors



Status presentation

Minutes of the discussion; updated task and decision log.

Project Meeting

Closely tracking all work packages and milestones; solving any problems and difficulties that develop in the course of the project; making any necessary decisions regarding the project’s progress and implementation; preparing for the steering committee.

Project manager and his supervisors; main supplier; project team leaders



Periodic status report

Updated periodic status report; updated issues and decision log.

Team Meeting

Closely tracking all project tasks on an ongoing basis; solving any technical problems and difficulties that develop in the course of the project; making any necessary decisions regarding execution and progress of project tasks.

Project manager and project team leaders



A log detailing all decisions and issues

Updated issues and decision log

Stand-up Meeting

Touching on short-term goals; focusing on and establishing what needs to be accomplished; solving problems; team building.

Project manager and project team leaders

Twice a week

Quick Stan-up Meeting

List of short-term tasks to be completed

Summary email