Development Cooperation Handbook/Designing and Executing Projects/Communication Management

The 9 Topic Areas Of Project Management Knowledge

Communication Management

Communication Management

Communication is one of the 9 topic areas of project management knowledge. Communication is essential to organisational life as it enables knowledge sharing, decision making, and performance. Effective communication engages employees in the culture and objectives of the organisation. It promotes teamwork and understanding. In order to manage programmes that are effective in achieving desired Impacts, effective communication in the organisation is essential.

Project Communication Management is the systematic planning, implementing, monitoring, and revision of the communication channels between the project team and the project stakeholders.

Project Communications Management has to employ "processes to ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and ultimate disposition of project information". The main task of these processes is " to provide the critical links among people and information that are necessary for successful communication" (comp. PMBOK3, p. 221).

In the structure of the project, communication management is considered one of the facilitating processes (along with quality planning, staff acquisition, risk response planning, procurement planning, solicitation planning). "Facilitating" does not mean unessential or optional: it only means that it is a process that varies in the sequence it is performed in parallel with other activities, and has a two-way feedback loop with many core processes. (core processes of project management instead are performed sequentially and are divided into phases of project Life: origination, initiation, design, execution and control and closure.

When we communicate with colleagues, partners and external stakeholders, we enable informed decisions and give visibility to sponsors. In the development cooperation environment, "to communicate" is mainly to "build agreement" on how to achieve common objectives and how to reciprocally support and empower action partners. The sincerity and authenticity of communication are therefore the main drivers of successful development cooperation actions. (more in ⇒ "Cooperation and Communication"" the theoretical section of this handbook.

Most of the task manager's time is actually devoted to communication. The project manager spends an average of 90% of her time in communicating. Proper communication management is therefore essential for avoiding communication overload, which is the main driver of ineffectiveness of otherwise well conceived projects.

As organisations and institutions become "project based", there is an ever greater need to manage communication in a manner that supports and facilitates project management. The project team needs frequent information from each of its team members to complete and improve the project and to understand the needs and expectations of the project's beneficiaries. Project communication management aims at responding to communication requirements by generating, storing and disseminating project information in a timely and appropriate manner.

As in all professional activities, planning is necessary for achieving quality results. Through communication planning, we can better identify and manage project communication requirements. If we start planning communication right from the very beginning of project life, then we will be able to involve project stakeholders in the participated process of decision making and project outputs will align to needs of all actors involved.  

Project Processes Project Phase Key Deliverables
Communication Planning Detailed Planning or design stage Example
Project information distribution Project Execution and Control Template - Project Status Report, List of things to do in order to illustrate a project

Subsections of this chapter




  Communication Plan
  Project Stakeholder Analysis
  Stakeholder Roles and Responsibilities
  Stallholders Responsibility Matrix

  Guideline: How team members can improve overall project communication
  How team members can improve overall project communication

See also

Responsibility and challenges of the media in covering development cooperation

  in other sections of this handbook

  on Wikipedia

  On other Wikibooks

The 25 Rules of Disinformation



We are all stakeholders of development activities, and we all have a role to play

Each of us is a stakeholder in the global development processes but we can choose only as far as we know. In order to understand, we look at those we trust more, and particularly to educators, media professionals and local authorities. These are the interlocutors between the government of a country, international agencies, local organisations working for development as well as international governments.
Media, especially mass media, is one of the most powerful communication tools today and it most impacts people's opinions and choices. People's opinions are majorly influenced by what they read, see or hear as facts, by what important journalists and media professionals believe in, support and promote, and by global political and social campaigns across the world. Media professionals therefore must take on the responsibility to provide balanced views on events, give comprehensive and true information to people, promote peace and justice rather than war and exploitation, so that people have the fundamental elements to choose from.
In most democracies, it is the local authorities that are responsible for policy making and implementation and for ensuring that the participation of local development actors in these processes is proactive and informed. They are also responsible for ensuring that people's voices are brought across and integrated into policy decisions and legislations defined at national levels. Where development actors have shared resources, facts and communication tools, local authorities have been empowered and have shaped people's choices towards more effective development partnerships.


See her full interview

B.Hoeper - Constructive communication is the real challenge of development cooperation work