Communication in Project Management

  • Post last modified:18 March 2023
  • Reading time:28 mins read
  • Post category:Project Management
Coursera 7-Day Trail offer

Communication in Project Management

Communication is a crucial element in project management as it helps to ensure that all stakeholders are informed and working towards the same objectives. Effective communication in project management involves the timely and clear exchange of information, ideas, and expectations to ensure that the project is executed according to plan and achieves the desired outcomes.

Objectives of Communication Management

The objectives of communication management in a project are as follows:

Alignment With Organizational Objectives

Suppose an IT company wants to effectively implement cost-cutting measures in its ongoing IT projects. The company wants to increase its cost-cutting measures by 5% of the previous year’s target. To achieve this, the cost-cutting target value should be communicated to all team members working on active projects.

This communication may be made effective by sending e-mails or putting up the target value on blogs, notice boards, in team meetings, as a part of KRAs, etc. The aim is to constantly remind the concerned employees that this is something to be achieved.

Alignment With Market Conditions and Structure

Suppose an IT company that is developing products for a US company is fighting for survival in the market. The reason for this is the company’s late adoption of the quality management system, that is, Statement on Auditing Standards No. 70 (SAS-70) or Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance. It has long been mandated for IT companies in the US market to possess this compliance certificate.

After the IT Company has obtained the compliance certificate, it needs to communicate this information to the market. This may be done through a website update, advertising through leaflets and brochures, etc.

Alignment With Market Conditions and Structure

Let us take an example of a project under execution. Suddenly, there are changes in the requirements, and information needs to be communicated to the teams involved, such as the testing team, human resource team, etc., for the induction of the new sought requirements. Teleconferencing can serve as the best mode of communication here.

However, even this will be ineffective if the communication does not take place promptly, with as many details and specifications as needed by software developers and supporting staff members. Therefore, the channel of communication should be such that the intended audience is also able to revert promptly to the information that is communicated.

This is a crucial aspect because, on many occasions, information is communicated but the concerned person does not act promptly; hence, the purpose of the communication is defeated.

Alignment With the Needs of the Client or Customers

Let us re-consider the example in which an IT project is under execution. The client wants to have an effective communication channel so that critical issues experienced in the project, such as a server crash during support operation, are notified to the client punch.

Although sending status reports to the client on a weekly or daily basis is a way of communication that has been followed across organizations customarily, sometimes, there are sudden urgent matters that need to be communicated to the client on an event-driven basis. The presence of a fast communication channel will prompt the client to resolve such issues promptly.

Alignment With the Needs of All Stakeholders

All the stakeholders of an IT project should be constantly updated on its current status, including the progress made so far, the changes made, and the new requirements. For example, the project manager must communicate promptly the travel requirements of the team members who are about to travel onsite or internationally in the interest of the project.

When traveling to international sites, communication has to be detailed and specific and must be provided to the travel desk in advance so that it can take care of their accommodation.

Alignment With the Business Processes

Consider an example of an IT company whose current project is about developing software for a client. During a private meeting with the client, the CEO makes a statement about the status of the project, which is at the implementation stage. The statement is concerned with the procurement of a hardware device that is required to be connected to the server for retrieving Call Detail Records (CDR) from the switch of the network.

Later, the company also has a meeting with the client. In the meeting, the VP makes a statement regarding the development of an interface program for that hardware component. This scenario illustrates how the business processes of this company go out of order as there are two versions of one matter – one dealing with the procurement of hardware, while the other dealing with the development of an interface program for that hardware. Hence, there is a misalignment of business processes.

Alignment With Technology Advancements

The IT field is rapidly advancing. Therefore, its players need to align themselves with technological advancements; otherwise, they will have to struggle for survival in the competitive market that is getting tougher with time.

For example, an IT company may still be doing projects based on the earlier versions of .NET technology when its latest versions have already hit the market. If the company wishes to stay a step ahead of the competition, it must update itself regularly as well as adopt newer technologies that arrive in segments of its interest.

Project Communication Plan

communication plays an integral role in any project. it is a coordinated effort by all the team members. A project communication plan is an administrative approach to providing stakeholders with relevant information about the project. this plan defines who will receive the information, what information will be communicated, how the information will be distributed and how often, who will be responsible for delivering the data and who for taking action upon it, and, finally, what channels will be used to deliver the information.

The following are the generic contents of a project communication plan:


this section describes the scope of the communication plan. For example, the scope of the communication plan is limited to software professionals who are directly or indirectly involved in the development of the software. the testers, HR staff, and admin staff are indirectly involved in software development, while software coders are directly involved; hence, there is a need to communicate the progress of the project at regular intervals. Whereas, in the case of project managers, 80% of their time is spent communicating, as is globally evident.


This section describes the references to project documents repository, such as visual source safe (VSS) or concurrent versions system (CVS), wherein the documents related to important communication are stored and managed as per the configuration management policy of the organization.

Intended audience

This is the section in which the intended audience and the role it plays in the communication system are covered. For example, a software developer need not have access to information related to financial requirements. Rather, he/she requires access to the functional requirements of the project.

Project structure

this section describes the structure of the project. it is on this structure that the flow of information is defined along with its access mechanism, such as read-only information, for information purposes only, or for taking necessary actions.

Steering committee

this section describes the role of the steering committee of the project as well as its role in handling the information, such as acting as the ultimate decision maker in handling escalation of issues like legal, technical, cost, management, organizational, and personnel with a good resolve.

Project Stakeholders

This section describes the role of each of these stakeholders in the project and the type of information it is required to manage and act upon. For example, the project director must have access to the project status, resource utilisation, capacity utilisation, and other related issues, while the project manager is required to have access to operational information details, in addition to information related to capacity utilization.

Information communication process

This section describes the means and mechanism for how the information will flow and what type of information must flow to the concerned persons. For example, the configuration manager must allow information related to configuration items to the stakeholders.

Communication changes

This section describes any kind of changes in project information and how these changes will be communicated to all the members affected. For example, if the client’s requirements change, in what manner will they be communicated, as well as when and how much?

Communication tracking and storage

This section takes care of communication tracking and information storage. For example, when requirement changes take place, the section helps check whether the information has been communicated to the DBA, testers, configuration manager, and other associated project stakeholders or not.

Tables (A) and (B) show the summary and communication plan, respectively, of a project:

Project Title:
Project Manager:
Executive Sponsor:
Principal Stakeholder:
Table (A): Project Summary
Deliverable Info (What)Recipient(s) (Who)Delivery Method(s) (How)Schedule (When)Who’s Responsible? (Owner)
Project informationProject TeamAs neededAs neededProject Manager
Project statusProject Planner PMO DirectorePortfolio EmailBy noon every Tuesday By noon every MondayProject Manager
Agenda/ MinutesProject Team Steering CommitteeEmail Share point Team meetingsMonthlyProject Manager
Timeline UpdateSteering Committee Exec. Sponsor ManagersMeetings Share pointAs neededProject Manager
Project Updates Action Item StatusProject ManagerTeam meetings Conference calls EmailAs neededProject Manager
Project RisksITEC/ Exec. Sponsor Project TeamRisk meeting Meeting minutesAs neededProject Manager
Table (B): Communication Plan

This plan depicts what type of information is required to be delivered and to whom, the timeframe for delivering the information, etc.

The main purpose of depicting in this format is to highlight that there is no hard-and-fast rule regarding the structure of the project communication plan. It all depends upon the needs of the project as well as the client.

Communication Matrix and Channel

Project communication management refers to defining the communication matrix and channels for managing the information flow. A communication matrix is a type of assessment tool for mapping the content, paths, and endpoints of communication in respect of all the members of a project. On the other hand, a channel refers to a medium that is used to transmit information to the project team.

In this reference, let us consider an example of an ongoing project that is currently in the development phase. Suppose a telecom project for a client based in Newark, USA is under progress in India. As the project passes the development stage, an issue regarding the changing of the address functionality comes up and requires a one-to-one with the client immediately.

A meeting with the client is fixed where the development team and the project manager from India communicate with the client in the US. The meeting goes on for more than two hours, and finally, both the client and the project team solve a long discussion.

As the issue is resolved, there are new roles for certain team members to play as defined during the discussion. These are as follows:

  • The testing team will update the test cases and test the code as per the updated and new requirements.

  • The database administrator will make the changes required in the database.

  • The configuration manager will be maintaining the configuration of project components.

  • The business analyst will be analyzing the impact of the changes in the subsequent functionalities.

  • The marketer or account manager will assess the financial implications of these changes in functionality.

  • The documentation team will update the technical documents of the project.

Here, a communication matrix will be an effective process to ensure that the decisions out of the discussion reach all the concerned members of the project.

IssueTo be communicated byTo be communicated toFrequencyChannel
Functional requirements related to softwareProject managerExecutive management, configuration manager, DBA, testing team, business analyst, marketer, the documentation teamEvent-driven whenever changes are to be incorporatedEmail, intranet; employee portal, e-room, PMO
Functional requirements related to administration; issues such as relocation of workplaceProject manager, concerned in-changeConcerned manager; the concerned personEvent-drivenMail
General notification for all the employees, such as a declaration of public holidays, get-to-gathers awareness information, new initiatives like cleanliness drive, etc.HR representative, administration representativeEntire organizationEvent-driven, regular intervalsMail, intranet, blog, notice board, circulars, etc.
Table: Communication Matrix

The table below shows another form of an organizational communication matrix including other aspects such as category, method, and detail:

Core teamProject execution/ statusCore team project progress, accomplishments, issues, and challengesTeam meetingDailyAction
Core teamStatusHigh-level project statusEmailWeeklyInfo/ action
Core teamProject executionIssues and challengesMeetingWeeklyAction
Core teamStatusDetailed statusStatus report documentWeeklyInfo/ action
Extended teamStatusStatus overviewEmail or meetingMonthlyInfo/ action
Extended teamStatusHigh-level project progressAll-hands meetingQuarterlyInfo/ action
ManagementGeneric information/ statusProject progress, significant accomplishments, issues, and challenges requiring management assistanceMeetingWeeklyInfo/ action
Extended teamHigh-level project statusEmail or webpageOngoingInfo
Table: Organisational Communication Matrix

We can have several versions of the communication matrix – it all depends upon the needs and expectations of an organization.

Types of Communication Channels in IT Organisations

After understanding the basic concepts of a communication matrix, let us now discuss various channels of communication. A channel, as we have discussed earlier, refers to the means or mechanism used for communicating some information.

The following are communication channels generally used in an IT organization:

Annual Meetings, Biannual Meetings, General Meetings

These are the meetings in which the top management, i.e., the CEO and board of directors, participates. These meetings are more or less confidential as they mostly discuss the business, performance, financial results, and achievements of the organization. The CEO briefs the members about the progress of the organization, revenue earned from the projects, new ventures, initiatives, etc.

Notice Boards

This is a channel for communication whereby generic information is displayed to inform the maximum number of employees. This may be information related to newly introduced policies, the general performance of the projects, or changes in the administrative facilities such as changes in transport timings, canteen timings, etc.


In this type of communication channel, the organization gathers the opinions and views of its employees before implementing something at the organizational level.

Induction Meetings and Sessions

This is another form of communication channel whereby recruits are briefed about the work culture, mission, and vision of the organization.

Group Meetings or Departmental Meetings

In this form of communication, the achievements/issues/concerns of a department or group are communicated to all the concerned members. The main purpose of such meetings is to ensure that the group is aware of the current picture of work and performs in harmony as a single unit, even if individuals have their style of working.


In this communication channel, the information is communicated to all or a selected group of people through the intranet.


This is a form of communication channel whereby external entities are communicated regarding the products and services or achievements of the organization.

Case Study: Communication Management in IT Projects

HP Techno Solutions, an IT company with a global presence, has several offices and development centers that are spread across the US, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, India, New Zealand, and Brazil. Due to the global operations of the company, managing communication has become one of the key issues in a large number of projects that are being executed in different countries.

Team members, generally, need to communicate with their clients/counterparts in other countries. Due to different time zones, sometimes the client takes too much time to respond to a query. Moreover, if there are any changes in the project, it may require some time to communicate the changes to the team members.

To overcome the problems of communication management, the executive management has proposed the concept of PMO, i.e., the Project Management Office. This is the mechanism that IT organizations with global presence follow. This is sort of an e-room wherein the team members and the project managers discuss their work status.

PMO can provide project management support to the organization as well as directly manage the project.

Finally, HP Techno Solutions adopted the PMO and reaped substantial benefits. The following are the significant benefits of implementing PMO:

  • The communication problem was solved.

  • The operation cost was reduced to 20%.

  • The market share increased to 60%.

  • The time required for a project was reduced to 30%.
Article Source
  • Schwalbe K. (2016). Information Technology Project Management (Eight Ed). USA: Cengage Learning.

  • DANS (2006). Project Management Handbook. Retrieved 21 February 2023, from

Best Project Management Courses

Project management skills are in demand. If you are ready to get started, consider enrolling in the Google Project Management: Professional Certificate Learn the job-ready essentials of project management in six months or less, such as initiating projects, risk management and change management. Also we have made list of best project management courses as there are a plethora of options available, and it can be challenging to identify the best one.

Google Project Management
Google Project Management
Project Management for Professionals
Project Management for Professionals

Best Project Management Tool Logo
ClickUp logo

Best for:

  • Mid & Large Size Team
  • Higher Plan
  • Standard Feature
  • Flexible Database & Stability

Best for:

The ideal project management tool selection will eventually rely on the particular requirements of your team. We suggest experimenting with the free versions of various tools to gauge your team’s comfort level and then proceeding accordingly.

Project Management Tutorial

(Click on Topic to Read)

Leave a Reply