8.0 Manage Communication


Properly communicating on a program is a critical success factor for managing the expectations of the Program Sponsor and the stakeholders. If these people are not kept well informed of the program progress there is a much greater chance that you will face problems due to differing expectations and surprises. It can make the difference between a smoothly running program and a program where everything seems to be a problem. In fact, in many cases where conflicts arise, it is not because of the actual problem, but because the stakeholder was surprised. Surprises are much more likely when expectations are not managed.

There are two major elements to program communication - basic status reporting and broader communications planning. All projects and programs should communicate status. This includes an upward reporting process:

  • Project team members to the project manager

  • Project managers to the program manager

  • Program manager to Program Sponsor and other management stakeholders

Two typical forums for communicating status are through a status meeting and Status Reports. Reporting status is the minimum expectation for all project and program managers.

On a program however, reporting status will not be enough. Since programs are more complex and have more stakeholders, it is important that they be more sophisticated in how they communicate to various stakeholders. This more multi-faceted approach is defined in a Program Communication Plan.

Communication on a program is managed at through the Program Office.

  • Program communication. The overall communication approach and plan is created at the program level. This communication is owned and proactively managed at the program level.

  • Project communication. The projects do not create their own Communication Plans. This could result in chaotic and disjointed communication. Project communication is driven using the overall Program Communication Plan. As projects start, they refer to the Program Communication Plan for guidance to see how they should be communicating on their project. There is no need for them to have their own project level Communication Plan.

If the Program Communications Plan is not adequate for a project, the project manager should request changes at the program level. It is likely that gaps in the Communication Plan can be closed to help other project teams as well.

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8.1 Manage Communication / Process

8.2 Manage Communication / Techniques

8.3 Communicating on Projects Within a Program

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