Project Management

The Agile Alternative to Communications Management Plans

Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is an experienced project manager, author and consultant who works for PMI as a subject matter expert. Before joining PMI, Mike consulted and managed innovation and technology projects throughout Europe, North and South America for 30+ years. He was co-lead for the PMBOK Guideā€”Seventh Edition, lead for the Agile Practice Guide, and contributor to the PMI-ACP and PMP exam content outlines. Outside of PMI, Mike maintains the websites www.LeadingAnswers.com about leading teams and www.PMillustrated.com, which teaches project management for visual learners.

Dolphins are easier to track than submarines. They surface more often and are usually within view of where you last saw them. Subs, on the other hand, can disappear for months or years at a time, and it is difficult to tell where they have gone.

What does this have to do with project communications? Has Mike finally gone mad?

These are valid questions, so let me explain. Many traditional project management deliverables have agile alternatives. For instance, a product backlog is somewhat analogous to a work breakdown structure. A release roadmap contains many of the elements of a Gantt chart. Yet we rarely see agile communications management plans. Why is this?

Why We Have Communication Management Plans
Projects can be time-consuming and costly, and tie-up valuable employees for long periods with no guarantee of the outcome initially hoped for. So, the responsible thing to do is to agree upfront on how everyone will be kept informed of the project’s progress, risks, issues, etc. This is where a good communications management plan comes in.

The project communications management plan outlines how all the various stakeholder groups will be kept informed of progress and issues. It outlines the frequency, format and distribution channels that will be used for communications. Given the high rates of change often experienced on agile projects, we might expect more …


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