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The Critical Role of Communication in Project Management

The Critical Role of Communication in Project Management

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Successfully managing a project from start to finish requires certain key skills . Scheduling, time management, and the ability to negotiate with internal and external parties are all critical competencies. Leadership, risk management, and critical thinking similarly all fall high on the list.

But the skill that is perhaps most important to project management is the one that underlies all of these others: Communication. 

Without strong communication skills, project managers would find it incredibly difficult, if not impossible, to effectively manage their teams and coordinate efforts in order to bring about a project’s successful resolution. 

Below, we explore the importance of effective communication in project management, define the different types of communication project managers are likely to engage in, and offer tips that you can use to become a more effective communicator to excel in your project management career . 

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The Importance of Effective Communication in Project Management

As a part of their day-to-day jobs, project managers perform a variety of roles and responsibilities . At its core, however, the job is about coordinating the efforts of everyone involved in a project so that shared goals can be achieved. This requires that a project manager is skilled in gathering information and in sharing it with the right people on their team. 

“Communication is the most important aspect in project management, because what project managers do a majority of the time is communicate to coordinate efforts,” says Sarmann Kennedyd , assistant teaching professor in Northeastern’s Master of Science in Project Management program . “To coordinate efforts, they have to gather a lot of information and disseminate it across all teams involved with the project.”

Without this communication, it’s possible that efforts might be duplicated by multiple people or teams involved in the project, that important goals and milestones might be missed, that resources become misallocated, or that the project’s scope begins to creep outside of the realm of what was originally intended. The end result is that projects can screech to a halt, or worse: fail altogether.

“Communication is one of the most essential ingredients [in successful project management] and skills that a project manager has to have,” Kennedyd says.

Types of Communication in Project Management

In project management, as in all other business processes, there are multiple different types of communication and communication styles that might impact a project. Often, these different styles can be understood to come from different “perspectives,” which we explore below.

1. The Project Perspective

When communication is viewed from the perspective of the project itself, it is usually broken into two categories: internal and external communication. 

Internal communication typically refers to the exchange of information that occurs between individuals who are actively working on a project—the project manager and their team. It is often characterized by the detailed discussion that happens during planning or issue resolution.  

External communication , on the other hand, refers to the flow of information between the members of a project team and key stakeholders not directly a part of the project. This might involve members of the executive team, the CEO, other departments or projects, the press, or internal and external customers. Because this communication is geared towards individuals who are not directly working on a project, it is often more formal and “polished” compared to internal communications. 

2. The Organizational Perspective

When communication is viewed from an organizational perspective, it is usually broken into three distinct categories which take into account the various ways in which an organization might be structured: vertical, horizontal, and diagonal communication. 

Vertical communication takes place between individuals who operate on different hierarchical levels within an organization and is sometimes referred to as “upward” or “downward” communication. Upward communication might involve a member of the project team updating the project manager about a particular roadblock that is getting in the way of completing a task, or the project manager communicating with their superior on the progression of the project. Downward communication works in the opposite direction, such as when the project manager assigns tasks to individuals on their team.

Horizontal communication takes place between individuals who operate on the same level within an organization. It’s the communication that occurs between peers and colleagues, such as when a team gathers for a daily scrum meeting or stand-up to align on what tasks will be completed. 

Diagonal communication is typically limited to businesses and institutions with more organizational complexity and refers to the communication that takes place between individuals within different functional divisions or departments within the organization. For example, a project manager tasked with overseeing the development of a mobile app might turn to a member of the software team to understand how they dealt with similar issues or challenges. 

When engaging in vertical, horizontal, or diagonal communication, it’s critical that a project manager or member of a project team understand the underlying politics involved, and use that knowledge to frame their discussions. 

3. The Formality Perspective

When communication is viewed through the lens of formality, it is generally split into informal and formal communications, which are rather straightforward in their definitions. 

Informal communications are often synonymous with internal communications outlined above. Daily emails, touchbases, and unplanned meetings form the bulk of this communication, which is generally raw and unpolished. 

Formal communications , on the other hand, are seen more as products to be consumed. Reports, press releases, and presentations to key stakeholders often fall into this bucket. Because of the audience that they are typically addressed to, these communications are often more highly-produced and planned.

4. The Channel Perspective

The channel perspective refers to the channel or medium by which communication is transmitted or delivered. Common communication channels include verbal vs. non-verbal communication, in-person vs. remote or virtual communication, and written vs. oral communication. 

It’s important to note that each of these communication channels offers its own benefits and disadvantages which a project manager should be aware of and leverage accordingly. 

In-person communication, for example, enables the parties to observe body language and demeanor which might influence the message being sent, but it is not always possible due to the increasing use of remote teams in corporate environments. Similarly, written communication allows the writer to tailor their messaging to communicate precisely what they want to share, but it might lack certain subtleties that could otherwise be obvious in verbal communication (such as sarcasm). 

It’s up to the project manager to understand which channel best applies to their unique needs, and to balance those needs accordingly against the potential drawbacks of each channel. 

Tips for Effective Project Communication

1. make use of technology..

Just because your project team might be remote doesn’t mean that all of your communications need to be written. There is value in face-to-face meetings, and leveraging technology to facilitate these face-to-face interactions can go far in influencing the progress of your project. Virtual meetings and video conferencing are two incredibly helpful tools in this regard. 

2. Keep cultural and language barriers in mind.

Companies and organizations are increasingly diverse, elevating the possibility that a member of your project team might not be a native English speaker. This might increase the risk of confusion during communications about the project. 

Being mindful of any cultural differences or language barriers of those involved in your team is, therefore, of critical importance. When possible, avoid using colloquialisms, jokes, and sarcasm, which can be difficult to translate across languages and cultures. 

3. Understand who should get what information and how.

As a project manager, a large part of your job is to act as a gatekeeper to information. While this means that you are responsible for providing relevant information to the members of your team, it also means that you are responsible for shielding them from irrelevant information which might cause confusion or otherwise disrupt their work. Understanding how to determine who gets what information is an essential part of a project manager’s job.

Similarly, it’s up to you to determine the best channel and form of communication for whatever audience you are speaking to. Don’t be afraid to tailor your methods of communication to individual stakeholders or members of your team, if you think doing so will help the project stay on track.

For example, if you know that a certain stakeholder prefers to analyze the numbers, you might want to generate a granular report for them that goes into the level of detail they are looking for. On the other hand, if a different stakeholder is only concerned with high-level numbers and key takeaways, you might instead choose to leverage graphs and charts to illustrate those key points. 

Developing the Communication Skills Necessary for Project Success

If you are looking to improve and develop your communication skills as they relate to project management, earning a relevant advanced degree, such as a master’s in project management , could be one option of getting you where you want to be—especially if the program offers a concentration or focus on communication. 

At Northeastern, individuals pursuing a master’s degree in project management can choose from 10 different specializations, including a Concentration in Organizational Communication. With classes focused on crisis communication, intercultural communication, negotiation, and organizational communication, amongst others, this track places a special emphasis on the various types of communication a project manager is likely to need to engage in during their career. 

For more information about how a master’s degree in project management can help advance your career, download our free guide to breaking into the industry below.

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The Importance of Effective Communication in Project Management

communication with project manager

Can you imagine managing a project without communication? Sounds like a nightmare, right?

It would be pretty much impossible—what with all the layers of project requirements , details, and decisions that need to be approved by all those important folks up the chain of command. Every step requires some new task to talk about, and that task depends on another task, decision, or person.

When it comes to project management, you can’t go at it alone. But even the best tools won’t matter much without effective communication. In other words, you’ve got to know how to talk to your people!

So what are some of the best ways to improve your communication in project management? Let’s walk through it.

Why is communication important in project management?

Types of communication in project management, top communication skills for project managers, simple tips for effective project communication.

The importance of communication in project management can’t be stressed enough. That’s because it’s critical to project success.

Good communication keeps conflict and confusion from bogging your project down by ensuring key players are aligned on project goals and know exactly what’s expected of them. It also helps build team-wide trust so everyone works better together from project start to finish.

No project relies on a single type of communication to get work done. You might use a combination of these communication methods to keep people informed on your projects:

  • Meetings (in-person, phone, or video chat)
  • Project plans
  • Discussion boards
  • Collaboration apps
  • Status reports

So how do you know which communication types are right for your project? Look at what worked well—and what didn’t—for past projects. Then bring your team and stakeholders into the conversation to get their input. Everyone has different communication styles , so take those into consideration to ensure your project communications will actually land. 

A communication plan can help you devise a strategy for what effective communication will look like on any given project. That way everyone involved in the project knows what to expect and how to communicate with each other effectively and efficiently.

You want to be the best project manager in the history of your company, right? Of course you do!

Here are 5 communication skills the best project managers regularly apply to their projects:

  • Listen. Effective project managers don’t just wait for their turn to talk. Listen to your team—both the good and the bad—to really understand issues and look for ways to fix them.
  • Emphasize efficiency over speed. Make sure your team knows that going 10 miles an hour toward a specific destination is much better than going 30 miles an hour in circles.
  • Dig into the details. Listening is one thing, but to get to the bottom of processes and situations, good project managers are willing to get their hands a little dirty and ask important client questions .
  • Respect your team. As we’ve said, project management is all about relationships. When you treat your team well, they’ll (usually) treat you well in return. Be nice!
  • Keep everyone in the loop. Just because the project manager knows what’s going on, that doesn’t mean everyone else does. So send out monthly, weekly, or even daily project updates to ensure everyone involved is informed and up-to-date.

Remember: Project management isn’t just about tools and process. It’s about people. Good project managers develop relationships that ultimately help projects move smoothly.

That’s not to say tools like team collaboration software aren’t helpful. Useful project management software will help your team share ideas and make decisions together.

The savvy project manager knows how to manage those tools, details, and people through meaningful, strategic conversations. They pull the best out of people—making the introvert a little more outspoken while figuring out a way to make the difficult team member a little easier to deal with.

Think about your project management communications in terms of routines. As a project manager, you want to be sure you’re making it easy for your team to access and share information—and ask for more when needed.

Let’s look at some simple ways you can set your team and projects up for success with effective communication. 

1. Set clear project expectations

When you kick off a project, make sure everyone—including both your team and stakeholders—know what’s expected of them throughout the course of the project. You also need to know what everyone else expects from you.

Here are some good ways to do this:

  • Develop your project purpose. This is your team’s mission statement, the “why” behind everything you’re doing on this project.
  • Set project goals. Once you have the purpose in place, you can realistically set your goals for the project. What are the primary indicators of success?  
  • Determine the key players. Which team members and stakeholders need to be involved and to what extent? Who should be at all the meetings, and who should only be involved from an approval standpoint? Does everyone understand their roles? Use a Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, and Informed (RACI) chart to map task roles and responsibilities.
  • Document your project plan , and review it regularly. Your plan should act as the center of all project communication. Make sure your team and stakeholders have easy access to your plan so they can update and track progress every step of the way.
  • Discuss task dependencies and how they’ll be met (or not). Make sure to look for potential roadblocks and risks along the way. On top of that, each team member should know what needs to be done before they get started on their task.
  • Be realistic on time and scale. Deliver what you say you’re going to deliver. And, remember the cardinal rule of communication in project management—don’t overpromise!
  • Adjust when needed. Just like most things in life, a project probably won’t go like you plan. Be flexible enough and honest with your team to adjust on the fly when needed.

The most important thing is to get the details on the table and ask: What does success and failure look like on this project?

When you’re honest about what a project win looks like—whether it’s on the administrative end or through frontline project management communications—you’ll have a much easier time setting (and resetting) expectations as work progresses. 

2. Discuss project deliverables

If you’re not actively checking in on your deliverables and reviewing them as a team, you’re missing a huge opportunity to collaborate and build a stronger product. When outlining your plan, make sure you’ve built in time to review, discuss, and critique your team deliverables.

This generates more confidence in what you’re building and will also keep team members accountable for project decisions. By just having a short review and discussion, you’re taking steps to eliminate a risk that a current deliverable will have a negative impact on your scope later on.

3. Conduct status meetings

Regularly hold status meetings—otherwise known as scrums or standups. These brief get-togethers are necessary to keep everyone informed about progress and blockers. Decide together if you want these meetings to be daily (15 minutes) or weekly (50 minutes).

Productive meetings will include:

  • Designated note-taker
  • Written agenda
  • Updated status report
  • Actionable next steps and goals
  • Post-meeting recaps to keep all meeting attendees accountable
  • A scheduled next meeting

Keep stakeholders in the know as well so they’re seeing progress and know where they fit in the process. 

TeamGantt’s Project Health Report is a great tool for communicating project status, as it provides a snapshot of what’s going well, what’s running behind, and what’s overdue. Share it in meetings with your team and stakeholders so you can work together to ensure your project stays on track.

TeamGantt project health report showing tasks that are ok, behind, or overdue

4. Ask questions

Being a project manager requires you to be inquisitive—you have to understand processes, people, and deliverables. Chances are, you’ll work with someone who comes up with a new way of working or takes a new spin on something you’re working on. That’s awesome! Just make sure you understand it—and that you can articulate the what, why, when, and how of that new thing.

Most important, never be afraid to ask your team questions . In the end, it’s a win-win situation for you and your team because the more you understand the work, the easier it is for you to advocate for it with stakeholders—or plan for similar activities in future projects.

You set the tone for effective communication

Bottom line: No matter what you do, be open to discussing how you communicate with your team. You want to know what’s best for the project while also being open and willing to adapt if that will set a tone of positive collaboration.

All that together will lead to success. You can count on it.

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The Comprehensive Guide to Project Communication Plans

By Kate Eby | June 30, 2021 (updated September 26, 2023)

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A good communication plan is vital to the success of any project. Experts share advice for creating your own plan and the benefits of doing so.

In this article, you’ll learn how to create your own communication plan . We also share a customizable template , a preferred communication style survey , and expert advice on best practices .

What Is a Communication Plan for a Project?

A project communication plan is a guideline for dispensing details of a project to invested parties. An effective plan includes what kind of information will be distributed, to whom, and how often they will be updated.

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What Are the Important Elements of a Project Communication Plan?

While individual communication plans differ by project, all effective communication plans include scope, contact details, and more. Consider adding the following information to a communication plan:

  • Type of Project: Name the project to make it easy to find and reference. Think about how long the project will take and the number of people involved when creating a meeting and update schedule. Larger projects will require more frequent and different meetings.
  • Identify Key Players: Determine who is communicating, the type of information they are sharing, and who they are responsible for updating.
  • Contact Information: Organize the contact details for stakeholders and team members to make communication easier and more organized.
  • Frequency of Communication: Create a schedule for how you will share specific kinds of information. Alyssa Griffin, Service and Communications Specialist at Royal Building Products , recommends a measured approach. “Project updates are usually once a week at maximum. You don’t want to create a deluge of emails that individuals can lose or that can overwhelm them. Short and sweet works the best.”
  • Types of Communication: You might find it advantageous to communicate types of information in varying ways. For example, some information may be best to share in real time through meetings or phone and video calls. In contrast, sometimes asynchronous methods such as email or company message boards are ideal. Read “ The Essential Guide to Asynchronous Communication ” to learn more about communication styles.

Kristen Bellomo

  • Communication Goals: Look at past projects for specific processes to repeat or improve. Make sure to consider your findings from past post-mortem and lessons learned to ensure that you are establishing and implementing best practices.

Preferred Communication Survey

With help from Bellomo, we’ve created a survey to help you identify your key stakeholders’ preferred methods of communication during a project. This survey helps you easily collect and store the communication preferences of clients, stakeholders, and team members for use in your communication plan.

  • First and last name:
  • Title and company:
  • Key areas of interest:
  • Email address:
  • Phone number:
  • Instant message (Skype, Slack, Discord, etc):
  • Video call:

Preferred Communication Survey

Download Preferred Communication Survey Template

Microsoft Word | Adobe PDF  | Google Docs  | Smartsheet

What Should a Communication Plan Include?

A communication plan is a series of documents that outline all formal communication shared throughout a project. Every successful communication plan should include details about stakeholders, meetings, and more. 

  • Key Stakeholders: These are the people who have a heavily vested interest in the project. They might be owners, clients, managers, or anyone else who needs regular updates on large-scale project developments. Read our guide to managing and communicating with stakeholders for more information.
  • Team Members: These are the individuals working on the project. This also includes the project manager.
  • Scheduled Meetings and Updates: Identify what’s important to communicate, including but not limited to deadlines, project phases, budget updates, and roadblocks. Consider the best way to share this information. For example, you might find that a weekly bulletin email update is more valuable for some items than a weekly meeting. If possible, create a meeting schedule early to ensure that people can attend. Utilize an online scheduling tool like Doodle to determine the best times for your team to meet.
  • Specific Updates for Individuals: Pick out particular items of concern for key individuals. For example, C-level executives and clients might require opportunities to provide feedback at critical points, or they might only want updates after significant milestones.
  • Evolve as the Project Progresses: Many projects suffer from scope creep or simply grow during the span of the venture. Be sure to account for any major changes in your communication needs as time goes on.

How to Write a Project Communication Plan in 6 Steps

Writing a communication plan doesn’t have to be a chore. Determine the communication needs of your team, identify the key players and what they need to know, and create a schedule that satisfies the needs of all parties. 

  • Determine Your Communication Needs Consider the size and scope of the project, as well as the needs of your stakeholder, your client, and your team. Keep information relevant to the phase of the project and your audience.Bellomo emphasizes that some requirements will change based on the project phase. “There is typically frequent client communication (calls, emails, and in-person meetings) throughout the preproduction phase of the project while working through design and engineering. Client communication usually slows down after approvals, and the internal shop communication will ramp up for the project kickoff meeting and through production. Minimal client communication may happen through this phase, except for providing progress photos and updates throughout the build. Once build elements move into finishing, client communications usually ramp back up as we work through logistics and install details.”
  • Determine the Communication Goals for Your Team Team cohesion? Early and ongoing feedback from stakeholders? Improved record keeping and ensuring best practices? These are just some of the goals you might set for yourself and the team. It is essential to consider your goals when outlining a schedule to create an effective plan.
  • Name the Project and Outline the Goals By including the project goals on the plan, it is easier to check for scope creep as time passes. You can also ensure that you’re not wasting time and the updates and information you’re sharing aligns with the project’s goals from the outset.

Communication Matrix

  • Consolidate the Information into One Document This document is your communication plan that you can share with the team. Go over the plan to give everyone an idea of what to expect and when to expect it.

Sample Project Communication Plan Template

Sample Project Communication Plan Template

Download Sample Project Communication Plan Template

Microsoft Excel | Microsoft Word | Google Sheets | Adobe PDF

You can use this example of a completed project communication plan as a reference when creating your own. This template highlights key stakeholders and their preferred contact information, types and frequency of interaction, and communication goals. Download and customize this template for use in your own projects.

In this article , we’ve compiled other most useful project communication templates to aid project managers with consistent messaging.

Best Practices for Writing a Project Communication Plan

The needs of every project vary, but all communication plans should be able to change throughout the process. Focus only on what is relevant to each individual, and take into account their preferred methods and frequency of communication.

  • Be Open to Change: Keep an eye out for scope creep and don’t be afraid to update communication plans as projects evolve.
  • Consider Preferences: Your clients and high-level stakeholders likely have preferences in their style and frequency of communication. Take those into account when sending updates.
  • Focus on What Is Important: Keep the minutiae in an accessible place, such as a team message board or cloud-based drive, but only send out specific, necessary information to individuals.
  • Consider the Needs of Parallel Teams: Bellomo highlights the importance of looking at the big picture: “I give the client and shop a written work-back schedule to outline when they can expect to receive information and what kind. This helps ensure everything is clear from the onset on what we need and when to achieve the established delivery schedule. For example, if I need vector files for a logo provided before engineering can commence, I would put the deadline for that unit earlier than the deadline for the rest of the artwork package that doesn’t impact the build and only involves the graphics finishing team.”
  • Determine Your Tone: “It is important when establishing the initial communication with clients and the shop to be friendly and casual for the small stuff, but super detailed and outlined for the big stuff,” advises Bellomo.
  • Delegate Clearly: Bellomo also suggests to “make sure action items are clear by breaking things down by element, action item, due date, and who is responsible for the task.” When someone is responsible for reporting updates, make sure they know it.

Importance of Communication Management in Project Management

A well-established communication plan is integral to managing the workflow of a project. By laying out the communication expectations from the outset, you can ensure that key stakeholders and team members stay in the loop. 

Griffin notes that “setting early expectations for individuals and teams allows for better collaboration” throughout the course of a project. A communication plan can also ensure that team members stay accountable for relaying their own progress and achievements and that you have adequate time to provide and implement feedback during each stage of a project.

“Sticking to a standard allows individuals to know that they can come to you with any question and that you will assist them. Keep in mind that individuals are complex and have their own responsibilities while working on projects. Establish a communication schedule and follow up with an individual if they do not come through. If a delay arises, that is also OK; just make sure if there is a hiccup it is communicated clearly,” explains Griffin.

Benefits of a Project Communication Plan in Project Management

The benefits of a good project communication plan are far-reaching. You will stay more organized, build trust with your team and stakeholders, and ultimately end up needing to hold fewer meetings.

  • Organization: At its most basic level, a communication plan will help keep you and your project schedule organized by plotting a course for upcoming meetings and check-ins.
  • Team Cohesion: Keeping everyone in the loop fosters trust and helps you manage expectations. Griffin also emphasizes that “strong communication is a must, allowing for teams to collaborate, excel, and deliver the same level of service even while remote.”
  • Stakeholder Input: When you have a communication schedule in place, you allow for early and ongoing feedback from key players attached to the project.
  • Accountability: With a well-written plan, you can ensure that individuals stay accountable for reporting their work status and create a “paper trail” of reporting for higher-ups.
  • Establish Confidence: Show the team and the higher-ups that you know what they need and when they need it.
  • Fewer Meetings: Meetings take up a lot of time and resources. With a good communication plan, you can share information more often and in fewer meetings. Best of all, everyone will know exactly when to expect updates from the outset.

How to Use a Communication Plan Throughout a Project

Creating a comprehensive communication plan helps teams stay focused. No team is immune to scope creep, but with a communication plan, you can easily see where you're starting and recognize when goals no longer align with an existing plan.

Make sure the entire team has access to the plan and knows who is accountable for delivering and when. Your team will be able to help you see gaps in communication when everyone has access to the larger picture.

Don’t be afraid to change your plan. As issues come up — they always do — you can adapt your communication strategy much more easily when you have a system to reference. Keep your plan updated with contact information for stakeholders, frequency, and desired forms of communication as situations evolve.

Communication Activities in Project Management

Communication comes in many forms. Consider what you are sharing and who you are sharing it with, as well as their preferred communication methods.

  • Formal Communication Activities: Email, meetings, scheduled phone and video calls, and bulletin updates can all be considered formal communication. Any kind of communication that is monitored or stored should be formal and professional.
  • Informal Communication Activities: Watercooler or desk-side conversations and spur-of-the-moment phone calls are informal communication. Any kind of off-the-record communication is informal; if you establish an important point during one of these meetings, one or both parties should follow up by email to ensure that the conversation can be referenced later.
  • Involuntary Communication Activities: Consider your tone of voice and body language when communicating with the team; these can both add emphasis to the words you say.

Power Up Your Project Communication Plan with Smartsheet

Empower your people to go above and beyond with a flexible platform designed to match the needs of your team — and adapt as those needs change. 

The Smartsheet platform makes it easy to plan, capture, manage, and report on work from anywhere, helping your team be more effective and get more done. Report on key metrics and get real-time visibility into work as it happens with roll-up reports, dashboards, and automated workflows built to keep your team connected and informed. 

When teams have clarity into the work getting done, there’s no telling how much more they can accomplish in the same amount of time.  Try Smartsheet for free, today.

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What Is Project Communication Management?

  • 1.  Project Management Basics
  • 2.  Project Management Methodologies
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  • 4.  Project Management Software
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  • 6.  Agile Methodology Basics
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Introduction to Project Communication Management

Project communication management is a crucial aspect of project management as it ensures all stakeholders are kept informed about the project’s progress, issues, and changes, thereby facilitating effective decision making and collaboration.

In this article, we will dive deep into project communication management, exploring everything from the creation of a project communication plan to strategies for achieving success in its implementation.

Before we begin, you can unlock a free trial with Wrike right now to communicate and collaborate effortlessly in real time.

What is project communication management?

Project communication management is a collection of processes that help make sure the right messages are sent, received, and understood by the right people. 

Project communication management is one of the 10 key knowledge areas in the PMBOK (Project Management Book of Knowledge). The processes included in this area have changed over the years but, in the current version, there are three primary project communication management processes.

  • Plan communications management
  • Manage communications
  • Monitor communications

How to create a project communication management plan

Project managers need to clearly outline how they will manage communications across their projects. This is done by creating a project communication management plan.

When creating a plan, project managers should follow these five steps:

  • Decide your objectives: What will be the purpose of your communication? You may use some communication tools for awareness, such as a status report. Others may require action, such as requiring a sponsor to authorize spending or a customer to approve project testing.
  • Determine your audience: Who are the stakeholders in this project? You should make an extensive list of everyone involved. Consider anyone impacted by the project or who influences its success. This list should include team members, sponsors, customers, and other interested parties.
  • Write your message: What will the message be for each type of communication? This is the actual content that will be shared. Key components to be communicated include scope, schedule , budget, objectives, risks, and deliverables .
  • Choose your channel: How will the message be delivered? Will it be a formal report emailed out to all stakeholders? Or will it be an informal verbal debrief during a team meeting?
  • Set a timeline: When will you deliver your message? Do your stakeholders require weekly or monthly reports? Is there a deadline to meet? Consider varying time zones and employee schedules here.

Your project communication management plan should be detailed enough to lay out why you’re sending a message, who you’re sending it to, what specific information will be sent, how you’re going to send it, and when.


Involving your stakeholders in the creation of this plan is important. You need to understand their communication preferences and expectations. If you over-communicate, they may stop paying attention. But, if you under-communicate, it can lead to misunderstandings and issues.

The golden rule here is that, to be a good communicator, you need to be a good listener. It may seem obvious, but Harvard Business Review points out that listening is an overlooked leadership tool . Pay attention to all the factors and take every opinion into account before creating your project communication management plan.

Manage project communication

Once the project communication management plan has been created and approved, it’s the project manager’s job to ensure it’s carried out successfully. This means the plan needs to be reviewed and updated on a regular basis to reflect any changes to the project or its stakeholders. 

The project manager also has to manage the execution of the project communication management plan. This includes:

  • Collection and analysis of data
  • Creation of messages for communication
  • Transmission or distribution of communications
  • Storage of any communication reports, files, or documents
  • Retrieval of any stored communications
  • Disposal of any old communications upon project closure or a set date

Monitor project communication

This process used to be called ‘control communications,’ but was updated in the sixth edition of the PMBOK. Despite the title change, the process is the same. It involves monitoring and controlling project communications throughout the entire lifecycle.

This may include the confirmation of the following:

  • Communications went out as planned
  • They were received by the proper stakeholders
  • Messages were understood
  • Any relevant feedback was provided to the appropriate project members

The actual type of monitoring, including method and frequency, should be a part of the project communication management plan.

Manage and monitor communication effortlessly in one platform

How to be successful at project communication management.

Excellent communication is a critical component of project success. In fact, poor communication is one of the main reasons a project can fail . Project communication management ensures that does not happen.

Successful project managers use formal and informal communication methods across various channels. This helps increase the chances that messages are received. Use simple language, stick to relevant topics, keep messages concise, and include all information in one place to reduce your chances of communication failure .

The following communication management skills can also increase a project manager’s chances of success:

  • Strong active listening skills
  • Proficient writing skills
  • Excellent speaking ability
  • Asking questions and probing for more information
  • Setting and managing expectations
  • Motivating people to become and stay engaged
  • Conflict resolution skills
  • The ability to summarize and recap what you’ve heard

Why use Wrike for project communication management?

Wrike’s project management platform is a powerful tool for project managers. It is intuitive, easy to use, and versatile enough to be tailored to your specific project needs. Wrike also has a variety of features that can help project managers increase and improve communication throughout their various project stages. These include:

  • Custom request forms : By automating requests, project managers can efficiently communicate task requirements in seconds, and add extra information in custom fields.
  • @mentions : Tag a team member to send a notification directly to their Wrike inbox. This ensures that no messages are lost in unread emails.
  • Integrations : Keep all your project communication on one platform by integrating Wrike with your favorite messaging apps, including Slack and Microsoft Teams.
  • Live Editor : With this tool, you can edit task descriptions in real-time, meaning several people can communicate changes quickly with each other. This is especially useful for remote teams working together on a group project. 
  • Calendars : Share updates in team calendars, so that everyone is kept in the loop. Edit project deadlines and due dates easily.

Take a tour of Wrike’s work management platform and find out how you can boost your project communication management.

So, why not embrace the principles of project communication management and harness the power of Wrike? Doing so can significantly enhance the success rate of your projects, leading to satisfied stakeholders, a motivated team, and a thriving business. After all, effective communication is the cornerstone of any successful project, and Wrike is here to help you achieve just that.

Further reading:

  • 4 Reasons Why Communication Fails (And What To Do About It)
  • 6 Strategic Ways to Keep Your Team Communication Streamlined
  • 5 Most Common Mistakes in Managing Multiple Projects: Communication Breakdown (Part 5 of 5)
  • 5 Ways to Save Your Team from Communication Breakdowns
  • The 5 Ws of Virtual Communication

Basic Project Management

  • Project Charter
  • Project Management Stakeholders
  • What is a Project?
  • Work Breakdown Structure
  • Project Objectives
  • Project Baseline
  • Project Management Scheduling
  • Project Management Work Packages
  • Project Management Scope
  • Scope Creep

Advanced Project Management

  • What is PERT?
  • Network Diagram
  • Risk Management
  • Cost Estimation
  • Feasibility Study
  • Monte Carlo Analysis
  • Project Integration
  • Cost Management
  • PMI Project Management
  • What To Do With Certification
  • Certification
  • Become Certified
  • PMP Certification
  • Best Certification

Software Features

  • Critical Success Factors
  • Capacity Planning
  • User Role Access Permissions
  • Time Tracking
  • Budget Tracking
  • Request Forms
  • Work Assignments
  • Version Control
  • Dependency Managements
  • Project management Milestones
  • Project Management Software
  • Project Management Tools
  • Project Management System
  • Gantt Charts
  • Contact sales

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How to Create a Project Communication Plan (Template Included)


Communication is strange. It should be so easy. You say something and someone listens and understands. But it doesn’t always work out that way, does it?

So, what can you do to ensure your words are heard and the message you’re trying to convey is comprehended and acted on correctly? That’s a tall order. You’ve probably noticed in both your personal and professional life that it’s easier said than done.

But there’s a way to make communication clearer through a process. If you have a project communication plan, like our free template, then you have a way to get information to those who need it in a way that’s understandable and actionable.

What Is a Project Communication Plan?

A communication plan is used to define the information that’s disseminated to the project team as well as project stakeholders. It not only defines what should be communicated but also when it should be communicated and how often. The communication plan will also decide on the channel that the communication should be delivered. This information likely varies depending on who the communication is targeting. For example, stakeholders will only need a general understanding of the project, while team members will get more detailed information.

Project management software helps you schedule communication more efficiently. ProjectManager helps you create the schedule for your communication plan on a Gantt chart, so there’s an easy-to-read visual of its frequency. Meetings, newsletters, social events, conferences, seminars, etc., can all be charted on the timeline to keep track of your various communications. You can also set up recurring tasks so you don’t have to add the same thing over and over again throughout your project. Get started with ProjectManager today for free.

ProjectManager's Gantt chart

How to Create a Project Communication Plan In 4 Steps

A project communication plan should be a thorough and comprehensive review of the who, what, where, how and when of communication. To make sure you’ve hit all the key points, the following must be included when writing your communication plan.

1. Define Your Communication Guidelines

Define what is appropriate communication for each group that will receive communications throughout the life cycle of your project . As mentioned above, such guidelines will include what type of information will be shared with which member of the project team.

2. Identify Your Target Audience

Communication is tailored to the target audience, but in a project , there’s more than one group that gets communication. There are stakeholders, team members, possibly architects, engineers, subcontractors, vendors, et al. List all these groups.

3. Determine a Communication Schedule

Everyone who’s listed in your target audience for communication will have a different schedule by which they receive information. Determine whether they require communication daily, weekly or monthly.

4. Choose Delivery Channels

As noted earlier, there are different channels for communication. A team might get their communication in a meeting, while stakeholders might prefer email or even a phone call. Define the preferred channel of communication for each.

Project Communication Plan Template

To help you create your communication plan, ProjectManager has a free project communication plan template for Word. Here you just have to fill in the blanks to define everything from your vision and objectives to schedule. This is one of dozens of free project management templates for Excel and Word you can download from our site. There’s one for almost everything you’ll ever need when managing a project.

Project communication plan template

Why Is It Important to Create a Project Communication Plan?

Communication isn’t just about barking directives or conveying your message, it’s also about asking questions. Communications are a two-way street, and if you’re only going one-way then you’re going to get stuck at a dead end.

There’s enough data to support the idea that communication is crucial to project success. Everything you do in project management is partial if not entirely a communicative process. Planning is a way to communicate your path through time to complete a series of tasks. Managing those tasks is a constant communicative effort with your team. And so on.

You wouldn’t start a project without a plan in place, and so a communications plan is equally important. It defines how you’re going to get the critical project information to the people who need it, clearly and in a timely manner.

Different projects, of course, demand different communication management styles. Large projects require more structure to your communication plan, but a smaller one doesn’t mean you can just wing it. Communication plans must be made in context, but they must be made.

When you formalize the process of communication in a project, you’re taking steps to make the project successful. If you don’t, your project could fall off course.

Benefits of Using a Project Communication Plan

A communication plan might not seem as important as your resource planning or risk management, but it’s an essential part of the proper way to manage a project. It will keep stakeholders informed, which is one way to manage their expectations, and it helps your team stay on track and avoid overspending on the budget. This increases the chance of a successful project and a product or service that meets your client’s or customer’s satisfaction.

12 Tips for Creating an Effective Project Communication Plan

Now that we’re all on board with the validity of creating a communication plan, how exactly do we make one that can work fluidly across all the channels we need to communicate? Let’s define the communication plan for a larger project, as it’s easier to take away what you don’t need than add it later.

1. Know the Project Culture

Knowing the context of the communications is critical to creating an effective plan. That means understanding the culture of the organization for which you’re working. How structured or casual is it? How have communications been handled in the past? Have those communications been successful? Know the environment you’re working in first.

2. Start with the Project Background

Before effective communication can start, you should have a clear picture of what exactly it is that you’re communicating. By describing the project landscape, so to speak, you know what your parameters are, and it’ll help you get buy-in from the stakeholders and your team. In short, you  lead through your communication .

Start with a project vision and its objectives and jot them down. This is the lodestar you’ll follow throughout your project, so you want to have them clearly defined from the start and remind people throughout the project of the importance of this mission.

Next, you must assign an owner to the communication process. If you have too many people responsible for communications, then your message is scattered and less effective. Pick that person and provide them with the right project collaboration tools .

You’re also going to need a review method in place to monitor the effectiveness of your communications. This way, if your metrics show that you’re not getting a message across to those who need to hear it, you can tweak the process before it negatively impacts the whole project.

And you’re going to want to record the measurement process after you close out the project. Now you have a record of how well your communication plan worked and where it fell short, so you can address those issues when developing a communication plan for your next project.

3. Have an Actual Communication Plan

It seems obvious that a better communication plan requires having a plan, but it’s surprising how many people fly by the seat of their pants. Communication is sending emails, setting meetings or talking with someone. You tell them what they need to know and then they take that information and apply it.

Sure, but it doesn’t always work out that way. You need to have a process in place to make sure no messages fall through the cracks. A plan helps you reach the right people with the right information.

You can use the calendar feature in ProjectManager to create tasks for key dates. Those tasks have descriptions, comments, file attachments and assignees, priority levels and more. By planning out your tasks ahead of time, you’ll maintain a steady flow of communication for everyone involved.

For more information about how project planning software can help you with your communication plan, watch the video below. Create plans, communicate with team members, store files and track results in real time with online software. Improve your plans and your project communication with one capable tool. Learn more:

4. Analyze the Situation

What are the strengths and weaknesses of your plan? You might have a project team that’s very well organized and communicates easily. But maybe stakeholders are not happy with the method you’ve chosen to communicate the project’s progress with them.

These strengths and weaknesses are not etched in stone. They can be springboards of opportunity, and you should use them as such. Now you have a chance to improve your communication. Be aware of all strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and even threats to your communication process, and record them all.

5. Review Lessons from Past Projects

If this isn’t your first project, then you have a historical record to look back upon. That’s a great resource, one that’ll give you precedent and direction on moving forward. Even if you’ve never led a project before, chances are that the organization you’re working for has, and they have archives of past projects , which can be a valuable tool at your disposal.

Start with a list of the basic communications that have taken place, how they were made and if they were successful. Now document what you’ve learned from this research and apply it to the present communication plan.

6. Be SMART!

What are you going to achieve with your communication plan? Good communication, of course. But how do you make sure of that?

Well, begin with a list. What are your three top objectives? Got those. But make sure you’re SMART about it. Yes, SMART is an acronym to remind you to be:

  • M easurable
  • A ctionable
  • R elevant; and

Relevance is key. Don’t assume everyone wants the same amount of info delivered in the same way, but most everyone wants their information delivered consistently on time.

7. Have Communication Guidelines and Follow Them

With your objectives in place, you now need to formulate a plan by which to achieve them. So, you need to set guidelines to help you get those communication objectives out.

For example, you must determine how you’re going to deliver the message, whether you want structured and regular feedback, meetings, a procedure of approval before sending a missive, what to send, etc.

Define the core types of communications you are producing, and then set about clarifying the method of delivery and process for feedback and approvals for each method. The communications owner or liaison should own this chart and process to make sure they are followed up on.

8. Make Rules for Meetings

Meetings are a great communication tool and should be part of any project communication plan. But meetings have a bad reputation as time-wasters. They certainly can be, but they don’t have to be inefficient. That’s why you want to have guidelines to make sure your meeting is getting the right message to the right people.

Start by only having those people in a meeting who need to be there. Then make sure you have an agenda to keep you on message. Keep meeting minutes and assign action items. Not all meetings need such structure, but you want them to facilitate the work, not interrupt it.

9. Determine Who are Your Stakeholders

These are people that you’ll be in communication with throughout the project, as you note the progress, so they can feel things are moving smoothly to a positive end. If you miscommunicate with them, you risk the very project itself as you’ll need to meet their expectations .

So, you want to map those stakeholders , what their role in the project is and what it is that they need to know about the project, what frequency you need to communicate with them, etc. Make sure you also ask your stakeholders how they need information. Some of them have stakeholders of their own!

Make sure this list is shared with those stakeholders, so they can approve or comment. This will help to keep them in the loop and you focused on the project at hand.

10. Focus on What Truly Matters for Stakeholders

You can get inundated with data when you’re managing a project. That’s why it’s important to prioritize the most important data points and define where that information needs to go.

Communicating on projects means focusing on one thing or else you have too broad a message. There are many metrics to communicate, from project status and issues to project risk and deliverables. Decide which are most crucial for which people.

11. Choose the Right Channels

There are many channels to disseminate your message. One method might not be the magic bullet to cure all your communication ills. Some like email, others prefer text or chat and there are those who still like to get a printed document . Know who needs what and set up those channels.

12. Monitor Your Project Communications

Yes, communications aren’t thrown into the void with the hope that they’ll connect. If you want to know if your communications are hitting their marks, you must monitor them. You can simply ask if they’ve been received or require an acknowledgment of receipt. There is also software that can automate this process for you.

Key Project Management Reports to Include in Your Project Communication Plan

When communicating during the execution of a project , there are several vehicles that best deliver the information to show your progress. Of course, different stakeholders need different reports, but the following are the most substantial ones.

Status Report

The status report periodically updates the work being done by the project team to the project manager and stakeholders. It’s a marker that shows where the project is in relation to where it’s supposed to be at that time. They help with the communication of keeping everyone focused on the same issue and provide a record of the project’s progress. They should be clear.

ProjectManager's status report filter

Budget Report

The budget report is focused on the costs of the project as they are being spent in real time and compared to the established budget from the project plan. The only way to communicate how much money is being spent on a project is to monitor it and report back periodically to capture a picture of your spending at that time. Then you can look at where you planned to be in your budget at that point in the project and determine if you’re on track or not.

Workload Report

The workload report charts the workload for your project, according to the progress of the teams and their tasks. Workload management reports communicate how far along each team member is with their tasks by showing if the task is completed, still in progress or overdue. This is another way to communicate the progress of the project as well as keep everyone abreast of where they are in the larger picture.

Project Dashboards

A dashboard is going to track a series of project metrics and just crunch that data to show in charts and graphs where you are in the project. This takes what’s often complex and hard-to-digest information and delivers it in a more palatable and understandable way.

ProjectManager's real-time dashboard

If your dashboard is illustrating metrics in real-time, like ProjectManager , then that data is current and you can easily share the information with your stakeholders. This makes communication clear and offers stakeholders a visual for the project’s progress during presentations.

Related Content

  • 10 Project Meetings to Guide Your Project Management Team
  • 12 Essential Project Reports
  • Project Documentation: 15 Essential Documents

If you’re ready to take the leap into the 21 st century, then start using project management software to facilitate your project communication needs. ProjectManager is an online tool that means you’re messages are delivered and received in real time, and your communication plan folds in seamlessly with all the other aspects of the project. Get started with ProjectManager and take this free 30-day trial.

Click here to browse ProjectManager's free templates

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BSPOKE Software | Digital Transformation Partners


Construction, hospitality, transportation, local government, health & safety, how to successfully communicate with your project manager.

Communication is one of the most important factors when discussing the success of a project. Working with an experienced project manager can help to take a lot of the stress and pressure off your plate, but you need to work hard to foster a good working relationship. Without regular and clear communication, you’ll find your relationship deteriorates, and the project can also be put at risk.

Our list of suggestions for the best ways you can successfully communicate with your project manager, is a useful guide whether you are working with a project manager within your own company or an outsourced one.

Types of communication

From the very start of the project, we encourage you to align your expectations regarding the type of communication you are planning to use. You’ll likely need to use multiple different forms of direct and indirect communication during the project, including email, meetings (either in-person or video calls), Slack, and any other tools your company uses. When it comes to communication, it’s all about finding the right methods that work for both of you.

Everyone has a different style of communication, and you may find that one works for you and your project manager better than others. Create a communication plan at the start of the project to help you set expectations regarding effective communication.

Listen and respect their role

Even if you find you are frustrated at certain points of the project, you’ll want to ensure you always listen to your project manager. Try to understand the issues they may be experiencing within the team, and then work together to fix them. Take the time to go into the finer details with your project manager and ask any questions you and your stakeholders may have. Respect the knowledge and experience your project manager brings to the table, and try not to start doing their job for them. This is one of the most common issues that’s experienced when outsourcing a project and something you need to work hard to avoid.

Trust in the work of the team and simply ask for regular updates from the project manager to keep you in the loop.

Set clear goals

One of the top reasons that projects fail is that clear expectations weren’t set from the very beginning of the project. While we understand many things may change during the course of the project, if you have a clear objective from the get-go, you and your project manager will be much more aligned in your understanding of the work that’s to be done. Both of you should establish which other team members and stakeholders should be involved in various meetings. Try to avoid adding too many other people into communications where unnecessary, as this can distort the clear chain of communication and disrupt the process. Document your project plan upfront and then regularly review this with your project manager. Ensure the team has scheduled updates for the project plan so that everyone has a clear idea of the status of the project.

Have realistic expectations

We’d all love our project to start and finish on time as planned, but as with anything in life, that’s not always possible. When working with a project manager, ensure your expectations are realistic, both in regards to time and scale. While you certainly have to discuss any late deliveries and issues, don’t be unrealistic with how much the team can do in a certain period of time. Expect adjustments to be needed throughout the process, as not everything is going to go perfectly to plan. Both of you will need to show flexibility throughout your working relationship, and we encourage you both to be very honest and open with your communication. Bottling up any frustrations results in more issues further down the line, so as soon as something is bothering you, speak up and discuss these troubles.

Ask questions

Don’t just assume that you’ll be told every tiny detail about your project without asking. With so much going on during the development process, it’s easy for smaller details to be overlooked in your meetings. If you feel like something has been skipped over, make sure you ask your project manager about this area of concern to clarify any issues. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to understand the processes that are used and the people involved. While you may feel like you are stepping on their toes, they’ll likely just think that you are extremely interested in their work. Both you and a project manager can learn a lot by fostering a good working relationship.

Good planning

With all of the excitement of starting a new project, it’s so easy to jump straight into the work without holding enough planning meetings. Our number one recommendation for successfully communicating with your project manager is to take the time to get to know each other during the planning stage. The more time you spend together working out the finer details of the project, the better you’ll understand each other’s way of working and expectations. If you’ve outsourced the project, you probably feel like your work is done, but that’s when things start to go wrong very quickly. Don’t ever neglect to take the time to plan with your team, as this is the number one thing you need to do for a successful project. A plan helps to keep you all accountable, which is something that’s needed to form great relationships in any workplace.

To summarise

Communication with your project manager can make or break the success of your next project. By following these suggestions listed above, you can help avoid some of the common frustrations and communication breakdowns within this relationship. We encourage you to be open and honest when communicating throughout the project and don’t let any issues or frustrations build up for too long. When you plan together how you will communicate from the very start, you’ll find that you set the path for a great working relationship that will result in an excellent end product for your users and stakeholders.

Contact the folks at BSPOKE Software today, if a custom software system is what you are looking for!

Project manager sets goals

  • Beverley Baker
  • July 1, 2021

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10 Ways to Communicate Better as a Project Manager

From the z anda x project management blog.

Articles to help to manage projects on time and on budget

Article author: Jordan James

1. Deliver clear instructions

2. encourage collaboration, 3. be honest, 4. be more confident, 5. be transparent, 6. be focused, 7. be objective.

Resolve Workplace Conflict

8. Lead by example

9. motivate your team, 10. be consistent and dynamic, back to the project management blog, the zandax leadership & management blog.

Category: Management - Self Development

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What Does a Communications Project Manager Do?

  • Career Path
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A communications project manager is in charge of overseeing the development of internal and external communication materials. Their responsibilities typically revolve around performing research and analysis to identify client or company needs, developing effective communication strategies, coordinating different teams to ensure the quality and accuracy of projects, setting objectives and goals, and managing schedules and budgets. Furthermore, as a manager, it is essential to lead and encourage the team to reach goals, all while implementing the company's policies and regulations, including its vision and mission.

Communications project manager responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real communications project manager resumes:

  • Manage SEO outreach activities to develop visibility.
  • Manage SharePoint front page for company-wide news and departmental updates using original and curate content.
  • Maintain strong working relationships across all departments to manage successful on-site opportunities, content and multimedia asset development and spokesperson requests.
  • Revise, edit and reformat PowerPoint decks and training manuals.
  • Render PowerPoint assistance that support the team s communications programs and promotions.
  • Create and run various Facebook contests aim at driving growth and building the community.
  • Work on infrastructure and remodeling projects with capital budgets ranging from $100k- $29M.
  • Co-Creat and develop the vision and mechanics behind a start-up online social poker game operating on Facebook.
  • Participate in evaluation and implementation of BrightEdge SEO platform; optimize website for placement of keywords or other content.
  • Work with all levels of leadership in developing the organizational infrastructure.
  • Collaborate and negotiate with technology business unit leaders to implement firm-wide intranet platform.
  • Maintain intranet portal for extensive SPI documentation library; develop monthly project updates for dissemination to the leadership team.
  • Create new internal communications programs and tools, including those on SharePoint, and evaluate existing communication channels to recommend enhancements.
  • Facilitate physician communications for Medicaid insurance providers affiliate with UnitedHealthcare.


Communications project manager skills and personality traits

We calculated that 20 % of Communications Project Managers are proficient in Project Management , PowerPoint , and Web Content . They’re also known for soft skills such as Managerial skills , Time-management skills , and Analytical skills .

We break down the percentage of Communications Project Managers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

Generated content; designed, published, and distributed color newsletter focused on training for corporate portal and municipal project management.

Created and edited marketing MS PowerPoint presentations to deliver a concise persuasive message.

Assisted with development and management of the Communications Department education external web content.

Develop and execute strategic plans and maintain status reports for corporate and affiliated organizations.

Managed SharePoint front page for company-wide news and departmental updates using original and curated content.

Implemented plans for integrated marketing communications projects, campaign tactics, corporate communications and sales lead generation projects.

Most communications project managers use their skills in "project management," "powerpoint," and "web content" to do their jobs. You can find more detail on essential communications project manager responsibilities here:

  • Managerial skills. One of the key soft skills for a communications project manager to have is managerial skills. You can see how this relates to what communications project managers do because "social and community service managers spend much of their time administering budgets and responding to a variety of issues." Additionally, a communications project manager resume shows how communications project managers use managerial skills: "managed communications department; managerial responsibility for corporate communications strategy including external communications and media relations. "
  • Time-management skills. Many communications project manager duties rely on time-management skills. "social and community service managers must prioritize and handle numerous tasks, often in a short timeframe.," so a communications project manager will need this skill often in their role. This resume example is just one of many ways communications project manager responsibilities rely on time-management skills: "consulted with internal clients in developing strategic survey questions and establishing deadlines for the greatest possible number of responses. "
  • Analytical skills. Another skill that relates to the job responsibilities of communications project managers is analytical skills. This skill is critical to many everyday communications project manager duties, as "social and community service managers need to understand and evaluate data in order to provide strategic guidance to their organization." This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "enhanced program performance reporting and analysis, spurring demand for process improvements to reach optimum roi. "
  • Problem-solving skills. A big part of what communications project managers do relies on "problem-solving skills." You can see how essential it is to communications project manager responsibilities because "social and community service managers must be able to address client, staff, and agency-related issues." Here's an example of how this skill is used from a resume that represents typical communications project manager tasks: "deployed solutions to multiple environments including production provided weekly status reports to senior compliance management and prioritize upcoming work. "
  • Communication skills. Another crucial skill for a communications project manager to carry out their responsibilities is "communication skills." A big part of what communications project managers relies on this skill, since "social and community service managers must be able to speak and write clearly." How this skill relates to communications project manager duties can be seen in an example from a communications project manager resume snippet: "lead a team; coordination of custom communication pieces; press releases; spearheading contact by e-mail w/members & partners. "

See the full list of communications project manager skills

The three companies that hire the most communications project managers are:

  • Parsons 6 communications project managers jobs
  • United Natural Foods 4 communications project managers jobs
  • HDR 4 communications project managers jobs

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Communications project manager vs. manager of corporate communications.

A manager of corporate communications is primarily responsible for overseeing the external and internal communications in a company, ensuring everything is running smoothly. They are also responsible for managing marketing communications and public relations, and even developing various marketing content. There are also instances where they must handle a company's social media platforms, review communication materials, and provide progress reports of different projects and programs. Furthermore, as a manager, it is essential to lead and encourage team members, all while implementing the company's policies and regulations.

We looked at the average communications project manager salary and compared it with the wages of a manager of corporate communications. Generally speaking, managers of corporate communications are paid $1,013 lower than communications project managers per year.

Even though communications project managers and managers of corporate communications are distinct careers, a few of the skills required for both jobs are similar. For example, both careers require project management, powerpoint, and sharepoint in the day-to-day roles and responsibilities.

There are some key differences in the responsibilities of each position. For example, communications project manager responsibilities require skills like "web content," "status reports," "communications projects," and "hr." Meanwhile a typical manager of corporate communications has skills in areas such as "employee engagement," "crisis communications," "external audiences," and "human resources." This difference in skills reveals the differences in what each career does.

Managers of corporate communications tend to make the most money working in the manufacturing industry, where they earn an average salary of $104,720. In contrast, communications project managers make the biggest average salary, $81,929, in the manufacturing industry.

The education levels that managers of corporate communications earn slightly differ from communications project managers. In particular, managers of corporate communications are 0.5% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a communications project manager. Additionally, they're 0.5% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

Communications project manager vs. Project director

A project director is an individual responsible for supervising workers from various departments given specific tasks to complete a given project. They create a budget to complete a job while monitoring the amount of money spent to ensure that overspending is avoided. They provide presentations to investors, business partners, and company executives to inform them about their progress and development. Project directors must have several years of experience and obtain at least a bachelor's degree in business economics or a related field to be hired.

Project director positions earn higher pay than communications project manager roles. They earn a $22,222 higher salary than communications project managers per year.

A few skills overlap for communications project managers and project directors. Resumes from both professions show that the duties of each career rely on skills like "project management," "hr," and "project scope. "

In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences worth noting. For example, communications project manager responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "powerpoint," "web content," "status reports," and "sharepoint." Meanwhile, a project director has duties that require skills in areas such as "oversight," "customer satisfaction," "adaptive," and "erp." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

Project directors earn a higher average salary than communications project managers. But project directors earn the highest pay in the technology industry, with an average salary of $106,707. Additionally, communications project managers earn the highest salaries in the manufacturing with average pay of $81,929 annually.

Average education levels between the two professions vary. Project directors tend to reach higher levels of education than communications project managers. In fact, they're 7.4% more likely to graduate with a Master's Degree and 0.5% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

Communications project manager vs. Marketing communications specialist

A marketing communications specialist is an individual who is responsible for creating all the marketing materials that are distributed to customers to increase brand awareness for the company's products or services. To create these materials, marketing communications specialists must collaborate with graphic design teams. They are required to track their marketing performance so that they can identify ways to improve their marketing strategies. Marketing communications specialists must also set up interviews and press conferences as part of their marketing campaign.

An average marketing communications specialist eans a lower salary compared to the average salary of communications project managers. The difference in salaries amounts to marketing communications specialists earning a $31,181 lower average salary than communications project managers.

Communications project managers and marketing communications specialists both have job responsibilities that require similar skill sets . These similarities include skills such as "project management," "powerpoint," and "web content," but they differ when it comes to other required skills.

The required skills of the two careers differ considerably. For example, communications project managers are more likely to have skills like "status reports," "project scope," "strategic communications," and "voip." But a marketing communications specialist is more likely to have skills like "digital marketing," "graphic design," "marketing campaigns," and "customer service."

Marketing communications specialists make a very good living in the technology industry with an average annual salary of $70,324. On the other hand, communications project managers are paid the highest salary in the manufacturing industry, with average annual pay of $81,929.

When it comes to education, marketing communications specialists tend to earn similar degree levels compared to communications project managers. In fact, they're 4.7% less likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 1.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

Communications project manager vs. Director of communications and marketing

A director of communications and marketing spearheads a company's marketing and communication projects in adherence with the company's vision and mission. Being the director, they have the authority to make decisions, delegate responsibilities among managers and teams, and direct the project and program cycle from planning to execution, solving issues and concerns if any would arise. They also set goals and budgets, establish timelines and requirements, and conduct regular assessments. Additionally, as a director, they must lead and empower employees in a joint effort to reach goals and industry standards.

Directors of communications and marketing tend to earn a higher pay than communications project managers by an average of $2,150 per year.

According to resumes from communications project managers and directors of communications and marketing, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "project management," "powerpoint," and "web content. "

Even though a few skill sets overlap between communications project managers and directors of communications and marketing, there are some differences that are important to note. For one, a communications project manager might have more use for skills like "status reports," "sharepoint," "communications projects," and "hr." Meanwhile, some responsibilities of directors of communications and marketing require skills like "marketing campaigns," "digital marketing," "graphic design," and "social media marketing. "

The professional industry tends to pay the highest salaries for directors of communications and marketing, with average annual pay of $78,844. Comparatively, the highest communications project manager annual salary comes from the manufacturing industry.

Directors of communications and marketing reach similar levels of education compared to communications project managers, in general. The difference is that they're 0.3% more likely to earn a Master's Degree, and 0.9% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.

Types of communications project manager

Project manager, how to become a project manager.

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How To Become a Communications Manager

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How To Become a Communications Director

Project director, how to become a project director.

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How To Become a Director Of Communications And Marketing

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communication with project manager

Mastering Project Management: Tips for Success

From planning to execution, a project manager needs to oversee every aspect of a project to ensure its success. However, not everyone knows how to manage a project effectively. Let’s explore the tips and tricks that can help you master project management and how taking an online project management course can benefit your career.

What is Project Management?

Project management effectively plans, executes, controls, and closes tasks to reach specific goals and objectives. A product manager ensures that projects are delivered on time and within budget to meet stakeholders’ expectations. It can involve managing resources, timelines, budgets, personnel, and communication to deliver quality results. By implementing project management strategies, businesses can stay focused and increase their chances of success.

Define Your Project Goals and Objectives

When starting a new project, it is essential to know your end goal and the result you aim to achieve. A clear understanding of project objectives ensures that all team members are on the same page and work towards the same goal. Define these goals with your team, and use them as the foundation for the rest of the project.

Develop a Project Plan

A project plan is essential for keeping your project on track. Outline every aspect of the project, including deadlines and milestones. Ensure that everyone knows their role and knows how to achieve their objectives within the given timeframe. Having a project plan can boost productivity and reduce confusion within your team.

Keep Communication Open

Open communication is essential in project management. Make sure your team members can communicate with one another and that you are accessible for any questions or concerns. Open communication leads to better cooperation and ensures that everyone involved in the project knows potential issues as early as possible.

Monitor Progress Regularly

Keep track of progress made during the project and ensure everyone is on schedule. A good project manager must constantly monitor progress and ensure everyone meets their objectives. Use milestones and deadlines to keep track of everyone’s progress toward the end goal. If there are any issues, intervene early to avoid any potential delays.

Learn from Past Projects

After completing a project, reflect on what went well and what could have been improved. This process will help you identify any potential areas of improvement for the future. Take the lessons learned and apply them to your next project. This step can help you grow as a project manager and help you perfect your project management skills.

Continue Learning

Mastering project management is crucial for the success of any project you take on in your career. An online bachelor of business administration program can help you develop these skills, increase your knowledge, and enhance your marketability. By applying these tips to your project management strategy, you can lead your team to achieve their project goals and grow as a professional.

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5 change management skills every leader needs in 2024.

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Effective change management is an important skill set for leaders today

We are living in an era of uncertainty. We are unsettled about our jobs and industries—they are threatened with layoffs. We are worried about the impact of AI or what artificial intelligence even is. We have fears of a global recession and are daily encumbered with the rising costs of living, and are concerned about upcoming political elections.

As a manager or leader, it's important to recognize the impact that these various external circumstances have on your employees and their wellbeing at work, and be empathetic to the situation by introducing any necessary changes to their work in a way that is combined with understanding and support. This is supported by the fact that a Gartner study showed that 73% of employees report moderate to high stress levels as a direct result of changes in their organization, resulting in 5% worse performance than the average employee.

Here are five change management skills you need to build and have on your priority list for professional development this coming year:

Empathy is a soft skill that is essential to successful change implementation. It helps strengthen your team's trust in you, and increases their buy-in. Take time to be sensitive to their circumstances and demonstrate that you care about their perspectives and feedback, and how they will be impacted. Through making necessary provisions, the resistance to change is reduced and any roadblocks will become more manageable.

Coaching is a vital leadership skill, because it empowers your team and rouses them to action through self-motivation. As a manager or leader, coaching involves getting curious and asking insightful, thought-provoking questions that will help them view a situation and their responsibilities differently. Coaching helps your team members be more responsible for their actions and enables them to take initiative to support the change. In addition, coaching your team through transitionary periods empowers them to play to their strengths and achieve their potential, while accomplishing the desired business outcome.

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Not to be confused with team leadership, teamwork is all about collaborative effort. You'll need to brush up on your relationship-building skills as you'll most likely be partnering and collaborating with multiple internal and external stakeholders as part of the change management process. If you feel uncomfortable with that idea right now, challenge yourself to become more involved with other areas of the business and expose yourself to varying scenarios, also called "stretch projects," to develop your cross-functional collaborative skills and to become more comfortable with working with external stakeholders.

Research shows that 70% of change management initiatives fail to reach their objectives due to lack of support from management. But leaders who deliver effective change outcomes have a knack for rousing everyone involved to action. They intrinsically know how to drive teams and stakeholders towards a common vision, a shared goal, and keep them motivated even when facing hurdles. Part of your role in leading through change is to motivate your team, to keep their productivity at a high when they naturally feel demotivated. Motivate through setting a challenge that is reasonable but also stretched your team's capabilities. Celebrate small successes and key wins consistently, and set smaller goals for them to achieve along the way.


Communication skills rank highly on LinkedIn's 2023 Most In-Demand Skills report , coming second to management. And it's not surprising, granted the fact that the lack of effective communication makes and breaks business goals and career success. Effective communication boils down to transparency, promptness, active listening, creating a welcome environment for obtaining feedback from those affected by change, and clarity.

When you develop these soft skills, not only will your change management initiative have a higher likelihood of success, but your career will thrive as you gain resilience, emotional intelligence, and people skills that are intrinsic to effective leadership. Now what's next? Set goals for how you intend to implement these skills in 2024. Share these goals with your manager and get to work in building trust from your team.

Rachel Wells

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Stanford University

Engagement Project Manager

🔍 school of humanities and sciences, stanford, california, united states.

Engagement Project Manager (Hybrid Opportunity)

The School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S) is the foundation of a liberal arts education at Stanford. The school encompasses 23 departments and 25 interdisciplinary programs. H&S is home to fundamental and applied research, where free, open, and critical inquiry is pursued across disciplines. As the university’s largest school, H&S serves as the foundation of a Stanford undergraduate education no matter which discipline students pursue as a major. Graduate students work alongside world-renowned faculty to pursue and shape foundational research that leads to breakthroughs and discoveries that shed new light on the past, influence the present, and shape the future. Together, faculty and students in H&S engage in inspirational teaching, learning, and research every day.

Program Description: From our base at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Department of Biology , the Natural Capital Project (NatCap) collaborates with wide-ranging experts from a global network of partner institutions as well as Stanford’s institutes, centers, programs, and seven schools to co-develop impactful, lasting work.

Position Summary: The Natural Capital Project is seeking an Engagement Project Manager (Project Management Facilitator) to provide communications, logistics, and strategic planning support on the Natural Capital Project’s key projects and initiative. The Engagement Project Manager will update and manage key planning documents (communications plan, branding strategy, social media planning, Trello coordination across team), coordinate with subject matter experts to develop multimedia for a new “massive open online course”, review proposals from graphic designers and other external contractors, and manage a quarterly external newsletter and a bimonthly internal newsletter. The Engagement Project Manager will also manage social media and multimedia strategy; provide input on numerous other deliverables, and work with subject matter experts to understand communications needs and develop materials like slides and graphics.

This is a 80% FTE, continuing, non-exempt position. This position will be based on the Stanford campus and will be considered for an option of telecommuting (hybrid of working on-site and off-site), subject to operational need.

If you believe that this opportunity is a match for your knowledge, skills and abilities, we encourage you to apply. Thank you for considering employment opportunities with the School of Humanities and Sciences.


●        Maintain and update a master project plan.

●        Follow up with internal and/or external stakeholders on scheduled project deliverables.

●        Perform representative project-associated duties including: project management processes and/or workflow maintenance; document and process change requests; monitor project scope, schedule, and budget, and report deviations and concerns to the project manager; monitor and/or perform assigned business integration, closeout, or commissioning logistics; compile due diligence data; perform analysis for vendor selection; perform vendor outreach (e.g., collecting safety plans, permitting, warranties); review and reconcile invoice integrity; liaise on invoice payment; perform incidental purchasing to support projects; support and follow-up on project-specific safety requirements; coordinate project closeout details.

●        Compile data and generate ad hoc reports and metrics related to any project phase.

* Other duties may also be assigned.


Associate degree or equivalent work experience or two years relevant experience.


●        Demonstrated ability to use project management software tools.

●        Polished written and oral communication skills to address a wide variety of audiences.

●        Demonstrated multi-tasking ability to manage multiple parallel projects and competing priorities.


●       Bachelor or Master degree in communications, environmental studies, or related fields.

●       Experience working with multimedia including video editing.

●       Experience working in the field of natural capital.

The expected pay range for this position is $36.54 to $45.19 per hour. ($76,000 – $94,000 per annum).

Stanford University provides pay ranges representing its good faith estimate of what the university reasonably expects to pay for a position. The pay offered to a selected candidate will be determined based on factors such as (but not limited to) the scope and responsibilities of the position, the qualifications of the selected candidate, departmental budget availability, internal equity, geographic location and external market pay for comparable jobs.

At Stanford University, base pay represents only one aspect of the comprehensive rewards package. The Cardinal at Work website ( ) provides detailed information on Stanford’s extensive range of benefits and rewards offered to employees. Specifics about the rewards package for this position may be discussed during the hiring process.

Why Stanford is for You

Imagine a world without search engines or social platforms. Consider lives saved through first-ever organ transplants and research to cure illnesses. Stanford University has revolutionized the way we live and enrich the world. Supporting this mission is our diverse and dedicated 17,000 staff. We seek talent driven to impact the future of our legacy. Our culture and  unique perks empower you with:

●        Freedom to grow . We offer career development programs, tuition reimbursement, or audit a course. Join a film screening or listen to a renowned author or global leader speak.

●        A caring culture . We provide superb retirement plans, generous time-off, and family care resources.

●        A healthier you.  Climb our rock wall, or choose from hundreds of health or fitness classes at our world-class exercise facilities. We also provide excellent health care benefits.

●        Discovery and fun.  Stroll through historic sculptures, trails, and museums.

●        Enviable resources . Enjoy free commuter programs, ridesharing incentives, discounts and more.

The job duties listed are typical examples of work performed by positions in this job classifications and are not designed to contain or be interpreted as a comprehensive inventory of all duties, tasks and responsibilities. Specific duties and responsibilities may vary depending on department or program needs without changing the general nature and scope of the job or level of responsibility. Employees may also perform other duties as assigned. 

Consistent with its obligations under the law, the University will provide reasonable accommodation to any employee with a disability who requires accommodation to perform the essential functions of their job.

Stanford is an equal employment opportunity and affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

  • Schedule: Part-time
  • Job Code: 2390
  • Employee Status: Regular
  • Requisition ID: 101343
  • Work Arrangement : Hybrid Eligible

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    Communications project manager responsibilities Here are examples of responsibilities from real communications project manager resumes: Manage SEO outreach activities to develop visibility. Manage SharePoint front page for company-wide news and departmental updates using original and curate content.

  23. Mastering Project Management: Tips for Success

    Project management effectively plans, executes, controls, and closes tasks to reach specific goals and objectives. A product manager ensures that projects are delivered on time and within budget to meet stakeholders' expectations. It can involve managing resources, timelines, budgets, personnel, and communication to deliver quality results.

  24. Communications Project Manager Jobs, Employment

    206 Communications Project Manager jobs available on Apply to Project Manager, Communications Manager, Governance Manager and more!

  25. 5 Change Management Skills Every Leader Needs In 2024

    Empathy. Empathy is a soft skill that is essential to successful change implementation. It helps strengthen your team's trust in you, and increases their buy-in. Take time to be sensitive to their ...

  26. Engagement Project Manager

    The Engagement Project Manager will also manage social media and multimedia strategy; provide input on numerous other deliverables, and work with subject matter experts to understand communications needs and develop materials like slides and graphics. This is a 80% FTE, continuing, non-exempt position. This position will be based on the ...

  27. Project Manager, External Communications & Stakeholders

    Bachelors degree. Five years of experience in a project management role will be considered in lieu of a degree. Minimum of five (5) years of experience in project management. High level of proficiency with office technologies, including Excel, PowerPoint, Adobe. Clear and professional written and verbal communication.