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What You Should Know about Communications Management for the PMP Certification Exam

Managing communications for the PMP Certification Exam is concerned not only with following the communication management plan but also with responding to stakeholder requests for additional information or clarification of information. Obviously, you’re communicating throughout the entire project lifecycle. The communications management plan is started early in the project, and after that, it provides guidance on what information should be communicated, to whom, how often, when, and in what format.

Manage Communication. Creating, collecting, distributing, storing, retrieving, and the ultimate disposition of project information in accordance to the communications management plan.

The inputs to the process are (of course) the communications management plan (part of the project management plan), work performance reports, influencing factors such as organizational culture or regulatory requirements, and any organizational process assets that can help you, such as information from past projects and communication templates.

Manage Communications: Tools and Techniques

Here is where formal and informal communication and written and verbal communication is applied.

Communication technology and methods

Following is a list of communication technology and methods. When selecting communications technology, remember that not everyone has the same degree of technological knowledge or equipment. For example, a contractor to develop media presentations may work with Apple machines, but the buyer may work with PCs. Baby Boomers may not be familiar with social media, whereas Generation Y users are usually very comfortable with all kinds of electronic communication.

When choosing a communication method, keep in mind the guidelines given in Table 3-1.

  • Meetings

  • Presentations

  • One-on-one conversations

  • Memos

  • E-mails

  • web pages

  • Videoconferencing

  • Teleconferencing

  • web conferencing

  • Intranets

  • Filing systems

  • Portals

  • Collaborative work tools

  • Text messaging

The most effective project managers are those who are good communicators. Project managers who communicate effectively to team members, senior management, functional managers, and any other stakeholders will have better outcomes than those who don’t.

When communicating with someone, remember these simple techniques to help make your communication effective:

  • Seek feedback.

  • Establish multiple communication channels.

  • Use face-to-face communication when possible.

  • Be aware of the receiver’s body language and expressions.

  • Communicate at the proper time.

  • Reinforce words with actions.

  • Use simple language.

  • Use redundancy.

Information management systems

Creating, collecting, distributing, storing, and retrieving require some type of information management system. The larger and more complex the project, the more robust the information management system needs to be. Some aspects of the information management system will use hard-copy documents. You might consider keeping a hard-copy project notebook where you store memos, meeting minutes, external communications, and information you need on a regular basis, such as the latest schedule.

Electronic communications management includes e-mail, web information, electronic reports, and so forth. Electronic communications tools include everything from web meeting tools, portals, scheduling software, collaboration tools, and other electronic interfaces, depending on the needs of the project.

Performance reporting

Performance reporting is a specific type of communication. Performance reporting entails collecting and analyzing information on the project baselines and the actual results and comparing the variances in order to communicate current and forecasted project status.

There are several cross-cutting skills that are relevant to the Manage Communications process:

  • Oral and written communication techniques, channels, and applications

  • Presentation tools and techniques

  • Information management tools, techniques, and methods

  • Targeting communications to intended audiences

Manage Communications: Outputs

As a result of all the meetings and communicating, you will have updated project information, such as

  • Stakeholder communications: Information communicated to stakeholders, such as issue resolution and approved changes, as well as feedback from stakeholders, such as product-related queries and process information

  • Project reports: Status reports, issue logs, lessons learned, and closure reports

  • Project presentations: Information from presentations made to project stakeholders

  • Project management plan updates: Updates to any project baseline

  • Project document updates: Schedule updates, issue log updates

  • Project records: Correspondence, memos, and minutes

  • Lessons learned: Causes of issues and the reasons for choosing corrective actions

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