Eventually communication channels are the lines of communication between the stakeholders in the project.
Also communication channel is often called as communication line.
We have seen the different communication management tools and techniques in the previous blog post. Now we will learn on how to calculate the number of communication channels required in the project.
As a project manager you need to figure out how many people in your project need to talk to one another. Based on that you need to calculate number of communication channels required in the project.
But Why I Do Need To Calculate The Number Of Communication Channels?
Your project may be generating lot of information which needs to be communicated with many stakeholders. And each of these stakeholder may need to communicate within some of them for the purpose of project.
So as a project manager based on the number of people (or teams) that needs to talk to one another in the project, you need to calculate the number of communication channels.
And when you are preparing the project communication management plan, since you know the total number of communication channels required in the project, you can ensure that you don’t miss out any communication channel or line.
How To Calculate The Communication Channels?
For example assume your project have only 2 people (including the project manager). How many communication channels would be required in the project.
So you need only one communication channel between 2 people in the team, that is AB channel.
Let us look at another example with 3 stakeholders in the project including the project manager.
With this example between the stakeholders A, B and C you need 3 communication channels. They are AB, AC and BC.
For example let us look at another example with 4 stakeholders including the project manager, then manually if you draw and calculate the number of communication channels looks like the one below.
Here you need 6 communication channels. They are AB, AC, CD, BD, AD, BC.
So if the number of people who needs to communicate in a project increase, it becomes too complicate to manually draw and calculate the number of communication channels.
So what to do?
Communication Channels Formula
Fortunately there is an easy way to calculate this using a simple formulae.
Let us say the total number of people that needs to communicate in a project is “n”.
Then the total number of communication channels are calculated as follows.
Let us use this formula with an example where a project contains 6 people including the project manager who needs to communicate. So how many communication channels require in the project?
If I use this formula, n is equal to 6.
So the number of communication channels = 6x (6-1)/2 =15
Some Important Points Related To Calculate The Number Of Communication Channels
- When calculate the number of communication channels count the project manager also.
- In the PMP exam you may get question as follows. Currently your project has already 3 people including the project manager. So 3 communication channels already exists in the project. Your project added 2 more people to the existing team. So in this context, how many more communication channels require in the project?
Initial communication channels in the project are 3
In this case totally number of people to communicate with one another = 3+2 = 5
Total number of communication channels required is = 5x(5-1)/2 = 10
So total communication channels increase after adding 2 more people in the team is 10 – 3 = 7.
- In the project where there are unmanageable number of communication channels exists, the project manager should filter and declare the official channels of communication.
Finally as we have seen the project manager needs to spend majority of his or her time in managing communications. Hence it is very important for the project manager to understand the communication management knowledge area and communication tools and techniques.
In the communication management knowledge area, calculating the number of communication channels is easy and one should not go wrong with these questions in the PMP exam.
Also while planning the communications, it is very important to calculate the number of communication channels so that you won’t miss any communication line in your planning.