Communications Management Tools and Techniques – You should know for the PMP Exam

Communications management tools and techniques is all about describing the tools required to plan and manage communications in the project.

In  a very simple terminology what is communication all about?

Eventually communication is nothing but information exchange between two or more entities.

Communications management is all about planning, managing and controlling communications on your project.

As part of communications management planning, you would also calculate the number of communication channels require in the project, so that every relevant stakeholder gets the information he needs.

In other words project communications management ensures everyone(relevant stakeholders) in the project gets the right information at the right time.

Communications management tools and techniques

Communications Management Tools and Techniques

The Communications management tools and techniques describes the basically about

  • Communication Requirement Analysis
  • How the communication model is?
  • What Communication Technology to be used
  • Communication Methods
  • And finally some important terms pertaining to communications

Communication Requirement Analysis

Eventually your project may produce a lot of information that needs to be communicated with different stakeholders or stakeholder groups.

As a project manager you need conduct requirements analysis on what are the communication needs of your stakeholders.

After all you don’t want to overload with every stakeholder with information that is not relevant to him or her.

So you need to understand what information is appropriate for different stakeholders and what is the needed communication method, when to communicate to them etc. so that you can send the right information to the right stakeholders at the right time.

Communication Model

At the very basic to have a communication, you need to have at least a sender and a receiver.

Communications Management - Communication Model

In the above figure, see the following the terms. For the PMP exam you need to understand these terms.

Sender – The person or system that sends the message

Receiver – The person or system that receives the message

Medium – Message transmits through medium

Encoder – Encoding the message as per the expected format.

Decoder – Decoding the message so that the receiver understand the message

Acknowledgement – Sender receive a signal that says receiver received the message

Response/Feedback – Passing the information from one to another.

Besides there is one more point we did not spoke about. That is noise.

Noise is interference that alters your original message, so that receiver may not receive the correct and clear message sent by the sender.

Communications Management - Communication Model NoiseIf you see the above figure, due to interference or noise, the receiver does not receive the proper message sent by the sender.

Sender  Message                          : I have done my shopping

Message received by Receiver  : I have done my shipping

Sender Responsibilities Receiver Responsibilities
  • Encode the Message
  • Select a communication method that we are going to discuss in a while.
  • Send the message
  • Confirm that the message understood by the receiver
  • Decode the message
  • Confirm that the message received
  • Respond

Communication Methods

You can send the message in various ways. However for the purpose of PMP exam, there are four methods that are important to understand.

Formal Written

As the name suggest this method is used when you sign an agreement or any type of legal document or any formal way of documenting things.

For example project management plan is a formal document that is approved by the relevant stakeholders.  Other examples include any formal written project documents such as blue prints and specifications, etc.

Informal Written

Any type of written communication that is not formal. For example writing emails, sending a stick note to a colleague, etc.

Formal Verbal

These are communications that are done formally, however they are not written communications. For example prepared speeches, giving presentation to one or more people, etc..

Informal Verbal

These are simple methods of communication that includes chat, phone conversation, meetings, one to one sessions etc.

The above are different types of communication methods that people can use depending on the situation at hand. However the following are another way of categorizing the communication methods, depending on how you share the information with others. They are

Push

This is one way communication. Sender sends the message to one or more receivers. For example sending emails, faxes, etc..

Pull

Push is not an appropriate option, if you need to retrieve lot of information from others. Pull comes to rescue. For example if you wanted to publish information, survey, or a video, etc. in a website that can be pulled by many people from the website, then PULL is the right communication method.

Interactive

Sometimes you may need to interact with people while communicating. For example conference calls, seminars, webinars where people can ask queries and interact with the message sender and others.

Communication Technology

In the olden days, all project or any office communication happens through memos or circulars. We all might have seen or heard in our schools communication was happened in the form of circular in the olden days.

Now the technology emerged. My kids school communication always available to us through school website which is a pull method.

So communication technology is all about which technology to use for communication, considering different factors such as project communication requirements, sensitivity and security of the information, who are audience for the communication, etc.

For example the following are different communication technologies that are commonly used.

  • Face to face meetings
  • Publishing information through a portal or website
  • Email communication
  • Conference call
  • Writing a document and distributing the same.

Conclusion

As part of communications management tools and techniques we have seen different tools and techniques such as

  • Communication requirements analysis
  • Communication model
  • What are communication methods
  • And finally communication technology

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