New projects are exciting. Sponsors look forward to seeing the initiative’s goals become a reality, end users hope to experience the project’s promised positive effects on their workflows and work areas, and the project team prepares to deliver value for the organization as well as its employees.
But new projects also move a lot of information across the business and its partners, and getting data where it needs to go doesn’t happen by accident. With so much information flowing through the network of project stakeholders, a robust communication strategy is central to success. Among other things, you need to know who’s sending messages, who’s receiving them, how frequently data is moving around, and where it’s stored.
With more project participants likely to working remotely and the list of outside collaborators continuing to grow, communications that used to be very simple now have a few more moving parts. So along with some of the more basic elements in a communication strategy, there are additional issues project teams may need to include in their plan to ensure everything happens the way it should.
To get your new project started on the path to success right from the start, take the time now to develop a communication plan that meets your business needs and keeps everyone in the loop.
Define how external collaborators will share project information
The business environment is more interconnected than ever. Your vendors and other outside partners likely have vendors of their own that will be involved in supporting your project, even if it’s from several layers away. You need to know that the right data protection measures and practices are consistently applied all throughout that chain.
To begin, consider including any data-sharing limitations within your contract or service agreement language. You may choose to allow sharing with the stipulation that downstream parties follow the same confidentiality guidelines required of your primary vendors. Or it might be more appropriate to prohibit the sharing of company details such as strategic or forward-looking data beyond your vendors’ own workforces.
Select the communication tool(s) project participants will use
With the wide array of communication platforms available to business groups today, you run the risk of watching your project communications disperse across any number of solutions. And while this initially sounds like a good, collaborative approach, it has the potential to get out of hand.
Start by putting some guardrails in place to ensure communications don’t fall into inaccessible silos or unmonitored tools. For example, one department might prefer a software solution that isn’t used by—or available to—other functional areas, making it difficult to maintain information flows across the network of project stakeholders. Uncontrolled communications could also wind up in tools that aren’t connected with your data retention program or protected by the right cybersecurity measures. To avoid this kind of communication sprawl, work with your stakeholder teams to identify those systems that are authorized to carry project-related information flows.
Understand the rules that apply to your project communications
Depending on the nature of your project, your communication strategy may need to follow the requirements of one or more compliance frameworks. That could include limits on who can distribute (and who can receive) specific datasets, a retention schedule for messages that’s different than your organization’s established retention program, and even mandated use of communication technologies that have particular features or capabilities. It’s important to kick off your project with the right communication plan and supporting tools in place, so be sure you know how any regulations or compliance mandates apply to your initiative and what they mean for your communication strategy.