In the book, Bare Bones Change Management: What you shouldn’t not do, Bob Lewis explained the seven must-have elements for any change management effort to have a chance of succeeding. Here are my takeaways from one of the topics discussed in the book.
A communication plan is the planned approach to deliver information to the stakeholders. The information communicated by the plan should help to bring an accurate reduction in uncertainty.
Bob recommended that the following elements should be addressed in the formal plan.
- Triggering Event: This is the matter that is driving the need to communicate, whether it is a project milestone or simply the passage of time.
- Audience: The individual or stakeholder group that is the target of communication.
- Key Issues: The WIIFM factor (“What’s In It For Me”) or whatever we think each stakeholder will care enough to listen or to act.
- Desired Outcomes: Form follows function – bottom line up front.
- Document/Meeting/Agenda Topic: If it is an e-mail, it is the Subject. If it is a report, it is the Title. If it is for a meeting, it is what we would call it on the appointment calendar.
- Vehicle: The communications medium we will use for each stakeholder.
- Messages: The key, take-away messages we will deliver to each stakeholder.
- Assignee: Spell out who is responsible for delivering the communication.
- Date planned: When we want the communication to happen.
- Actual date: The date when the communication happens.
When we are trying to change an organization, we will be under constant stress. The stress and fear will likely result in people to communicate less. The best way to fight this lack of communication is to include communication tasks in the project plan.
Without communication, the other six components of business change management (Stakeholder Analysis, Involvement Plan, Metrics Plan, Structure Plan, and Culture Change Plan) will not make much difference at all.