Measuring the effectiveness of your communication plan helps improve delivery
Good communication is a key component of any project. Without good communication, employees can fall into the trap of working on siloed projects without understanding or contributing towards the shared organizational goal.
Communication is an essential discipline in the construction industry. Construction projects are made up of many different work packages delivered by multiple different people, with communication acting as the glue binding these various strands together.
All large construction projects should rely on a communication plan to help share the work plan and coordinate delivery on the ground, but the quality of these communication plans can vary widely. They can comprise many different elements, including reports, meetings, internal commumications, and varying methods of collaboration. With so many different components in play, how can you assess whether a communication plan is effective? Do all involved parties know the project’s status, and what their part is in delivering it? If the answer is no then the plan needs work to improve effectiveness.
How to assess communication plan effectiveness
Before starting to assess the effectiveness of your communication plan, first make sure that you’ve created something fit for purpose in the first place. We’ve pulled together some hints and tips in our article on how to create a great communication plan, outlining some key steps to work through when creating the plan:
- Define your project’s communication needs
- Consider your communication methods
- Set your communication frequency
- Identify the people responsible for executing the plan
- Record everything in an easily accessible, shareable form
Once your plan is executed, it’s then essential to monitor effectiveness. This will give you confidence that the right people are hearing your messages at the right time:
Whether your plan is mainly aimed at internal colleagues or also covers liaison with external contractors, understanding engagement levels is important to ascertain whether your communications methods are being received and heard. This might checking for understanding of your messages with colleagues, or monitoring the updating of shared documents or databases to be sure that actions are being taken as a result of your communications.
In a project environment, it’s vital to ensure that staff are receiving critical pieces of information so they are then able to act on them. The pertinent point is to understand that your audience is receiving and acting upon your communications, while retaining the ability for you to make changes to improve outcomes if that turns out not to be the case.
It sounds self-evident, but many organizations don’t take the straightforward step of collecting feedback about communications from the people involved in the project. Given that there are significant differences between people in terms of their preferred communication style, it’s unlikely that one size will fit all. Even in a project environment, where documentation is tightly defined and structured, it’s still important to offer a variety of methods to ensure that messages are received.
A survey can be a neat, anonymized way to collect general feedback about communication frequency and method. Alternatively, it can sometimes be appropriate to ask for targeted feedback about your communication plan from key stakeholders to make sure it’s telling them what they need to know.
The acid test of any communication plan is, of course, whether or not the elements within it are delivered. Use the structure of your project meetings to monitor adherence to the plan.
Have updates been sent out at the correct time? Do all employees and contractors know the project’s current status, their responsibilities, any blockages, any adjustments to the schedule? If the answer to these questions is yes, you can be confident that your communication plan is operating effectively. If the answer is no, you will need to revisit the plan to help information flow better around the project team.
Assessing the effectiveness of your communication plan keeps you sighted on whether the effort you’re putting into communications is paying dividends. Understanding engagement, collecting feedback, and monitoring delivery will help you with this assessment process and help you make informed changes if needed.
An effective communication plan leads to an engaged and informed project team who know their responsibilities, thus reducing risk to delivery and keeping costs and slippages to a minimum. DRMcNatty has years of experience creating these plans from scratch and can also help assess whether or not your current plan is effective. Contact our experienced team today to discuss how better communications can take your project delivery to the next level.