EA Communication Plan Development

Serge Thorn wrote an excellent post called “Development of an Enterprise Architecture Communication Plan“. I really enjoyed the read and completely agree that communication is a key success factor for the success of any enterprise architecture practice.

In the post, Serge set the stage by making a case for why a communication plan is key:

“Communication significantly impacts how IT is perceived by the organization, and therefore it plays a crucial role in the successful positioning of IT as an internal partner.”

“Effective communication is part of the overall plan for management of an Enterprise Architecture Program.”

Next, Serge lays out the key steps in developing an EA Communication Plan with supporting artefacts:

  • Stakeholder General Communication
  • General Information Needs
  • General Communication Tools
  • Communication Matrix
  • Communication Planning
  • Implementation Steps

Building on Serge’s post, let’s explore how we create communication plans in IT Services at BCIT.  My colleague, Dave Cresswell developed a template for project communication plans that we use for communication planning for large projects and our ongoing strategic practices like enterprise architecture, project/program management and business analysis. I will explore the steps to creating the plan next.

The communication plan template considers the following categories:

  • Audience
  • Communication Channel
  • Message Type
  • Time (calendar)

Think about the audience for your communication plan first; some examples are:

  • Executive/Project Sponsors
  • Institutional Leadership and Management
  • Project Team
  • Institutional Stakeholders – students, faculty, staff, alumni, employers
  • Industry Peer Organizations

Now list the message types like:

  • general communication
  • project status reporting and completion
  • milestone achieved announcement
  • request for information
  • service standards
  • policies
  • procedures

Third,  list the communication channels.  Here are some examples:

  • email – announcements
  • meetings – 1 on 1 conversations, department & information
  • presentations
  • reports/white papers / publications
  • website
  • workshops – focus groups

Time is the last category and the most intuitive tool is to simply use a calendar. You need to decide if this is an ongoing communication plan or one built for a project with a start and an end.

Now that you have populated items into each category, its time to match them up to form the plan.  Let’s use a simple example for project status reporting.

  1. Match communication channels to message types. An example would be (message type) Project Status reporting could be delivered via (communication channels) email and websites.
  2. Next match message types to audiences. An example would be Project Status reporting should be delivered to (audience) the Executive/Project Sponsor and the Project Team via email and to stakeholders via a website.
  3. Next identify when the audiences need to be communicated to over time.  Project Status reports are communicated (time) bi-weekly to all audience members.
  4. To build out a full plan, you would need to address all the communication channels, message types and audiences to ensure that a complete communication strategy is in place.

If anyone is interested, please email me or send me a tweet @leodesousa and I can send you the template in PDF and/or Excel format.  The example I have is a 3 month project to Create a Functioning EA Office.

Wrapping up, communication is a key success factor to any project and particularly if you want to build a successful Enterprise Architecture practice. Good luck to all of you!

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37 thoughts on “EA Communication Plan Development”

  1. Pingback: EA Communications | SOA Governance - Service Oriented Architecture - SOA Business - SOA Design - SOA Services - SOA Software - SOA Solutions - SOA Security - SOA Web Service
  2. I would appreciate a copy of the template you mentionned in excel format. I am in the process of putting together a similar project and would appreciate any insight you have.

  3. Hi Leo, I’m working on a similar project and would appreciate having a look at your Excel template. Thanks Much!
    Maggie

  4. Hello Leo, can I also get a copy of the template in Excel format? I am in the process of kicking off a new EA program and I’m sure this communications plan template will come in handy.

    Gartner also includes the communications plan as one of the items needed to jump-start an EA program. Its good to see other opinions on this topic. One question I have is how formal does this plan need to be? Is a one-page communications plan good enough?

    We use SharePoint at my company and I was thinking of creating a team site to make the EA program more visible while also serving as a communication and collaboration tool. What do you think? Any experience with this?

    Thanks, Leo!!

    Josef

    1. Josef, Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. The start of the New Year has been very busy. I am interested how you will use SharePoint for your EA program. My team is just putting SP 2010 in place and I would like to move our EA artifacts and documents to a site. Can you let me know what type of SP site you plan on using and what if any extra webparts you will be adding?

      I will email you the template over the weekend. Regards, Leo

  5. Leo,

    I enjoyed the article by Serge Thorn you referenced and your article/comments as well. Is it still possible to get a copy in Excel format of the template?

    Thanks, David

  6. Hi Leo – Call me a fan and I would love your template in excel. Could you send via email! Many thanks, Lynn

  7. Hi Leo,

    Me too please. (You know where to find me).

    It’s good to see you punching this point. In my experience everyone puts a cons plan together, far fewer actually execute. Seems to always go to the bottom of the todo list.

    Cheers.

  8. Hi Leo! I follow you on twitter too – Can I also get a copy of the templates in Excel format please? Many thanks!

  9. I really enjoyed your article. I stumbled across it, while trying to do some research. It is refreshing to hear communications from an IT point of view. I would love to have an Excel copy of your template as well. I am working on a huge healthcare initiative for the Affordable Care Act. I think EA Communication would help the project immensely.
    Thank you,
    Shellee

    1. Cliff, thanks for reading my blog. Please go to the Resources link and open the Communications Plan project. I put a link to the blog post and a link to download the template from my Google Docs repository. Thanks, Leo

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