EA Communication Plan Development

By | July 20, 2009

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: Todd Biske: Outside the Box » Blog Archive » EA Communications

  2. Pingback: EA Communications | SOA Governance - Service Oriented Architecture - SOA Business - SOA Design - SOA Services - SOA Software - SOA Solutions - SOA Security - SOA Web Service

  3. Jean Bujold

    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.

    Reply
  4. Penny

    I would also like an excel format of the template. Thank you in advance.

    Reply
  5. Maggie Parrish

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

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      Maggie, I will send you the template via email. Thanks for reading my blog. Please let me know if you have any questions about how it works. Leo

      Reply
  6. Shri

    Hi Leo, I really enjoyed reading your article. Can you please send me your Excel template.

    Thanks!

    Shri

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      Shri,
      I emailed you the template. Did you get it? Let me know if you have any questions about how to use it. Thanks, Leo

      Reply
  7. Josef Vargas

    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

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      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

      Reply
  8. David Nobles

    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

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      David,

      I have been on vacation for the past week. I will email you the template over the weekend. Thank you for reading my blog, Leo

      Reply
  9. Lynn

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

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      Lynn, Thank you! I really appreciate the feedback. I will send you the template via email. All the best, Leo

      Reply
  10. James Mac

    Just wondering how to get a copy of the EA Communications template 🙂

    Cheers and thanks….

    Reply
  11. Kupps

    Hi – Can I also get a copy of the templates in Excel format please? Many thanks!

    Reply
  12. Ric

    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.

    Reply
  13. Silvia

    Hi Leo,
    I would also appreciate a copy of the templates you are referring to, please?

    Many thanks,
    Silvia

    Reply
  14. David

    Hi Leo,

    I would appreciate a copy of the templates you are referring to, please?

    Many thanks,
    David

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      David, I just sent you the template. I hope you find it valuable. I would appreciate any feedback you would like to share. Thank you for reading my blog, Leo

      Reply
  15. Alan Rodrigues

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

    Reply
  16. Milton Sakalis

    Hi Leo,
    Thanks for the pointers. Please could you be so kind as to e-mail me the template as well. Many thanks

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      Thanks for reading my blog Milton. I am getting setup in a new job in the UAE and also new laptop. I will be able to send you the templates in a week or so. Best regards.

      Reply
  17. Rajesh

    I liked your article it was interesting. Can you please share the template. It would be greatly appreciated

    Reply
      1. Sujith

        Please send me the EA communication plan template. Thanks!

        Reply
  18. Shellee

    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

    Reply
  19. Cliff Walker

    Could you send me a copy of the Excel template please? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Leo de Sousa Post author

      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

      Reply

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