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:
- 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
Third, list the communication channels. Here are some examples:
- email – announcements
- meetings – 1 on 1 conversations, department & information
- reports/white papers / publications
- 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.
- Match communication channels to message types. An example would be (message type) Project Status reporting could be delivered via (communication channels) email and websites.
- 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.
- Next identify when the audiences need to be communicated to over time. Project Status reports are communicated (time) bi-weekly to all audience members.
- 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!