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If project managers had a mantra, it might be that those who don’t plan, plan to fail. Most project managers would also agree that managing stakeholder relationships is one of their most important job functions.

Ergo, just as you should develop a project plan to prepare for project execution, you should develop a project communication plan to strategize about how you intend to communicate with key stakeholders.

In this article, we’ll cover project communication plans and their key components. We’ve also included a template that you can use to create your own project communication plan.

What is a Project Communication Plan?

A project communication plan is a project artifact that outlines an action plan for how you should communicate across project stakeholders. An effective communication plan should include:

  • Key stakeholders, including roles and responsibilities
  • Communication method
  • Communication type
  • Communication style
  • Schedule
  • Key messages
  • Communication goals

Here's a (very) quick overview:

What to Include in a Project Communication Plan

While the specifics of your project management communication plan may vary depending on the project type and scope, there are a few key items you should include in every project communication plan you create.

Key stakeholders

Note the key stakeholders, including your primary client contact. Add contact information, such as phone numbers and emails, so that anyone who accesses the communication plan can find this information.

Team members

Include each of the project team members, along with their roles. This is handy for anyone new to or unfamiliar with the project. Identify which team members are responsible for producing deliverables, leading strategic discussions, and/or handling technical conversations with stakeholders.

Communication methods

Outline the primary communication methods and channels you use to contact stakeholders, such as email, phone calls, meetings, or Slack or a press release or social media for external stakeholders. Include notes on stakeholders’ preferred channels.

Communication types

List the project communications plus how to share that communication, what to include, and the target audience. For example, you might be providing weekly status reports to the client. Consider the communication mechanism, distribution list, and what information to include in the report.

Communication styles

Differentiate by stakeholder and communication method. For example, does a certain stakeholder prefer formal communications only, or can you be a little more casual in your tone?

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Meeting schedule

While you can adjust this as needed throughout the project, having an initial idea of how often you meet with stakeholders is helpful. Depending on the scope of the project, you might also want to outline how often you email the client. Be sure to include internal team meetings also.

Key messages

For each stakeholder, determine the key message or information that you wish to communicate. What’s the right message that resonates with that group? This should also include any information or feedback you need to collect.

Communication goals 

A good communication plan includes communication goals. This helps ensure that you make decisions with your desired outcomes in mind.

How to Write a Project Communication Plan

1. Understand your parameters

A project communication plan doesn’t need to be formal, but it should at least be documented for reference.

First, it helps to sit down and define the parameters of the project, including project size, information about the client’s company, project deliverables, timeline, and project team.

Consider your team’s and client’s communication styles:

  • How successful have communications been to date?
  • Has your client indicated any communication preferences—ie. do they tend to reach for the phone when they have a question, or are they email-centric?
  • Have you met in person or over video?
  • How frequently does your team interact with you directly on a project? Do they prefer written context over meetings?
  • What public relations needs exist, if any?

Once you have an understanding of the team and clients you’re working with, you can apply this to a project communication plan.

2. Define your goals and stakeholders

List your project deliverables and the key stakeholders for the project. Then, add your project goals to this list. Consider what defines successful project communication, not only for your client, but for your team also. Use this list to guide communication-related decisions.

3. Define your communication approach

Now, it’s time to create the plan. This involves defining your approach to communications throughout the project life cycle. Based on the project goals, consider how frequently to communicate with stakeholders, the desired communications mechanism, and what content to include.

You might use multiple approaches, such as weekly phone check-ins to review project timeline and budget, daily emails for on-the-fly questions, and in-person meetings to present major project milestones.

Whatever you decide, keep your project parameters and goals in mind—these should help you identify what types of communication are most beneficial to your project and how thorough your communications need to be.

Communication Plan Example

Based on the items we outlined above, here’s what a sample project communication plan could look like.

Communication goals

List the project communication goals upfront, so everyone who accesses the plan can get on board with decisions that work toward achieving those goals. Make sure they’re measurable.

screenshot of the communication goals part of the communication plan
Project communication plan example—summarize communication goals upfront to align key stakeholders.

Stakeholder information and communication preferences

A table can be useful for listing project stakeholders and their preferences. 

For more complex projects, you might wish to break down the notes column to share further details (ex. you could create an additional column to share stakeholder availability or any other information that’s crucial to how and when you communicate.)

screenshot of the stakeholder information part of the communication plan
Project communication plan example—specify stakeholder communication preferences, including preferred frequency, channel, or any additional notes.

Types of communication

Use this section to consider the ways you communicate with your stakeholders. This helps ensure that communication is consistent, meaningful, and successful.

communication types section with information for weekly check-ins weekly email reports, major milestone meetings, daily emails
Project communication plan example—explain what types of communication to use for which purpose and audience.

Project Communication Plan Template

screenshot of our project communication template
Here's what our project communication plan template looks like.

Looking for a project communication plan template? Would a filled-in sample help?

Download our template for an easy way to gather all of the contact info and instructions you’ll need for your projects. The sample shows best practices for filling out the template. 

How to Use a Project Communication Plan

1. Share it with your team

Sharing the plan with your team informs them of your communication cadence—which affects their work and delivery dates—but also gives them more context around how you communicate and with whom. Sharing this information means your team can support you as you execute the plan.

2. Stay on track

Make sure your team knows and understands your communication plan so that your client receives consistent, meaningful information throughout the project.

Book any key project meetings as soon as you have a plan in place, and add reminders to your calendar for regular check-ins and even project emails so that you stay on track with the important items you’ve defined in your plan. 

If you find yourself straying from your communications plan at any point and have trouble getting back to it, reconsider the approach you’ve defined:

  • Does it still align with your project goals?
  • Have the goals—or stakeholders—changed in any way since the project started?
  • Are there more effective ways to communicate project information at this point?

Benefits of Project Communication Plans

At their core, project communication plans facilitate effective communication efforts. Developing and documenting a communication strategy makes your projects run more smoothly and helps you avoid project failure.

Project communication plans help you plan initiatives effectively, set stakeholder expectations, and manage stakeholders.

Project planning

A project communication plan defines your communications roadmap—how to deliver critical information throughout the project, including which communication channel to use, by whom, and at what frequency. While completing project planning, you should also be planning your project communications.

Projects of differing goals, budgets, timelines, sizes, and deliverables require internal communication tailored to those needs—and that’s something to keep in mind as you create a project communication plan.

Set stakeholder expectations

Project communications are a two-way street. Much like project planning, you have to define expectations upfront for communication to have any chance of going smoothly.

By letting the client know early in the project process what they can expect, you set the tone for the entire project, starting from the project proposal process. It’s also helpful for stakeholders to know in advance what you need from them so they can be prepared when the time comes.

Manage stakeholders

Throughout a project, successful communication to align on a goal and milestones, and then subsequent realignment as the project evolves, is crucial to gain stakeholder buy-in and achieve transparency regarding project status.

Communication is critical to maintaining a positive client relationship. A project communication plan fosters a shared understanding of the comms workflow so you know what is and what should be happening throughout your project.

Communication Plan = Success

Having a strategic communications plan gives you the tools to communicate effectively and watch out for potential issues that may arise. A plan also allows you to reevaluate your approach based on your client’s communication needs and determine whether communication through other methods may be more effective.

Regardless of how formal or informal your project communication plan might be, it can be the difference between a highly successful, efficient project, and a project that is merely skating by without a solid plan in place.

Think of it as another way to set and check expectations throughout a project—and a way to facilitate meaningful, successful collaboration.

10 Useful Project Communication Tools

As you develop your project communication plan, consider whether you’re using—or could make use of—communication software. Here are 10 examples of communication software that you, your teams, and your clients can use to stay in sync:

  1. 1. — Best communication tool for project management
  2. 2. ClickUp — Best for their Multitask Toolbar (chat without leaving your task)
  3. 3. Lucidspark — Best for communication around charts, documents, and diagrams
  4. 4. Wrike — Best communication tool for teams of all sizes
  5. 5. Height — Best for communicating about ongoing projects and tasks
  6. 6. Workmates — Best online communication tool with native engagement functionality
  7. 7. Troop Messenger — Best communication tool with unlimited search history
  8. 8. Livestorm — Best communication tool for hosting online events
  9. 9. Blink — Best communication tool for deskless employees
  10. 10. Flock — Best for organizing communication using channels

Find more project management software here.

What Do You Think?

How essential is a project communication plan to the success of a project? Should project managers craft a communication plan for their projects, irrespective of size? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment!

By Sarah M. Hoban

Sarah is a project manager and strategy consultant with 15 years of experience leading cross-functional teams to execute complex multi-million dollar projects. She excels at diagnosing, prioritizing, and solving organizational challenges and cultivating strong relationships to improve how teams do business. Sarah is passionate about productivity, leadership, building community, and her home state of New Jersey.

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  • Very useful content, thank you!


  • I had to write an essay on communicating project goals for my networking class. I wasn't given much to go off of, but apparently this article was all I needed! This was extremely helpful, thanks a lot!


  • Excellent work, talkanatalka!


  • Very good article. Thank you for your effort.


  • Thanks Natalie Too many folks see the comms plan as a chore rather than a tool. I also add a peering and escalation matrix to my comms plan


  • Thank you. Excellent article.