So far, you've learned some common ways of communicating during a project. Let's take that a step further by learning how to create a communication plan. That will help you manage all the different kinds of communication that will happen during a project. Trust me, there's going to be a lot of communication, so you'll need a plan to help you stay aware of it all and to use as a tool for communicating effectively. A communication plan organizes and documents the process, types, and expectations of communication for the project. The size and complexity of your communication plan will be different for every project, but it is always good to have one. Especially with multiple stakeholders, different phrases and change management are involved. It will really help you, your project, and the stakeholders. Just like other plans related to the project, your communication plan needs to address these questions: what needs to be communicated, who needs to communicate, when communication needs to happen, why and how to communicate, and where the information communicated is stored. Let's break down each question with a sample communication plan that I've created for our Plant Pals project. First off, your communication plan should include what you're communicating on, or in other words, the type of communication. This could include things like status updates, issues, feedback from users, daily check-ins, and other types of project meetings. Then, you need to identify who you communicate with. These are recipients of the information, like key stakeholders and the core project team. For each type of communication, record when to communicate. This includes the frequency, which is how often you'll communicate, and key dates like deadlines or major meetings. One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone needs to receive the same amount of information at the same time. Generally speaking, your key stakeholders will get their information less often, like in a monthly, high-level summary, email, or project review meeting, but your core project team could receive more detailed info through daily email updates or quick virtual check-ins. Next, include how you're communicating or what delivery method you'll use. This could be email, in-person, or virtual meetings, or a formal presentation. Your plan also needs to include the goal of communicating. This is your "why." So ask yourself: why are you communicating? Is it to give a progress update, identify a risk, and address barriers? Or perhaps you need to figure out next steps, detailed preparation plans, and reflect on lessons learned. The goal of communication could be a combination of any of these or some other reason altogether. In either case, there must be a purpose for communicating, otherwise you risk wasting valuable time. Finally, include where communication resources are located, along with any other notes. I'll talk more about best practices for storing information in the next video, but for now, try to remember that relevant information should be easily accessible. So that you, your stakeholders, and your team can quickly find the resources they need to make decisions, work on tasks, get caught up, or provide updates. One more benefit to an effective communication plan is that it allows for continuity of the project's operations. If a new project manager comes on to the project and sees the plan, they should be able to quickly access past meeting notes and documentation, as well as current and upcoming communications. The communication plan also helps with effective change management, the process of delivering your final project and getting it successfully implemented. When others have access to the communication plan after you leave the project, they'll be able to fix any problems that might come up, make decisions, or apply similar processes to a new project. Hopefully, by now you're feeling more familiar with the ways a communication plan can lead your project to success. Keep in mind this is just a basic plan, and there are lots of other ways to structure one. It all depends on what kind of project you're working on. Up next, I'll take you through the details of a communication plan and show you how to use it to manage project communications effectively and efficiently.