One area that goes hand-in-hand with stakeholder management, is communication management. Thus, let us spend some time unpacking some key differences when managing communications across multiple projects. In the communication management section, you'll learn about creating a master communications matrix and creating a master communication schedule. Both artifacts help us manage the communications on multiple projects and the expectations of our multiple stakeholders. A pretty alarming statistic is that approximately 90% of our project managers time is spent communicating. This makes communication the glue that connects project stakeholders by ensuring timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and disposition of any and all project information. When managing multiple projects, the project managers time becomes even more limited. Thus, they need to become a strategic communicator focused on overseeing the communication process and identifying and addressing communication gaps in the process. Our communication should be focused on empowering and equipping our teams to act. This should be tailored to our audience's needs and expectations and prioritized by importance. Strategic communicators, focus on clearly presenting facts and rightsizing the details for the audience. For example, a strategic communicator goes into an executive meeting to discuss a project schedule delay. They should not provide too much low level detail to executives who want to focus on the big picture, and identify potential impacts and want to know how the project got into the situation. Thus, the strategic communicator should go into that meeting focusing on the nature of the problem, providing a bit of background on it, summarizing the analysis that was done and outlining possible options. The meeting ends with results or recommendations being presented to the executives at the meeting. The same conversation will change with a different audience. Thus, the strategic communicator focuses on tailoring their conversations to the audience. They should also focus on highlighting issues and the team's roles and responsibilities. As the project integrator, the strategic communicator should never be afraid to over-communicate and should be willing to use various communication methods such as; email, face to face meetings, phone calls, status reports et cetera, to ensure that the message is received, interpreted and understood. One basic two step process for communicating on multiple projects involves: first, creating one communication management plan per project. This is the same communication plan with no changes or revisions for the multiple Project world. Second, creating a combined communication matrix which lists out all the projects. Noticed when managing multiple projects, we use the standard communication matrix we create for managing only one project, just slightly revised. We will add project as a column to the far left to make us track and identify the different projects the communication applies to. We'll also add a desired response column to the far right. Desired response focuses on capturing he expected response we would like our communication recipients to have. For example, if we are talking about the company holiday party project, we will have a holiday party in the project column. One stakeholder could include all the company holiday party attendees as a group. The information which is what we would like to send them, could be the logistical information for the company holiday party. Such as; time, location and appropriate dress code. The purpose of sending this communication would be to keep them aware of the key information about the company parties so they can attend. How many times should a message containing party logistics be sent? Perhaps, we should send it the day before the holiday party one week prior to the holiday party and one month before as a Save the date e-mail. What method or format should we use? We should post it on our project website, so people can find the information and we should also send it out via email in the timeline we've already mentioned. The responsible person would be the individual who will send out the communication and we'll create the first draft. For the company holiday party project, our project coordinators Oscar Stone. He is responsible for sending out the email reminders as well as posting the information on the project website. However, the project manager should review the communication before Oscar posts it on the website and sends the email. We signify this by adding our names to the review by column. We end by answering the question, What action do we want the attendees to take when they receive the communication? Well, we would like them to add the event to their calendars and attend the party. Thus, we enter accept the invitation and show up at the party in the desired response column. We have just completed a communication matrix entry for one stakeholder of one project. As you can see it's very simple to create a combined communications matrix. We are using the standard matrix with the project name and the attendee desired response added to the Matrix. We then list it out all the communications for each project included within the grouping of projects. Once we've completed a combined communication matrix for multiple projects, we can create a combined communication schedule. This is a document showing key project meetings and deliverables in a calendar form. The combined communication schedule is a central document that provides a calendar view of communications. It includes delivery dates for key project meetings and deliverables which include the status reports, steering committee decks and the sponsor meeting dates and times for each project. It's usually kept electronically or printed as a blotter on very large printer paper. Let us take a look at the example of a combined communication schedule. We'll focus on the section of the combined communication schedule so that we can understand what it is and what information it conveys. Notice that it's inclusive of every month from the start of the first project to the end of the last project. In this subset example, we have September, October and November listed. In this subsection. We see that each project is identified with a different symbol and color. The blue triangle represents the company holiday party project. The green circle represents the peer recognition project and the red diamond is the company Carnival project. The combined communication schedule shows us project means, project milestones and communication deliverables. The first section focuses on important leadership meetings. In this example, we have board meetings listed. The second section contains key milestones. This is where we list any important project milestones, Phase Gates, approval dates etc. In the example we see that on the 16th of September, there's an initial preliminary review of the requirements for the company holiday party. On the 1st of December, there is a management review of the overall project. For the peer recognition project, there is a project kickoff meeting scheduled for the 4th of September and the requirements will be approved on November 18th. Lastly, we see that the company Carnival project will have this project kick off on the 4th of December. Those critical milestones are added to the top of our communication schedule to help keep them in front of all core project team members across the multiple projects. The third section focuses on listening communication artifacts that will be sent during the life of the multiple projects. In this example, we see that the communication artifact is a monthly leadership status report sent on the 30th of each month. We can add additional artifacts in the section, such as newsletters or website updates. The thing to keep in mind, is that this section lists the items that are produced as listed in the communication plan and combined communication matrix. The following sections for and beyond are used to list the meetings or other forms of communication used on the various projects. This is where the art of project management comes in. The project manager gets to decide how many sections are included, what information is included and the appropriate level of detail. Once completed, the combined communication schedule becomes a great tool for quickly identifying, listing and showcasing the various communications and their due dates across multiple projects.