Change Management In Your Construction Business – Part 3

Part #3: COMMUNICATING Change

A strategic communications plan is an essential element of managing change within your construction business. Project Management involves an extraordinary amount of planning, and the critical glue in keeping all elements of the plan together, is your communications strategy Prior to developing the communications plan, ensure your change management project objectives are in order. Considerations such as:

  • Budget adherence
  • Defined scope for all stakeholders
  • Resource allocation
  • Safety targets
  • Time management
  • Quality control
  • Industry code of conduct compliance

A quality communications plan will mean you have effective, relevant & timely information sharing happening throughout the life of your change project: this is 100% critical. With over 80% of the Project Manager’s time spent on Communications, a clever communications approach will ensure you avoid Project Management problems.

Provided here are the key elements of your change management Communications Plan.

1. COMMUNICATIONS STRATEGY OVERVIEW

First up, document the purpose and overarching premise of the communications plan for the change management project. It’s advisable to cover two key areas:

Project Background:

A summary of the change project to which this communications strategy relates. Include here:

  • relevant schedules & milestones
  • budget
  • any partners involved in the project
  • competitors
  • political climate (if/as it relates to the project)

Stakeholder Analysis:

Include your pre-prepared stakeholder analysis. This section needs to be detailed. Have you devised the matrix of all stakeholders to the change project? Include it here.

2. COMMUNICATIONS OBJECTIVES

List the objectives of your communications plan. This is a great opportunity to keep your strategy on message, timely and focused upon the change project outcomes. Considerations include:

  • increased worker engagement
  • boost project buy-in with field staff
  • maintain transparency with investors
  • tracking project buy-in, across your construction business
  • keeping media abreast of project developments
  • sharing project milestones & wins with relevant stakeholders

3. COMMUNICATIONS FORMATS

Routine Communications:

Information and commitments to the day-to-day communications that will take place as place of this change project. With a clear schedule of communications documented, the business, investors and stakeholders to the change project will feel comfortable knowing regular updates & insights into project developments will be regularly forthcoming.

Budget Communications:

Keeping stakeholders informed of the budget progression of the change project and whether any variance has occurred vs actuals. Include in this section, details regarding the budget allocation for the purpose of project communications. Document processes & procedures to take place in the case of budget overage.

Risk, Issues & Compliance Communications:

In this section, document the processes & procedures to undertake, when diversions happen in the project; when things don’t go according to plan; when disaster occurs; and if it’s uncovered that elements of the project are not industry or legislature compliant. Include here, all stakeholders to be communicated with when such occurrences take place.

4. COMMUNICATIONS CONSTRAINTS

All projects will be subject to constraints, be they scope, budget, timeframes or resource allocations. All of these must be clearly articulated in this section. In addition, note any legislative, regulatory, technology or organisational policy which must be complied with, in relation to the change project and the communications thereof. Project constraints must be clearly understood and communicated to all parties at the commencement of the project. This is the responsibility of the project leader, and adherence to the constraints by the project team is also critical.

5. COMMUNICATIONS MATRIX

It’s advisable to develop a communications matrix at the commencement of the change project as a reference guide and cross-check facility, ensuring all communications activities are happening on time, via the right channels and to the right audiences.

In Summary

Keep the communications plan consistently updated, make it fluid to account for shifts in the timing, content & audiences of the communications. Don’t hesitate to redefine the schedule based on project progression & milestone achievements.

In the next part, we’ll explore the role culture plays when a business is undertaking a change. To Part 4 (The Role of Culture in Change).

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