Skip to content


Communication Plan

A communication plan identifies people with an interest in the project (stakeholders), communication needs, and methods of communication. Communication planning helps to ensure that everyone who needs to be informed about project activities and results gets the needed information.



The project manager is responsible to identify communication needs and deciding whether a formal communication plan is needed.

Although every project undergoes some kind of communication planning, it is frequently informal – determining who needs to attend which meetings, receive which reports, etc. Projects of long duration will benefit from formal planning because the project stakeholders are likely to change over time. Projects that affect a large number of people or organizations may also benefit from formal planning to ensure full identification of both stakeholders and of communication needs.

A communication plan needs to consider, and where appropriate document each of the following items:

  • List of Stakeholders (Who has an interest in the project? See the project definition for an initial list of stakeholders. Be sure to include both business and technical stakeholders.)
  • Information Needs (What kinds of information about the project are of interest? Consider need to communicate plans, status and progress reports, changes, major events, availability of prototypes and demonstrations, etc.)
  • Communication Methods (What information will be communicated to what groups in what ways? Common methods include reporting and documentation, email, meetings, and websites.)

Project Plan

The Project Management Plan, or Project Plan, defines how the project is organized, executed, monitored, controlled, and closed. It is used by the project manager and stakeholders to monitor and control the project, and thus, is a living set of documents for the duration of the project. A Project Plan is a compilation of information and can vary in content and detail depending on the complexity of the project. The Project Plan may include information about project scope and objectives; resource roles and responsibilities; project communications; project tasks, milestones, schedule, and dependencies; costs; quality and risk management.



The project manager is responsible for developing the Project Plan, with support and input from the project stakeholders.

Step Task
1 During the project planning identify what “tools” of a project plan are required for your project. The Project Plan Checklist [pdf] can guide you to the most common components in a project plan.
2 Develop the identified project plan components (e.g. Charter, Budget, WBS, project organization chart, risk plan) with input from the project team, customer, and sponsor.
3 Review and approve the developed project plan components with the project team.
4 Publish the project plan components so all project stakeholders have access.
5 Monitor, control, and manage the project using the developed project plan components. This is a living set of documents and should be maintained throughout the duration of the project.
6 At the close of the project clean up and consolidate the project plan.

The project plan is written during the planning phase.

The project manager is the owner of the project plan, the project stakeholders provide input.

Template Purpose
Project Plan Checklist [pdf] Use the project plan checklist to identify the components/tools you want to use for the project management plan.
Project Plan Template [docx] Organize and display your project plan using this template.
Project Charter [docx] Describe the overall objectives and scope of the project.
Project Budget [xlsx] Identify project labor and non-labor expenses associated with your project.
Work Breakdown Structure These templates help the project manager organize and define the deliverables of the project into tasks.
Staffing & Organization Plan These templates provide a visual depiction of how the project staff is organized and managed.
Communication Plan Plan and describe how and when to communicate with everyone interested in your project.
Risk Management Plan [docx] Plan how the project will react to known risks (both good and bad).

Roles and Responsibilities

The purpose of defining project roles and responsibilities is to ensure that all project work has an unambiguous owner and that all project team members clearly understand their roles and responsibilities. Defining roles and responsibilities should be completed early in project planning, before detailed resource allocation or scheduling.



A RACI diagram is used to describe the roles and responsibilities of teams or individuals in delivering a project. It is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities in cross-functional/cross-departmental projects and initiatives. The goals of the roles and responsibilities matrix are to:

  • Define roles and responsibilities of project stakeholders
  • Improve overall project team and stakeholder communication
  • Proactively identify gaps in assignments, accountability, or resources
  • Clarify cross-functional interactions between project team members
  • Document project inter-dependencies with other enterprise initiatives
  • Define project team interactions with supporting resources and departments

The RACI diagram splits project activities into four participatory responsibility types that are then assigned to different roles in the project. These responsibilities types make up the acronym RACI.

  • Responsible: Those who do work to achieve the activity, there can be multiple resources responsible for an activity.
  • Accountable: The role/resource who will sign off on the work and judge its completion and how it meets quality standards. There must be only one “A” specified for each activity.
  • Consulted: Those whose opinions, skills, knowledge are sought to complete the activity. (Two-way communication)
  • Informed: Those that need to know about the activity. (One-way communication)

  1. Identify all of the functional roles on the project, mapping them to groups or people as appropriate. Enter each role title and description in the Roles table in the RACI Matrix Template [docx], and/or list them along the top of the RACI chart in the template. Each column in the RACI chart should be a different role. Including specific team members’ names helps people understand their responsibilities.
  2. Identify all of the activity categories involved in the project and list them down the left side of the RACI chart in the RACI Matrix Template. Each row in the RACI chart should be a separate activity category. Tips:
    • Avoid obvious or generic activities, such as “attend meetings”.
    • Preface each activity with an action verb.
    • When the action verb implies a judgement or decision, add a phrase to indicate the primary outcome (Example: Review and approval to proceed to next phase.)
    • Activities or decisions should be short and concise, and apply to a role or need, or to a specific person where appropriate.
  3. Identify who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed by filling in the cells for each activity. Tips:
    • Place accountability “A” and responsibility “R” at the level closest to the activity or knowledge.
    • Assign only one accountability “A” per activity. Authority must accompany accountability.
    • Minimize the number of consulted “C” and informed “I”, to reduce confusion and clarify roles.
  4. Identify issues with the current roles. There should be only one “A” for each activity, and no activity should be missing an “A”.
  5. Resolve issues. More than one “A” assigned to an activity is resolved by taking a closer look at the process or activity itself and selecting a logical high-level owner. Often one of the “A”s is someone accountable for a sub-process or just a part of the overall activity. An activity without an “A” is usually less difficult to resolve. You identify the appropriate role to be accountable for the process or activity.
  6. Perform a final cross-check to ensure that changes did not impact other RACI assignments.
  7. Verify the RACI with project stakeholders, pointing out where their responsibilities lie, and publish it in the Project Plan.

Staffing and Organization Plan



  • Depict the project staff and organization with one or more of the Staffing & Organization Templates.
  • On the project staff list include: core team, extended team, sponsors, customer stakeholders, advisory committees, etc. You can describe the project staff using one or more of the templates.
  • In a large or complex project, the PMO recommends using a Roles and Responsibilities Matrix to describe the project organization, and respective project roles and responsibilities.
  • Maintain the chosen staffing and organization templates throughout the project lifetime.

Work Breakdown Structure



The Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) organizes and defines the scope of the project, breaking it into manageable tasks.

  1. Identify your project planning team. This team identifies the project tasks that are needed to achieve the project deliverables and is usually comprised of the project manager and the resources requested to complete the project tasks. Be sure to involve anyone who has a “stake” in the project outcome. If you are not sure who to contact or have not received the requested project resources, work with your manager or project sponsor to identify the appropriate workgroup manager to join the planning team.
  2. With your project planning team, identify the tasks required to achieve the project deliverables. This is a list of “What” needs to be done. The level of detail is at your discretion.
  3. Identify “Who” owns each task. This should be the person ultimately responsible for completing the task, even though there may be others involved to assist in completing the task. If you don’t yet know the name of the person assigned to the task, then you can assign a role instead such as “Fiscal Specialist”. Later, revise the WBS with the name of the person filling the role.
  4. When an individual is assigned to a task (typically, by their manager but sometimes by the project manager), ask them to estimate the effort involved or the duration of the task, and identify any predecessor tasks that need completion prior to starting their task. You can use the effort or duration, plus predecessors, to generate a schedule of project tasks.
  5. Record the work breakdown structure, or tasks, using one of the WBS templates:

    There are a variety of software or web applications you can purchase or use for free (i.e. Microsoft Project, OneDrive Team Sites or TeamGantt) for more advanced work breakdown structures. For high level Gantt chart and timeline presentations, OfficeTime, is a useful application (plugin for Microsoft PowerPoint).

  6. Display the project WBS on the Project Plan. This is a living document for the duration of the project, as tasks are added, changed or completed and changes occur to resource assignments. Agree with your project sponsor on how often it must be reviewed and revised.
  7. Please contact the ASA PMO if you need assistance with your project WBS at