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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

Communication Planning for Your Next IT Project

The communications process is designed to make sure that, together, we effectively communicate a unified Northwestern IT brand.

Not sure whether you need us? See below: What Projects Require Communications

IT Communications Step by Step

1. Submit Communications Request

Fill out and submit the IT Communications Request Form.

2. Communication Kick Off Meeting

Watch for a meeting invite from IT Communications and forward the invite to any team members who need to attend. You can also invite a member of the IT Communications team to your project kickoff.

3. Attend Communication Kick Off Meeting

We’ll work together on a communication plan, so please come prepared to discuss your project details (a charter is helpful):

  • Audience
  • Timeline
  • Background
  • Goals
  • Approach
  • Changes
  • Benefits

4. Keep In Touch

Inform IT Communications of any changes to the project ASAP and include IT Communications in any regular, ongoing meetings throughout the project planning period so that we can update the Communication plan as needed.

5. Review Materials

Watch for an email when the materials are ready for review. This is your chance to fact check content and provide feedback. If something needs tweaking:

  • Make edits directly to the text
  • Reply to comments
  • Insert additional comments

6. Approve Content

Reply to the review email to send IT Communications your final approval, or let us know if you have edits or need more time.

7. Approve Art

If the project entails a large suite of design pieces, we'll meet so you can see the design before everything is distributed. Watch for a design review meeting invite from IT Communications and bring your feedback to the meeting.

8. Ready? Let's Go

Once all materials have been approved, IT Communications moves forward with executing the communication plan to distribute the materials. We’ll keep in touch with you along the way.

Timeline Recommendations

How far in advance of project launch do you need to begin communicating?

Illustration with the "2-4 weeks" and a calendar

Projects that are noticeable but do not require preparation or cause a perceived disruption.

Examples: updated branding on a system or form; brief system downtime for a few hours on a weekend; enhancement to an existing service

Illustration with the "4-16 weeks" and a checklist

Projects that are transformative and require preparation, necessitate action, or cause a perceived disruption.

Examples: system upgrade/replacement; interface changes or new processes; phone system upgrade

Initiatives that extend beyond 16 weeks require notification to IT Communications at the beginning of the project.

What Projects Require Communications?

Most IT projects require communications, at least within the IT organization.

Informal communications keep staff updated on departmental and cross-departmental projects.

Formal communications to customers promote awareness of IT services or educate the University community about service changes or necessary actions. Formal communications are required for projects that:

  • Require customer-facing communications or significant internal communications
  • Call for action or understanding by the target audience(s)
  • Are not a day-to-day communication to a defined customer group
  • Are not communicating an incident

For communications regarding incidents, see the IT Service Status