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IT Service Status
IT Service Status

Communication Planning for Your Next IT Project

The communications process ensures that, together, we effectively communicate information about Northwestern IT resources, services, and support in a unified way.

What Projects Require Communications?

Most IT projects and change initiatives require some level of communication effort.

Internal communications keep project teams and IT staff updated on departmental and cross-unit initiatives. IT Communications is prepared to assist with these efforts; however, engaging with the team is optional.

External communications promote awareness of IT services or educate the University community about service changes or necessary actions. These external and more formal communication efforts necessitate a conversation with IT Communications, as they generally:

  • Require customer-facing communications or significant internal communications
  • Include a call for action or understanding by the target audience(s)
  • Are not considered a day-to-day communication to a defined customer group

Engaging with IT Communications

IT Communications assists with all forms of communication needs and change initiatives with various levels of complexity and impact. While each effort is unique, below is a general example of what you can expect when seeking assistance from IT Communications.

1. Submit a Communications Request

Fill out and submit the


2. Look for an Invite to a Communication Kick-off Meeting

Watch for a meeting invite from IT Communications, and share the invite with any essential team members who need to attend. We also encourage you to invite a member of the IT Communications team to your project kick-off meeting.

3. Attend the Communication Kick-off Meeting

At the meeting, we will discuss the work in detail and begin to develop a communication plan. Please come prepared to discuss your project in detail (sharing a charter before this meeting is very helpful). Please have a general sense of the following:

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

4. Keep in Touch

Be sure to inform IT Communications of any changes to the project as soon as possible, and include IT Communications in any regular, ongoing meetings or status emails throughout the project planning period so we can update the communication plan as needed.

5. Review Materials

Watch for an email including any materials that are ready for review. This is your chance to fact-check content and provide feedback. If something needs tweaking, please make edits directly to the text, insert comments, and reply to our comments.

6. Approve Content

Please reply to the review email to send IT Communications your final approval, or let us know if you want to discuss edits or need more time.

7. Approve Any Artwork

If the project includes design pieces, we will meet to present the design elements. Watch for a design review meeting invite from IT Communications, and bring your feedback to the meeting.

8. Time to Move Forward

Once the communication plan is approved and all materials are approved, IT Communications will work with you to execute the communication plan. We will meet regularly along the way to discuss the project status.

calendar with a checkmark illustration

Change initiatives or scheduled maintenance that have noticeable impacts but do not require significant preparation or cause a perceived disruption to students, faculty, and staff.

Examples include updated branding on a system or form, brief system downtime on a weekend, enhancement to an existing service, adding multi-factor authentication to a service, etc.

checklist with a desktop computer illustration

Change initiatives and larger projects that are transformative and require preparation, necessitate action by the campus community, or cause a significant disruption.

Examples include a system upgrade/replacement, interface changes or new processes, phone system upgrades, a new login process, etc.


If you have any questions about engaging with the team, please email us at