Project management office

You are a PMP just hired to serve as the head of a project management office for a large, international corporation. The company is organized as a matrix organization and is in the planning phase of a large program consisting of multiple interrelated projects. The teams which are assigned to these projects are dispersed in offices in a dozen different offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America.
The program manager invites you to a breakfast meeting along with two of the senior business managers who are major stakeholders in the project.
“We would like to pick your brain,” says the program manager as you settle in at a vacant seat at the conference room table with a mug of coffee and a bagel. “The last time I led a program like this, I was extremely frustrated by the lack of effective communication within and across the project teams.”
“For that project, the company provided us with access to a full-featured intranet, access to Microsoft Project Enterprise Edition with licenses for everyone on the project, teleconference lines and WebEx accounts. The project managers worked up and implemented a complete communication plan using all of this technology and a detailed status reporting schedule. We held frequent meetings throughout the entire initiative”
The program manager ruefully shook his head. “Despite all of that, I found myself continually being surprised by bad news almost as soon as the project began.” He nods at the business managers sitting around the table. “We’ve decided we don’t want to go through that kind of experience again. We’ve brought in different project managers this time, and they have put together another, similar, project communications plan. We would also like to hear your own thoughts about how best to promote effective communication for a program like this. What should we be looking out for, and what other things should we be thinking about?
How would you respond?

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