Five-Step Process Adopted for RA Capital Project Communication Plan

The Reston Association Board of Directors has adopted a new process in the effort to keep the community informed about potential major capital-improvement projects.

At its meeting last week, directors approved the plan as presented by CEO Cate Fulkerson and Garrett Skinner, director of capital projects. It was requested back in March after concerns about the way a potential project at Hook Road Recreation Area was being rolled out.

The new plan will include the following steps:

  • Identify the audience for the project (residents, clusters, committees, working groups, the Board of Directors, internal staff, media, other key stakeholders)
  • Determine messaging type (letter, face-to-face, status report, project update)
  • Determine the appropriate delivery method (meeting, informal presentation, formal presentation, mail/email, RA News, Reston magazine, website)
  • Determine frequency (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, milestone, as needed)
  • Determine the source of the message (RA Board, CEO, director of capital projects, project manager, consultant, communications team)

Opportunities for face-to-face meetings with stakeholders will be prioritized, according to the plan. A sample project plan included within the presentation showed five different ways of communicating with area residents and multiple communications with RA membership as a whole, along with numerous meetings with RA-sponsored committees, staff, the DRB and the Board.

“The intent to make sure that we have created a plan that we will implement to create these communication documents within our project-management life cycle for capital projects,” Skinner said. “Hopefully, this will be another step into engaging more of the community, more of the members, in hopes of also instilling a little more confidence… that they will expect to see communication related to these projects [and that] we’re not executing these projects without direct involvement by members of the community.”

According to the plan’s overview:

  • Communicating with, and engaging, RA community stakeholders is essential to the successful execution of many capital projects.
  • This communication plan template demonstrates the approach for communicating and engaging with stakeholders about large-scale capital projects that may have potential impacts to the community and/or require input during planning and scope development.
  • The communication plan identifies audiences for each project, information to communicate, communication methods to use and frequency of communication.
  • This scalable plan is intended to help facilitate effective and targeted communication from RA to all prospective audiences.

Mike Batt, chair of the Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee, said PRAC is offering its continued support in the effort to improve community outreach. He also recommended the board look again at the Hook Road project as the first project to implement the new plan and “create a solid, repeatable model for keeping RA facilities to the standard our members expect.”

“Hook Road is a great park; it’s likely it only needs minor enhancements,” Batt said. “Using it as a model for managing future projects could help regain the confidence and collaboration across the community.”

Graphic via Reston Association

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