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Five-Step Process Adopted for RA Capital Project Communication Plan

by Dave Emke June 2, 2017 at 4:00 pm 11 Comments

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

  • Paper Tiger

    Looks like vendor analysis is complete. Enjoy the new workflows!

  • 40yearsinreston

    Just what can be expected
    Pre Project 101 basics
    What about the execution ?

    • Greg

      They will spend three times what’s needed to get 1/3 of what’s (not) needed. See Tetra / Lake House for model fail.

      All atop what this grand communications plan costs.

  • cRAzy

    How much are we paying our new capital projects guy for this dross?

    PS–The way this written, it appears that a decision has been made to proceed with the project before the first step. The rest is just formality. Sounds like Fairfax County to me.

    • Greg

      WAY. TOO. MUCH.

      • 40yearsinreston

        What is BOHICA an acronym for

        • John Higgins

          BOHICA = bend over, here it comes again

          Personally, I don’t think it applies here. A frequent criticism of RA, most recently with regard to the proposed soccer partnership, is the “too little, too late” engagement of members when a project is put on the table. This might be a simplistic approach, but it’s a start.

    • 40yearsinreston

      His resume is vety light on the PM experience (anyone can pass the PMI “certification” ) and heavy on the ‘communications’ i.e selling consultants, just like his previous jobs

  • Mike M

    Amateurs overpaying for amateurs.

  • Tammi Petrine

    PLEASE, Mike Batt, NO new projects until we get complete understanding of past mistakes and figure out how to recoup from Tetra disaster. RA members are relieved to have a new board in charge now but BOD needs time to unravel past. Thanks for the many hours you and your team has spent on Parks and Rec. Hopefully answers will be available soon so we can concentrate on solutions.

  • Guest

    I would be happy to supply the same sort of flow chart/process to RA for a mere fraction of what it is paying for personnel right now.
    What the new board must do right now is to somehow unwind the Tetra debacle, recover at least some of the funds that were wasted at the insistence of certain (unnamed) influence peddlers behind the Tetra fiasco , impose new discipline upon the RA staff, and avoid new project commitments until these things are done.

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