For the most part, I have mostly worked with private clients and municipalities; therefore, the roles, authority levels, and responsibilities are usually clearly demarcated. However, when working on community-based projects, the number of stakeholders is usually much larger, and the roles need to be much clearer. For example, we are currently managing a community-based project located within the public right-of-way. Therefore, the City is the property owner, and one of its departments (public works) is the owner’s representative, but they are not the clients. To a degree, the client and the seller are both the local community. They get to provide input and feedback and contribute to the design development of a park, but at the same time, they are responsible for providing some of the work efforts as part of the conditions of a grant being used to build the park. Also, the use of a grant requires greater transparency and reporting requirements, translating into a greater need for risk analysis and mitigation, such as “what if the project cannot be completed per the grant requirements.” How do we address this kind of project threat?
The community members are key stakeholders whose expectations and requirements need to be addressed. That is not to say that all their expectations and requirements can be met, especially since many of them will likely be in direct conflict with other stakeholders. However, they must be heard and will need to understand why a particular expectation or requirement, for example, cannot be provided due to budget, schedule, or even engineering constraints. In this case, the best approach is effective project management to run the process and meet project objectives efficiently. And effective project management starts with selecting the best approach, such as a predictive lifecycle, an Agile one, or a hybrid.
When working with community-based projects, it is crucial to have a strong and efficacious project manager that can provide the necessary leadership skills, such as decision making, team building and motivation, and effective communication, among others. Additionally, as noted above, the lack of a clear owner, owner’s rep, or client means that the project manager needs to fill this vacuum and provide direction and motivation to keep the project on track; especially since volunteers and, therefore, fuel community-based projects, are not motivated by salaries or rewards. Instead, their motivation is typically limited to the desire to give back to their communities and see the project completed.
At PM Workshops, we provide management consulting services to community-based projects with the goal of seeing the project through while also providing the necessary staff training and volunteers on how to run a project successfully and meet critical expectations. If you need assistance running your community projects, don’t hesitate to get in touch with PM Workshops to discuss your requirements and needs. We will be glad to provide our expertise in this area and ensure that you have the right scope, budget, and schedule, especially if you need to meet public grant requirements or other prerequisites set forth by your local jurisdiction.