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A guide to project management for public involvement 8 min read
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Project management for public involvement comes with a unique set of challenges that other project managers don’t have to face. However, with the proper knowledge, tools, and skill set, you can confidently tackle these challenges and create smooth workflows.

In this article, we’ll provide 8 success tips and some templates you can use to succeed in managing public engagement projects.

We’ll also share how you can use’s robust Work OS to simplify your workflow, increase efficiency, and manage your projects. Before we begin, let’s pause to review what it means to manage workflows with your community in mind.

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What is project management for public involvement?

Project management involves leading a team of qualified members—often from various company sectors—to fulfill a specific goal or objective. Project managers must frequently communicate with key stakeholders, manage processes, monitor deadlines, and properly allocate resources to achieve their objectives.

Project management for public involvement means you invite community members to help make project decisions. Thoroughly engaging the public and managing communications with them is crucial to the success of these projects. While including the public in your project’s decision-making processes comes with a unique set of challenges, it also has significant benefits.

For example, effectively involving the public in your project might:

  • Increase your return on investment (and do so quicker)
  • Lay a solid foundation for future marketing efforts
  • Help you better target your audience for new products or services
  • Make the public feel invested in your project and organization

As we just mentioned though, including the public in decision-making comes with a few learning curves.

What unique challenges do you face when you involve the public?

Every project has challenges, but there are a few unique ones you’ll face when public engagement is involved. A few common problems encountered in projects with public involvement include:

  • Higher potential costs: Involving the public in project decision-making can quickly become costly. Many organizations lack the financial or human resources to manage it. However, excellent time management, automation tools, and an intuitive planning process can help lower potential costs.
  • Low public interest: A high level of interest is crucial for public involvement to be a worthwhile investment for stakeholders. A well-thought out marketing campaign pre-project launch—with a message that resonates with the community—  can grow public interest.
  • Communication difficulties: Projects that engage with the public require significantly more communication than those that don’t. Consider using automation where possible and scheduling emails and social media posts ahead of time to improve communication flow.
  • Ensuring inclusion and representation: Many diverse people make up “the public,” but ensuring each group of people receives accurate representation and feels included in your project can be challenging. Consider creating a diverse project team to help represent different community members.

To meet the unique challenges of involving the public, you may need to consider different processes, tools, training, and more. Thankfully, there are a few tips for success you can use to help your team successfully meet its objectives.

Tips for success with project management for public involvement

Projects that engage with the public may be challenging, but that doesn’t mean they’re impossible. On the contrary, they can be even more rewarding once you learn to manage public involvement effectively. When managing public involvement projects, you can use the following success tips.

  • Communicate with the public early and frequently: Communication is one of the most crucial aspects of any project. When engaging with the public, you want to communicate early, frequently, and use various outlets to ensure you’re reaching enough of the right people.
  • Meet the people where they are: You can’t always expect your target public to find you. Instead, meet them where they are to begin engaging with them and give them options for future communications. For example, you might need to go to the streets of your community, the local college, or the mall.
  • Use plain English and visual aids: The public won’t likely understand many technical terms, and jargon can negate interest before it even begins. Simplify your messaging when communicating with the public and consider visual aids that make the information easier to digest.
  • Provide resources for people who want to follow up: People like to know where their feedback is going and what difference it’s made. Provide resources to anyone involved in your project in case they’d like to follow up later.
  • Lead your project with integrity: To lead your team and work with the public, you must always act with integrity. This means living your values and morals in business and your personal life, staying transparent, and always being above reproach.
  • Create realistic deadlines: Establish deadlines your team can realistically meet. While it can be tempting to rush the process, this will likely only lead to problems within the project and create disappointment.
  • Build your team with the right people: Try building your team with a group of people with experience working with the public. For those team members who haven’t worked with the public, consider providing some basic training to improve their comfort and chances of success.
  • Stay flexible: Despite your best efforts and the most intensive planning, some projects end with varying results. Stay flexible and consider creative solutions that keep your project timeline moving forward.

Effective communication is crucial when managing a project that engages with the public.

Now that we’ve learned some ways you can set yourself up for success, it’s time to put them into practice. You can use’s project management system to help implement these tips.

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How helps manage projects involving the public’s robust Work OS can help make projects involving the public more organized, efficient, and successful by:

  • Increasing transparency: Improve your project’s transparency with comprehensive planning templates you can easily share with links, email, or printed for distribution.
  • Improving communications and collaboration: Our Work OS allows your team and relevant stakeholders to communicate in real-time or leave notes remotely on any note, item or task.
  • Organizing materials and resources: Keep all your crucial documents, reports, resource lists, and other essential materials in one place and easily access them when needed.
  • Streamlining workflow: Streamline workflows by automating certain routine tasks and approvals—from reminder emails to follow-ups— saving your team valuable time, and increasing efficiency.
  • Tracking key performance metrics: Choose your project’s KPIs and track them through our Work OS, where you can view them at a glance in the format you most prefer. offers options from Gantt charts to Calendar views.
  • Providing essential information at a glance: Customizable dashboards provide your project’s most important information on one page, from progress tracking to performance measuring and beyond.

Our Work OS provides the most benefits when paired with templates that take the guesswork out of planning and decrease time spent on key tasks through every project stage.

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A few templates that help with project management

Effective planning is key to success in project management for public involvement. Our project communication and management plan templates can help with this.

Project communication plan template

Our Project Communication Plan Template helps you establish a clear communication plan for any project and can be especially helpful for those dealing with public involvement. Once you outline an effective communication plan by adding action items, you can reorder those items based on priority. Assign the most qualified team members to each item in your template and track their progress from a customizable dashboard.

Project management plan template

Our Project Management Plan Template allows you to effectively plan your project in detail from conception to completion. With this template, you can:

  • Add action items to the template based on which project phase they belong to
  • Set a transparent timeline for each action item
  • Assign team members to action items and track their progress
  • Rearrange items based on priority in the beginning or as you go
  • Track a project’s overall progress to see if you’re on track to meet deadlines

Any team can succeed in managing projects for public involvement with

Projects that involve the public come with additional challenges not seen in other project types. However,  with, you can overcome the unique challenges of project management for public involvement with the right tools and knowledge at your disposal.

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