This paper by R. Max Wideman was first published as part of Chapter 17, in A Field Guide to Project Management, 2nd Edition, edited by David I. Cleland, and published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc. New Jersey, 2004.
The original paper has received minor updates and is published here March 2015.

Introduction | Beware of Negative Attitudes | Establishing a Positive Attitude
Target Audiences for a PPRP Campaign | The PPRP Work Breakdown Structure


The following paper was originally written with a public infrastructure in mind, and its affect on the local population. Examples of such projects would obviously include roads, rail, hydro, pipelines, and so on. However, the general principles discussed in the paper, allowing for appropriate scaling down, apply just as well to other types of project where significant numbers of the public are involved. In this case, information technology developments are also obvious candidates.

In the text, the term "stakeholder" is used to refer to anyone who has a "stake" in the project whether directly, as an employee, or indirectly, as a supplier of services. Sometimes the term "constituents" is used to refer to those who are simply impacted by the project, often members of the public such as a homeowner in the vicinity of the works or more remotely those who have an "agenda" such as environmental activist groups or the media looking for a good story. In this text, both stakeholders and constituents will be treated collectively under the heading of "stakeholders".

If the project is large, significant, or critical, it will be necessary to mount a formal program that establishes and maintains constant stakeholder linkages. Often called a Project Public-Relations Program (PPRP), it is designed to deal with all stakeholders, including the public and the media, and requires expert staff to undertake this work.

A "Project Public Relations Program" may be defined as:

A grouping of activities calculated to improve the environment in which the project operates, and hence improves its outcomes.

The same principle applies to a project microcosm. Dynamic managers have long recognized that opening communications in both directions – for top management and employees - is a powerful motivator. Of course, always providing that information of high quality and credibility is exchanged, whether verbal or in written form, or better still in graphical form. Project managers should then expect a remarkable improvement in team performance and in the progress of their project.


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