Project Communications


Project Communications

Projects routinely derail because of a failure to adequately identify project requirements up-front, not planning for effective and timely communications within the project team, and poor relationships among key stakeholders.  Galen Driscol has a successful history of remedying these issues by providing the following services for construction and environmental projects.

Owner Project Requirements

The OPR process details a project’s needs and functional requirements and becomes the foundational element that helps to accurately scope and program a project.  An OPR session also identifies project pitfalls, improves predictability, outlines institutional standards and reduces surprises and scope changes to help keep the project on schedule and within budget.

Partnering/Conflict Resolution

We view facilitated partnering as a relationship-based approach to project management.  The project team, including client, contractors, subs, and other key stakeholders meet after contract award, but prior to project kick off, to discuss mutual expectations and develop performance goals, identify potential sources of conflict and establish cooperative ways to resolve any problems that may arise during project performance.  In the event conflict has already emerged, we engage the team in collective negotiation. The partnering process has been effective in reducing confusion and conflict, and has helped teams avoid litigation. 

Communications Management Planning

Communications planning activities identify the appropriate level of communication for each project stakeholder, what information should be distributed, and the frequency of communications.  We help teams establish foundations for successful communications strategies. We develop comprehensive communications plans that outline understanding among project teams and stakeholders.  The actions and processes necessary to facilitate the critical links among people, ideas, and information that are essential for project success are clearly developed and agreed upon.

Decision and Action Management

We assist groups in creating or adjusting processes and frameworks within which to accomplish work.  We lead groups to make decisions, identify, track and complete timely actions and organize work in order to accomplish their mission.  We maintain an accessible repository of decisions and actions to ensure proper documentation.

Stakeholder Engagement

Community involvement is a vital, and often essential, component of construction, environmental and other projects.   Effectively engaging critical stakeholders improves project outcomes and avoids unnecessary litigation.  We offer deep expertise in public participation, even during complex, contentious, and high-profile situations.  We specialize in public participation related to public works, transportation, and environmental projects including National Environmental Policy Act initiatives. For additional Stakeholder Engagement Solutions CLICK HERE


Conflict Solutions

Conflict Solutions

In complex organizational structures and projects, parties often have divergent goals and decision-making processes.  Compromise is required since often no single player has the power to unilaterally mandate their preferred outcome.  The parties must make decisions involving complex technical data, which can be subject to varying interpretations.  They must also discuss or negotiate issues that have the potential to generate disagreement or discord.  In such situations, communication can become rigid, coordination can become arduous, and unproductive conflict can torpedo goal achievement.

Our conflict resolution services help parties to forge consensus and collaboration while promoting clear communication.  We help avoid litigation, cost overruns, and schedule delays and enable legal and regulatory compliance.  We assist involved parties in reaching decisions and taking accountability for required actions.  The teams and organizations we support achieve their goals, make steady progress, and enjoy strong relationships. 

Conflict Assessments

Conflict assessments are recommended when we first come on board to assist a team or organization or when there is significant discord amongst parties.  We begin by familiarizing ourselves with each party’s organizational structure, resources, and constraints and by reviewing previous meeting summaries, team agreements, and other guiding documents   We conduct one-on-one semi-structured interviews with all current team members or significant parties, next-level supervisors of key team members, and key individuals who may have previously supported, or been engaged with, the team.  This array of perspectives gives us insight into the current situation as well as the broader context of interactions.  Based upon this information, we identify, define, and categorize the issues that are negatively affecting the team.  We also indicate decisions that the team must make in order to progress and actions that emerge from those decisions.  

The conflict assessment proposes a detailed path forward with specific actions to address identified issues.  It includes strategies to reduce unproductive conflict, enhance meeting efficiency, document decisions clearly, provide accountability for completing actions, and strengthen relationships among engaged parties.  Periodic review of this conflict assessment supports team performance and enables an unbiased review of team progress.


Dispute Resolution

Inter-agency disputes can halt or completely derail program or project progress.  As a neutral third-party, we serve to address, equally, the interests of all parties and facilitate a situation whereby all parties can agree to support and work towards the goals of the project or organization.  We develop customized approaches based on the needs of the individuals and organizations involved to resolve conflict and facilitate working relationships.  Through one on one sessions, carefully coordinated team or group meetings, or even shuttle negotiation approaches, we enable agreement, progress and an improved working environment.  


Construction Partnering 

Our construction partnering sessions are developed to avoid litigation, cost overruns, and schedule delays on long-term, complex construction projects.  We assemble the project team (the owner, operator, general contractor, subcontractors, architect, and engineers) for an initial session immediately prior to project kickoff.   During this and subsequent partnering meetings, we lead the group in identifying realistic expectations and performance goals.  We help them anticipate potential sources of conflict and establish cooperative ways to resolve problems that might arise during project performance.  


Environmental Restoration Partnering 

We facilitate environmental restoration partnering sessions to remediate contaminated sites in accordance with applicable laws and regulations.  The partnering team for these projects includes environmental scientists, financial analysts, and legal representatives from the responsible party and regulatory staff from state and federal environmental oversight agencies.  We help to assemble the team, onboard new members, and maintain continuity during staff turnover.  

Serving as a neutral intermediary, we consult with team members to identify and resolve unproductive conflict and to design meeting agendas that address crucial issues.  We structure meetings to encourage team members to make decisions and we then provide accountability to ensure that team members complete assigned actions.  We document decisions and host information repositories to ensure ready access to pertinent information.  


Performance Based Contracting Partnering

As Performance Based Acquisitions and Contracts (PBAs/PBCs) are utilized at DoD installations, the most resounding successes are seen from groups who establish integrated partnering teams from the outset and support and maintain a working team for the duration of a project.  The governmental agency, contractors and regulatory agencies as appropriate, meet after contract award to discuss mutual expectations and develop performance goals, identify potential sources of conflict and establish cooperative ways to resolve any problems that may arise during contract performance.  

Partnering assists in managing the uncertainty of PBAs and helps keep the contract on-track, on-time and within budget.  Good communication, decision documentation and positive working relationships gained through partnering are key elements to ensuring the success of a PBA.  Galen Driscol specializes in facilitated partnering and provides expertise to assist in organizing, conducting and meeting PBA and project goals. Our staff of experts assist PBA teams in achieving a clear and mutual understanding of contract requirements, of engaging and involving required entities from the outset and ensuring the right people are involved and informed. We help teams establish foundations for successful communication strategies and develop win-win relationships that allow all involved personnel to fulfill their mission and project goals. Through the use and application of consensus, compromise, decision, and action and agreement documentation, we help teams set, manage and achieve realistic goals. 


Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder Engagement

We view Stakeholder Engagement as a complex understanding of relationships and communication processes.  The goal of Stakeholder Engagement is to increase awareness of an issue or process, involve those who are interested, and generate interest in those who are not involved.  Effective, proactive engagement requires recognizing both the technical and perceptual issues surrounding a subject and tailoring a simple, yet comprehensive message to a diverse audience.

Public Affairs Support

Our staff works to facilitate the communications flow between an organization and the general public.  Support may include writing, editing and publishing a variety of materials, arranging special events, supporting community relations and orientation programs, and engaging in interviewing and reporting tasks.  We prepare themes, messages and associated communication products; conduct audience identification and analysis; determine and build execution tactics, techniques and procedures; establish goals and milestones for plan execution; conduct communications training for organizational leaders and spokespersons and update communication plans as needed.  We also support organizational efforts by researching, developing, writing, editing and distributing news and feature stories, fact sheets, brochures, biographies and other materials to tell an organization’s story to internal and external audiences.

Community Relations/Involvement Plans

Community Relations Plans involve demographic research, target audience identification, interviews, and communication planning.  Our team of experts identify target audiences; conduct interviews and focus groups to assess communication needs; and develop strategic, targeted, and measurable plans for increasing community involvement.  We have developed an efficient and cost-effective process for gathering and analyzing data and identifying strategic, targeted, and measurable communications activities that respond to stakeholder preferences.

Public Participation and Outreach Plans

Our staff will ensure your message increases public awareness, involves those who are interested, and generates interest in those who are not involved. Effective, proactive outreach requires recognizing the technical and perceptual issues surrounding a subject and tailoring a simple, yet comprehensive message to a diverse audience. 

We utilize strategic communications to plan and implement communication campaigns tailored to target audiences, which include parallel internal/external message creation; multi-media products; media relation plans; tailored communication methods and venues in order to convey complex information in an understandable fashion. We ensure protocol and messaging is consistent throughout all outreach messages and materials. We employ care, communication and crisis approaches to risk communication in order to reduce community outrage and provide factual information on relevant hazards. We manage events to successfully implement stakeholder and media outreach activities; develop supporting collateral; and provide seamless delivery of all aspects of meeting management to ensure a clear and concise message. 

Restoration Advisory Boards (RAB)

Our team has coordinated, supported and facilitated Restoration Advisory Boards (RABs) meetings for various Department of Defense installations around the country. RABs were created to allow the public a voice in environmental cleanup issues at each installation.  The boards are a forum for an exchange of information and partnership among citizens, the base, EPA, and State regulatory agencies.  This voice is gained through the exchange of information which allows RAB members to provide input to the cleanup process.  The creation of the RAB was intended to increase community understanding and trust in the Department of Defense.

Our RAB involvement has consisted of providing facilitation services, venue selection and meeting logistics, agenda and presentation development, Information Repository (IR) and Administrative Record (AR) compliance, vendor coordination and payment, Web-based communication and outreach, development of bilingual community outreach materials and fact sheets, media relations, Final RAB Rule compliance, RAB elections, and much more. 

Risk Communication

We employ care, communication, and crisis approaches to risk communication in order to reduce community outrage and provide factual information on relevant hazards.  Drawing an organization or entity’s staff and impacted community members into a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship has been a hallmark of our approach.  We work to ensure your organization’s message is clear, consistent, and respectful.  Our team members are trained and equipped with the latest processes and practices for partnering, which has facilitated closer and more productive working relationships between organizations and firms, the regulatory community, and the public. 

Our personnel conduct iterative stakeholder analyses and prepare strategic risk communication plans to a variety of high-profile and potentially contentious situations.  We provide risk communication consultation and apply risk communication strategy to the development of public outreach materials.  We facilitate interactions between stakeholders and the public and convey scientific environmental restoration information and technical issues in a language that the public can easily understand. As part of this support we facilitate community outreach events including technical presentations and facilitate interactions between a variety of concerned stakeholders and participants.

Event Coordination and Management

We provide a variety of event coordination and management support services for events ranging in size from small, executive level board meetings to annual events with thousands of attendees.  Support includes all aspects of event coordination and participation such as: Identifying target audiences; message creation; creating, implementing and monitoring marketing and outreach plans; coordinating conference logistics and audiovisual needs; designing and or overseeing the design and production of posters, signs, brochures, and other graphic materials, full onsite execution of the event; and comprehensive after action reviews, reports and analysis.  We also support senior and elected officials through the development of minute-by-minute itineraries, presentations and talking points and all other distinguished visitor protocol requirements.