How to Engage and Define your Stakeholders – Don’t miss this session at PIE 2015

February 03, 2015

How to Engage and Define your Stakeholders

By David Cooker,

What good is knowledge about parking and its technology if you don’t know who the folks are depending on you to provide that knowledge? PLUS, how about vendors. How should you approach them so you get the best information from them? If you are buying technology in the next two years, don’t miss this session at PIE 2015.

Do you have a RFP coming out soon? Have you engaged all of the affected parties? Do you have a parking problem downtown that requires input from multiple groups? Is it difficult to get the information and participation levels that you need? Identifying the key stakeholders is a critical component of a successful parking program. This session will focus on how to identify who needs to be involved, how to extract the information that you need, and retain their ongoing involvement throughout the project. David Cooker, Senior Associate of Dixon Resources Unlimited, will outline how to spread the word, where to hold the meetings to maximize attendance, and how to be an effective moderator. We will review case studies that will include project experience and examples of an effective level of stakeholder engagement.


This presentation will be broken into 2 sections.

  1. Identifying key stakeholders to develop feedback for a particular municipal program
  2. Identifying and engaging vendors to be included in the RFP process

First, you need to know, who are your stakeholders? A stakeholder can be anyone from an individual, a group or an organization that has an interest or concern about the initiative or engagement that you are pursuing. Your Stakeholders can vary depending on the issue at hand. If you are buying a new handheld, your stakeholder may be a Parking Enforcement Officer. If you are developing a downtown parking plan a stakeholder could be an employee or resident of that area.

Community and Stakeholder input is a critical part of any municipal program. Due to the often contentious nature of parking programs, identifying the correct stakeholders, and keeping them engaged throughout the process is even more important and will significantly improve the success of the program. Coordination with stakeholders will be critical for both inputs into the process and also buy-in on the recommendations and incremental changes that will ensue. Taking a leadership role in the process is necessary to establish a public involvement strategy. This strategy should ensure inclusion and transparency and involve a broad range of stakeholders in order to learn their viewpoint of the relevant issues.

A carefully managed community engagement plan should be created in order to prioritize and capture input. Initially, individual and group meetings should be held with each community group, but engagement and interaction should not end at this point. It is recommended that the community receive progress updates and have the opportunity to review the final recommendations from the City. By continuing to engage community members and soliciting their ideas or concepts for consideration, the project at hand is more likely to be openly and readily received by the City Administration due to the stakeholder support and investment. Another important item to consider is conducting a Stakeholder Survey that will further identify and prioritize the issues. Promotion and prizes can be offered to encourage and motivate broad participation.


How do you identify vendors to be included within the RFP process and how do you keep them engaged? When writing a RFP, it is necessary to write a specification that includes the City’s current needs (“must haves”), customizations, future goals, and “wish list” items. Once the City is able to capture what their technology roadmap truly looks like, it is important to draft a RFP that is inclusive of multiple vendors at its core so that the City is able to experience an appropriate level of vendor responsiveness.

Relying on comparable cities that have gone through a similar process previously, is a perfect starting point for a baseline RFP. After developing the core “must haves” of the RFP and identifying the customizations, future goals, and “wish list” items, engaging vendors to comment on the draft of the RFP prior to its release allows for the individuals who are the experts on the topic to address specifications that may have been missed or may need to be removed/adjusted. It is important to note that during this process one must be careful not to include vendor specific verbiage which in turn may exclude certain companies. By engaging vendors early on in the process, you are more likely to have fewer complaints and less protests.

Vendors typically approach customizations and future goals in their own, company specific way. Therefore, allowing multiple vendors to be compliant to the “must haves” brings vendors to the table to truly demonstrate how one vendor distinguishes themselves from the crowd via their customizations and “future proofing” technology.

Whether you are identifying appropriate vendors to be included in RFP discussions or seeking key participants to develop feedback for a particular municipal plan, identifying your stakeholders is an integral step in any successful program. Learn how to increase and retain your stakeholder engagement at this PIE session.

David Cooker is senior associate at Dixon Resources Unlimited. He can be reached at