Rules: What are the rules of participation? How will
participants’ input be used and feedback given to them?
• From the very beginning, it is important to have specific rules on when and through which channels people will be included; who and how will gather and distribute the feedback from the participants; which alternatives will later be considered in the decision-making and so
on. It is important to repeat the rules in each phase. Ideally, the rules should also be created through inclusion and negotiation. The rules should additionally cover how disagreements will be solved (for instance, by taking a vote) and who makes the final decision. The rules and full information about the entire process have to be easily found and always available (electronically) to all parties.
• Although a fixed schedule and rules are very important, so is flexibility as various factors may force changes to the initial plan. These should not greatly affect the end result – the manager of the participation process has to know which methods work and be prepared to change the methods or channels if the initial ones do not work.