What are the stages of a consultation and how can I change them?

Each question has several stages, which indicate what participants can see and do:

There are five milestones throughout the project timeline in which transitions from one stage to another take place:

CREATE: After you define a question, a new project will be created on the website, in stage “DRAFT.”
LAUNCH: Once you are ready, you can launch the project and turn it from stage “DRAFT” into “ASK.”
ANALYZE:  Two weeks after launch (as a default), the project will be closed for new answers and become in stage "ANALYZE."
SHARE INSIGHTS: Once the insights are approved by an admin, the project will move into “DECIDE."
SHARE DECISIONS: Once decisions are made, the project will be labeled as “CLOSED.”

How do you change the date of each milestone?

To open and complete a project, share the insights, and make the decisions, you can set and update the dates. Enter the project, go to the admin interface, and click “Settings.” Click on “DATES & STATUS” to change the dates.

What happens if you do not share the insights?

Since participants have invested time and effort into your project, they’ll expect you to share the insights with them. If you choose not to share, participants will not get any updates regarding the impact of their advice. We strongly recommend sharing the insights, even if they are limited in scope. If for whatever reason insights do not receive approval, we will need to close the project.

What happens if you do not make decisions?

Just as you should share insights, you should also make decisions; participants who have put time and energy into your project deserve to see the project conclude with decisions. Not making decisions means that none of the participants will get any updates regarding how their answers made an impact.  We strongly recommend sharing the decisions, even if they contradict some of the insights. It’s better to engage and explain yourself than disappear! If no decisions will be made, even after several notices from us, we will need to close the project.

How much time should we keep the question open for answers?

Based on our experience, two weeks is the ideal amount of time to gather advice from all participants. People remain engaged for two weeks, but soon after, your stakeholders’ willingness to take part diminishes. We want to avoid that at all costs. We also recommend planning ahead your engagement channels with your audiences, following the guidelines in the “Invite Participants” section.

Can I skip phases?

Technically yes, but we do not recommend that. The stages were set based on hundreds of projects we powered and in light of the best practices we found while managing inclusive decision-making projects. Bypassing some of the phases will lead to muddled communication with stakeholders and inconsistent presentation of information.

What happens after I make decisions

Once decisions are published, your project status will change to “Closed.” Participants can get access to all the knowledge collected from the project, including the insights and the decisions, but they will no longer be able to edit answers or create insights. You can always archive the project, so that it will not be displayed on your site homepage. You can also delete the project completely, in which case no one will be able to access it, even with a direct link.

What are the stages of a consultation and how can I change them?