From planning a memorable birthday party for your daughter to hosting a business conference at the Marriott, almost all of us have some sort of event planning and management experience.
Businesses and agencies need to make sure that everything is perfect and goes according to the plan because of the high stakes. You need to coordinate even the smallest details–every single task before, during, and after the event. You also need to manage people from different functions and ensure they’re on the same page. Deadlines and priorities are always shifting and you need to make your plans accommodate them. Even the smallest mistake can tank your credibility and affect the overall perception of your business.
How do you plan and manage an event that people will remember? Project management can help you.
1. Identify the actual goals and constraints
Constraints play a huge role when you are planning an event. You might have the best decoration ideas along with a lavish refreshment plan, but it’s of no use if your client doesn’t have the budget for that. Similarly, other factors like the nature of the event, number of guests, and purpose play an important role when you are deciding these things.
To understand all that, it’s crucial for the event planners to sit down with the project stakeholders and understand why the event is taking place. It doesn’t matter if the goals are tangible or intangible, but you must understand them completely.
2. Identify and prioritize the tasks
Now that you are aware of the ‘why’, the next question you need to focus on is how. You need to figure out the requirements of your events and decide on things like the venue, stage design, A/V equipment, set up tastings, etc. Once you have identified all the tasks, it’s time for you to decide which one takes precedence over the other and which ones are dependent on any other task.
3. Set deadlines and stick to them
After identifying and ordering your tasks, the next order of business is to set milestones for you and your team. Milestones are the easiest way for you to identify your project progress and how far along you are in your plan. With project tracking software and deadlines set, you also have less chance of forgetting to complete any task.
For example, setting up a deadline to decide on the catering service exactly a month before the event will not only reduce your workload but will also give you time to set up a possible contingency plan just in case.
4. Negotiate, negotiate, and then negotiate
If event management and planning were just about keeping track of everything, the job wouldn’t pay so well. An event planner must also have a firm grasp on their communication and other kinds of managerial skills. You will most likely be responsible for working with vendors, and having strong bargaining and negotiating skills could help you in stretching your budget out and making sure that all deadlines are met.
5. Keep track of your team through regular check-ups
It’s not enough to just create deadlines. As an event planner, you have to frequently update yourself and your team members about the project planning and the project’s progress. Not only will it allow you to predict and deal with any kinds of project delays, but you can also divert additional help and resources on roadblocks to not lose the momentum.
6. Make contingency plans for emergencies
It is impossible to identify and plan for all aspects of the event. There can be several unexpected situations you can face before or even during the event itself. Things like bad traffic or weather are a few of the possible issues you might face. Hence, you and your team must have a contingency plan for all the identified tasks.
It is also pivotal for project team members to not only have a sense of accountability but also good internal communications with all behind-the-scenes staff so that the contingency plan can be implemented without hassle. Using project management methodologies in their daily work is imperative for event management professionals. Investing time in their communication and skills is the way to go for anyone wanting to make a name in the event planning industry.
Creative Project management software can help you to stay on top of everything. You can plan the entire process, assign priorities and responsibilities, collaborate, track progress, and ensure your event’s a blast. There are lots of pre-defined project management templates you can use.
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