You know what your event is: in addition to your “5 Ws” you also appreciate how market forces relate to event success. What next?
You don’t need to be part of a team working to put on a festival for thousands of people to need strong project management – if you’ve ever planned a birthday party, for example (especially a children’s birthday party!) then you’re already steeped in the world of project management!
Organisation as delegation
Whether you’re part of a vast unit of multi-skilled individuals or you’re the lone pair of shoulders upon which the responsibility for everything falls, delegation is key. How can you delegate if you’ve got nobody to delegate to? Simple: outsource. To return to the birthday party analogy: if you’re employing somebody else to make the cake, for example, you’ve outsourced it. The same goes for any event. Marketing materials, decorations, refreshments – these are all examples of things that often get outsourced.
Ticks in boxes
To ensure that everything gets done (and gets done on time) you need to prepare a comprehensive list of all the things that are required to allow your event to run. I can’t stress the word comprehensive enough here. Never make the mistake of thinking “I’m sorting that out so I don’t need to write that down” or the even more fatal “I’ve always got that with me so I can leave that off the list” – if you’re going to the park for a picnic and you know that picnic blankets live in the back of the car, you’re fine, right? Oh, but what about when you took them out to clean them after the ice-cream debacle at the beach? Did you remember to put them back in? Forgetting things that you need on a day out is annoying and lamentable; forgetting things that you rely upon for an event you’re hosting is calamitous and, most significantly, preventable!
Now you’ve listed everything you need, attach dates to them. If your decorations have a lead time, factor that in – and then add more time. To ease last minute stresses, work to an absolute minimum of double the lead time required by your providers. If they need 2 days to have things turned around for you, leaving it until 4 days before you need them will introduce additional stress that you don’t need – get them done as soon as possible. If things need collecting, factor in the time it will take for that to happen; if some of the things you need are perishable (food, for example), ensure that you have sufficient storage for these items and try to avoid storing them for any longer than you need to. It’s pointless getting floral table centres for your bridal event 2 weeks before the day because they’ll have wilted and died long before your guests turn up!
Finally, make sure that it is abundantly clear who is doing what. Never leave it to chance or allow any space for people to say: “but I didn’t realise that was my job!” Project management involves ensuring that you know:
- Everything you need for your event
- When you need it all for (lead times)
- Who will be responsible for providing it