Event project management stays at the core of event planning and executing impactful events. This guide explores the fundamentals of event project management, from understanding its main principles to developing efficient workflows and step-by-step approaches for collaborative teamwork.
What is Project Management?
Project management refers to leading teamwork to achieve goals and meet success criteria within a specified time. In other words, it’s the process of planning, executing, controlling, and finalizing the work of a team to achieve clear objectives and meet specific success criteria.
In today’s competitive business environment, project management is more critical than ever. It provides a roadmap for strategic alignment, risk management, cost efficiency, and quality control. There are different types of project management frameworks. Here are some of them:
Waterfall is a sequential project management methodology in which tasks are completed in a pre-defined order. Each project phase must be completed before the next step can begin.
This makes it difficult to change the project once it has started. Waterfall is often used for projects with well-defined requirements and a low change risk.
Agile is an iterative and incremental project management methodology in which projects are broken down into smaller chunks called sprints. Teams work on each sprint in short bursts. The Agile framework allows for changing the requirements and incorporating feedback quickly.
Lean is a project management methodology that focuses on eliminating waste and streamlining processes. It is often used in software development, but it can also be applied to other types of projects. Lean is based on the following principles:
- Identify and eliminate waste.
- Focus on customer value.
- Continuously improve processes.
Six Sigma is a data-driven project management methodology focusing on improving quality and reducing flaws. It is often used in manufacturing, but it can also be used in other industries. Six Sigma is based on the following principles:
- Define the problem.
- Measure the current process.
- Analyze the data to identify the root cause of the problem.
- Improve the operation to eliminate the root cause of the problem.
- Control the process to ensure that the improvement is sustained.
Hybrid methodologies combine elements of different traditional and modern methodologies to create a custom approach that meets the specific needs of a project or organization. For example, a hybrid methodology might combine the sequential approach of Waterfall with the iterative approach of Agile.
What is Event Project Management?
Event project management is the application of project management principles and techniques to event planning and execution. This includes defining project scope, setting and tracking objectives, creating a project plan, managing resources, and evaluating success. It involves coordinating every event detail, from the initial concept to the final wrap-up.
Event project management requires coordinating multiple internal and external teams, all working together to execute flawless events.
It’s worth noting that event project management is temporary in nature, as its ultimate goal is to develop well-established and automated workflows that can be used to scale. This means that professionals must constantly look for ways to streamline processes and improve efficiency.
Teamwork is another essential aspect of any event project management. Organizers must effectively collaborate with various stakeholders, including providers, vendors, agencies, industry influencers, speakers, and team members.
Ultimately, the success of any event project management hinges on the ability of professionals to coordinate and execute all of the moving parts seamlessly. By carefully planning and preparing, organizers can ensure that their events are executed flawlessly, living up to the expectations of all stakeholders involved.
When To Initiate Event Project Management?
Initiating event project management is a strategic decision. However, there are specific circumstances when initiating event project management becomes critical. These circumstances are often unique to the nature of the event or project. Let’s explore some of these scenarios:
Deploying a New Events Strategy
Event project management is required when designing a new events strategy. This process involves elements such as:
- Identifying new opportunities within the retail landscape.
- Analyzing customers’ expectations.
- Understanding potential challenges unique to the industry.
- Crafting a comprehensive plan tailored to execute the events strategy effectively.
Subsequently, these steps may translate into launching innovative in-store events, exclusive product launches, or online sales events. But only by initiating event project management will companies be able to align their efforts with their business goals, creating memorable customer experiences.
Launching a New Type of Event or Exceptionally Large Events
Introducing new event types or exceptionally large-scale retail events can pose specific challenges for enterprises and retailers. These might include grand seasonal sales, Black Friday extravaganzas, or store openings. A great example would be when Salomon, the innovative French sporting goods company, launched its infamous Salomon Experiences, for sports fans around the world, on its website.
Event project management becomes essential to oversee resources, ensure good execution, and deliver a positive experience to attendees. For retailers, this means creating an immersive retail environment that engages customers and maximizes sales opportunities.
Implementing New Event Management Software
Companies and retailers often rely on event management software to streamline operations, integrate multiple data points, and enhance customer experience. The implementation of new event management software introduces changes in processes and workflows.
To make this transition smoother, reduce potential operational glitches, and enhance overall efficiency, retailers should initiate event project management. By doing so, they can ensure that the event management software integration aligns with their specific needs.
As an example, Pierre Fabre implemented Eventtia as its group’s event software for 40 brands in 13 countries in 2018. To this day, more than 300 events, including corporate events, retail partners seminars and webinars.
Initiating the Collaboration with New Agencies and Suppliers
Event project management is invaluable for companies seeking to work with new event agencies, vendors, and suppliers. Collaborating with different partners often entails understanding new working styles, managing diverse expectations, and ensuring seamless communication throughout the supply chain.
By initiating event project management, retailers can facilitate better coordination, improve communication channels, and foster mutual understanding.
Running Events with New Partners, Industry Influencers, and KOLs
Hosting events with new partners, industry influencers, and Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs) can significantly impact brand visibility and customer engagement. Initiating event project management is essential to manage these collaborations effectively.
Companies and retailers can ensure that such partnerships are aligned with their brand identity, target audience, and business goals. This approach allows them to make the most of these influential partnerships, whether it’s through in-store appearances or joint event marketing initiatives.
For example, Campari Group is frequently organizing brand activation campaigns at some of the most popular music and art festivals, inviting famous artists and influencers.
Main Risks Of Overlooking Event Project Management
Failing to prioritize or inadequately manage event project management can result in detrimental consequences. These main risks are associated with overlooking or poorly executing such projects.
Here are some of them:
Unnecessary Stress and Tensions
Without the guiding framework of event project management, organizers and team members will experience unnecessary stress and tension. The lack of a structured plan for solving an existing challenge leads to chaos, miscommunication, and increased pressure on everyone involved.
Without a well-structured event project management, financial resources can be misallocated or wasted. Overspending is a common consequence, as costs spiral out of control when there is no efficient management and event budget tracking.
Delays and Event Postponing
Events may face delays or even postponement due to inadequate project management, and this can have significant consequences for both organizers and participants. When there isn’t a well-defined plan and timeline in place, essential tasks that are crucial for the success of an event can easily fall behind schedule.
Attendee and Customer Disappointments
When events are not managed properly, the attendee or guest experience can suffer. This leads to a disappointing event experience, resulting in negative feedback, reduced attendance in future events, and a damaged reputation for the organizing company.
Overall Event Failure and Cancellation
The ultimate risk of overlooking or poorly executing event project management is the potential for event failure and, in some cases, event cancellation. This not only results in significant financial losses but also undermines the trust and confidence of stakeholders, making it challenging to organize future events.
These risks underscore the critical role that event project management plays in ensuring the success of events. To mitigate these risks and achieve successful events, careful planning, coordination, and execution are essential.
Event project management is not merely a luxury but a necessity to deliver memorable and seamless event experiences while safeguarding the reputation and financial stability of the organizing brand or company.
Stages of Event Management Project
To successfully execute event project management, it’s essential to follow a structured approach. This chapter outlines the stages involved in initiating and deploying successful event project management.
Stage 1. Problem Identification
In the initial phase of your event project management, it’s essential to understand the problem that your project aims to address. The problem identification stage sets the foundation for the entire project and ensures that your efforts are strategically aligned.
Begin by clearly defining the problem you are trying to solve. In this context, you may need to launch a new consumer engagement experience strategy that connects customers with your brand.
Alternatively, your challenge could be dissatisfaction with existing event management software providers. For example, they may fall short in accommodating specific requirements, such as extensive API integration for hosting events.
Note: For the sake of this article, we’ll focus on the specific challenge of selecting a new event management software provider. This challenge may emerge when your current event management platform fails to meet your organization’s evolving needs or isn’t capable of offering the necessary functionality for your events.
Stage 2. Ideation
Once you’ve identified the problem your event project management addresses, the next phase involves ideation. During this stage, your team engages in creative brainstorming and evaluates potential solutions to tackle the identified challenge effectively.
It’s crucial to consider a wide range of options, including both in-house and third-party solutions. Encourage open and creative thinking to generate a variety of ideas. These solutions could encompass changes in strategy, technology, or processes.
Stage 3. Solution Planning
Once you’ve conducted ideation and determined possible solutions for addressing the identified problem, the next crucial phase is solution planning. During this stage, you will develop a comprehensive plan for implementing the chosen solution.
- Identify the best solution
In selecting a new event management software, this step involves pinpointing a specific solution, whether creating in-house tools, opting for a specialized platform such as online registration and ticketing, or researching all-in-one event management software.
Based on your evaluations, you will decide clearly about the solution that aligns most closely with your needs and objectives. For the sake of this article, we will assume your team chose an all-in-one event planning platform.
- Building the project team
As you move forward with the implementation, you need to assemble a project team that will drive the process. You should define roles and responsibilities within your team. Typical roles may include a project manager, event director, UX/UI designer, IT director, and the financial team, each with specific responsibilities.
- Determining the project’s Key Success Indicators (KPIs)
To ensure the project’s success, you must establish key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be tracked throughout the implementation.
For example, KPIs may include:
- Monitoring the schedule’s main milestones.
- Tracking budget spending.
- Counting the number of users onboarded onto the new event management software.
- Recording the number of customer support tickets raised.
- Setting a timeline and phases
A clear timeline is essential for the project’s success. This involves setting specific deadlines for selecting the provider, negotiation, contract finalization, onboarding, and implementation in consecutive and growing phases. Both the timeline and the phases ensure that the project progresses in an organized and efficient manner.
- Creating specifications for the solution
Develop clear and detailed specifications for the solution you’ve chosen. This could include aspects such as vendor location, size, and other characteristics that are critical to your organization’s needs.
For example, specify aspects like the vendor’s location, the size of their customer base, or their experience with similar clients. These specifications ensure that the selected provider aligns closely with your requirements.
- Establishing the budget and timeline for the project
To ensure that the project remains financially viable, establish a budget and timeline for the entire process. For instance, clarify the pricing model for the event management software and allocate a budget for its implementation.
Define the timeframes for each project phase, such as the selection phase, negotiation and contract finalization, onboarding, and full implementation.
For example, you might set the budget for the event management software and break down the timeline as follows:
- Selection: 2 months
- Negotiation and contracts: 1 month
- Onboarding: 1 month
- Implementation: 6 months
This budget and timeline provide a structured framework for executing the solution effectively.
Stage 4. Solution Implementation
Now that the plan is in place, it’s time to put it into action. The solution implementation happens in several incremental phases. Thi is where you bring your carefully crafted plan to life. Here’s how you can do it:
- Project Kickoff
The project kickoff is a critical step in ensuring everyone involved is on the same page and understands their roles and responsibilities.
- Allocate necessary resources: Adequate resources are essential for successful implementation.
- Provide access to required tools and resources: Verify that the project team has access to the necessary tools and resources needed to carry out their tasks effectively.
- Host a kickoff meeting: Organize a kickoff meeting to mark the start of the project officially. During this meeting, outline the project’s objectives, timeline, roles, and responsibilities. This meeting serves as an opportunity to align all team members and set expectations for the project.
- Solution Development
With the project officially underway, the solution development phase is where you collaborate with the chosen vendor to build and customize the selected solution based on the project specifications.
- Actively work with the vendor: Engage closely to develop and customize the chosen solution. Continuously communicate your project specifications and requirements to ensure the solution aligns with your goals.
- Run regular progress reviews: Regularly review the progress made in solution development. This step ensures that the project remains on track and aligned with the established project goals.
- Quality Assurance (QA)
Quality assurance is a crucial step to guarantee that the developed solution meets your needs and functions without any issues.
- Conduct thorough testing: Test the developed solution to identify and rectify any issues or bugs. Testing should encompass all aspects of the solution, from functionality to security and usability.
- Ensure compliance with project requirements: Verify that the solution aligns with the requirements and maintains the established quality standards. It should meet all the specified criteria and expectations.
Documentation is key for maintaining a record of the new solution and ensuring everyone knows how to use it effectively.
- Create and maintain documentation: Generate comprehensive documentation for the new solution, including user guides, manuals, and best practices. These documents serve as valuable resources for the project team and end-users.
- Archive project-related documents: It’s important to archive project-related documents and communications for future reference. This historical record can provide insights and context for future projects or troubleshooting.
Once the solution is fully developed and tested, the onboarding phase focuses on training the project team and end-users on how to use the solution effectively.
- Train the project team and end users: Train the project team and the initial pool of end-users to ensure they are well-versed in using the new solution effectively.
- Maximizing user comfort: The goal is to ensure everyone is comfortable with the system and can maximize its potential. Effective training ensures a smooth transition and optimal utilization of the solution.
By effectively managing project kickoff, solution development, quality assurance, documentation, and onboarding, you ensure a seamless transition and the best possible start for your new solution, in this case, event management software.
Stage 5. Go Live
The go-live phase is a significant milestone in the project, where the new event management software is officially deployed for regular use. This phase is crucial for ensuring a successful transition and ongoing operations, and it’s important not to undervalue its importance. Here are the steps you should consider:
- Official deployment: This is the moment when the new solution is officially rolled out for regular use. A dedicated team is often responsible for this deployment to ensure it proceeds smoothly.
- Phased deployment: To minimize potential disruptions, it is often advisable to deploy the solution in phases. Start with a smaller group of users or a limited scope before gradually expanding to a wider audience. This phased approach allows for a more controlled implementation and can help identify and address issues before they affect the entire user base.
- Investing in user support: As the new solution goes live, it’s essential to invest in user support heavily. This may involve collaboration with the event management software provider to provide comprehensive support to end-users. User support is critical for addressing any immediate questions, concerns, or issues users may encounter during the transition.
- Monitoring and issue resolution: Continuously monitor the performance of the new solution after deployment. Be prepared to address any immediate issues or questions that arise. Prompt issue resolution and effective support during this phase are essential to maintain user confidence and ensure a smooth transition to the new solution.
The go-live phase is a critical point in the project where the real-world use of the solution begins. It’s important to approach this phase with thorough planning, strong support, and the flexibility to address any unexpected challenges.
Stage 6. Post-Implementation Review
After the new solution has been in use for a period of time, it’s essential to conduct a post-implementation review to assess its success and gather valuable insights for future improvements.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Conducting a review meeting: Organize a review meeting where relevant stakeholders can assess the success of the solution’s implementation. This meeting provides an opportunity to evaluate whether the solution meets its intended goals and objectives.
- Gathering feedback and lessons learned: During the review, gather feedback from end-users, project team members, and other relevant parties. This feedback should encompass both positive experiences and areas that may need improvement. Additionally, collect and document the lessons learned from the implementation process.
To keep improving your solutions, do a thorough review after each implementation. This will help you find new ways to succeed.
Stage 7. Scaling to the Whole Company, Affiliates, and Partners
Once the new solution has proven its success and stability, consider scaling its usage to a broader audience, such as the entire company, multiple brands, affiliates, or partners.
Here’s how you can do it:
- Planning for scaling: Develop a plan for scaling up the solution’s use. This plan should include a roadmap for extending the solution’s reach to various groups or entities within the organization.
- Implementation for a wider audience: Extend the solution to the broader audience according to the established plan. This may involve adapting the solution to the specific needs and requirements of each group or brand, ensuring a smooth transition for all stakeholders.
- Continuous monitoring and improvement: As you scale the solution, continue to monitor its performance and gather feedback. Be open to making necessary adjustments and improvements based on the unique requirements of different user groups. This iterative approach ensures that the solution remains effective and evolves to meet changing needs.
Scaling the solution to the whole company, multiple brands, affiliates, and partners is an exciting phase that signifies the successful adoption of the new solution.
It also underscores the importance of ongoing monitoring, adaptability, and continuous improvement to ensure the solution delivers value to a wider audience.
Case Study: Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard, the world’s second-largest wine and spirit Group, offers an excellent example of how effective event project management can be.
The Group’s event team faced the challenge of swiftly developing a robust B2B event management platform to drive brand visibility and revenue. Their goal was clear – ensure robustness and scalability to support their global presence spanning 240 brands.
In their pursuit of excellence, Pernod Ricard initiated event project management for identifying a reliable event management software provider. As a result, the Pernod Ricard team recognized Eventtia as the best event management software in the industry.
Eventtia’s event management platform provided the foundation for success, offering key solutions to overcome the challenges:
- Robust and Scalable Solution: Eventtia’s platform not only met the stringent timelines but also ensured high levels of robustness and scalability. This event project management software supported Pernod Ricard’s ambitious deployment plan.
- Seamless User Experience and Brand Identity: Eventtia’s capabilities seamlessly integrate into Pernod Ricard’s vision of delivering a cross-channel user experience.
As a result, Pernod Ricard’s IT team was able to integrate, test, and deploy the event activity on join-SIP.com in just a few days through Eventtia’s API documentation and with very little support from Eventtia’s technical team.
The Group harnessed Eventtia’s event management platform and API services to create event processes for various stakeholders:
- Guests and Attendees: Guests and attendees effortlessly discovered and registered for events. The software facilitated communication with automated, branded emails and QR codes, while post-event satisfaction surveys captured vital feedback.
- Event Organizers: Eventtia’s web portal empowered event organizers with the tools needed for event project management. They could efficiently create and manage events, track attendee registrations, and ensure guest attendance through a mobile check-in app. The integrated satisfaction surveys gathered post-event insights.
- Administrators: Event project management was made more efficient with Eventtia’s back-office platform. Administrators could manage users and oversee platform activity with ease.
The exceptional speed and efficiency with which Pernod Ricard’s event project management team integrated, tested, and deployed the event activity on Join-SIP.com was a testament to Eventtia’s capabilities.
- Event project management is essential for achieving specific objectives, strategic alignment, risk management, cost efficiency, and quality control in today’s competitive business environment.
- Event project management applies project management principles and techniques to the planning and execution of events, encompassing project scope, objectives, planning, resource management, and success evaluation.
- Effective event project management requires careful coordination of multiple internal and external teams to execute flawless events, emphasizing streamlined processes and enhanced efficiency.
- Initiate event project management when deploying a new events strategy, launching new event types, implementing event management software, collaborating with new agencies and suppliers, or partnering with industry influencers and KOLs.
- Overlooking or inadequately managing event project management can lead to unnecessary stress, overspending, event delays, attendee and customer disappointments, and overall event failure.
- To successfully execute event project management, follow a structured approach that includes problem identification, ideation, solution planning, solution implementation, quality assurance, documentation, and onboarding.
- The go-live phase is a significant milestone, where the new solution is officially deployed for regular use, requiring dedicated teams, phased deployment, investment in user support, and continuous monitoring.
- Post-implementation reviews are essential to assess the success of the solution’s implementation and gather feedback and lessons learned for future improvements.
- Scaling the solution to the whole company, multiple brands, affiliates, and partners is an exciting phase that requires careful planning, implementation, and continuous monitoring for success.
- Case studies of Pernod Ricard illustrates how event project management can effectively address challenges and optimize event processes, ultimately achieving success in diverse event scenarios.
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