Event Software?

Wikipedia states “Event planning is the process of planning a festival, ceremony, competition, party, concert, or convention. Event planning can include budgeting, establishing dates and alternate dates, selecting and reserving the event site, acquiring permits (alcohol permits, insurance licenses, etc), coordinating transportation and parking, developing a theme or motif for the event, arranging for speakers and alternate speakers, coordinating location support (such as electricity and other utilities), and arranging decor, event support and security, catering, emergency plans, aid stations, and cleanup. Event management is the application of project management to this process.”   However, few people actually look at event management as a form of project management.  Throughout my career, I have been called a “party planner”, the “party girls”, and many other like monikers.

I plan strategic events that have a specific purpose and goal.  These events take months to plan and include everything from deciding who to invite to what color the linens will be.  Ultimately, I am responsible for making sure as few as 3 or as many as 750 guests get in, get out, and have a fabulous time in between.  Along with making sure I meet the guests’ needs and expectations, I have to keep in mind budget, goals, and the necessary outcome for my office.  If this isn’t project management, I don’t know what is.

As event management has taken a little longer to be seen as a viable career, I feel we are also a little behind in finding tools to help us manage our projects.  Frequently, organizations aren’t willing to spend the money for the event add on or a whole new system so we are stuck with a jumble of excel spreadsheet and outlook calendar items.  We’ve looked, we even purchased one at one point – EventPro, www.eventpro.net/.  It was about $5000 for a year with a week of training.  It would help us with everything!  Ha!! It was so difficult to use and set up, everyone quit within a month.  We tried several times.   It was a mess of a program.  We had to enter each item in several places, leading to multiple entries of the same facilities with minor differences in name or address.  After just a few weeks, the whole things was already a mess.

I do believe there are great tools out there, I just think it will take a shift in priorities and recognition of us as legitimate project managers before we get the technology we really need a deserve.  Maybe some day we can use one of these: www.capterra.com/event-management-software/


4 thoughts on “Event Software?

  1. It’s strange how interwoven project management is in many positions although the name ‘project manager’ is not part of the title. Just thinking about event management makes my head spin. From what I’ve seen the variables in planning events can often go beyond internal company projects, in the sense that there are many external factors needed to get it off the ground (promoting the event, using social media, etc.). It is no small feat to organize that many people, venue, and overall experience.

    I’ve been looking into some easy to use event planning sites online for the fundraiser project. While there are a ton available, I’d agree that it’s hard to find a program. I can imagine it’s even harder for a workplace where there are different stakeholders with different needs.

  2. Hey Alisha! I totally agree with you on the event planning software. When I use to work in events I checked out a couple of those platforms but they were a total nightmare. I don’t think anyone who has actually run events consistently had any hand in building the ones I checked out! I also know a handful of event planners and they live in a world of excel spread sheets. Those platforms are junk.

    During my time doing events I mostly operated with checklists. I create general ones for the standard event and event tasks, they worked like a charm for the breakout items but any time I time to make them more encompassing they started to look like choose your own adventure book! Keeping it simple helped. That is when I fell in love with excel! In reality so much about the how/why/what’s of events lived in the my head transferring those skills to another project lead was always a struggle. Being slightly type A didn’t help that much either!

    I completely agree that event planning needs to be taken more seriously before the tools with catch up. Hmm… Maybe we should go into business building a platform that actually makes sense!!

    Great post!

  3. Alisha, thank you for the insightful article. Due to my lack of knowledge in this field, I was not aware of software being used for event planning.

    Based on my experience, what I have noticed about using any sort of project management software is that it is used initially to start off a project, but as the project continues and changes are made to the projects, the software is not kept up to date with all the changes. For any such software to be useful it must be used daily by all the team members.

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