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/