Sticky Notes – so much more helpful than I thought!

As I mentioned in my last post, we have a difficult time finding software that works well for our jobs – and is within our budget.  Event Management isn’t always viewed as Project Management and this affects the tools we have at our disposal.  This class has gotten me thinking about a few different, and low cost, ways to organize our work.

I am not a sticky notes person.  I am a clean desk, organized folders, constantly creating and editing my To Do list person.  Sticky notes are cluttered and unorganized.  However, as we talked about using sticky notes for managing work flow, I saw how many ways it could be helpful.  Right now, we are planning the closing event for our successful $300 Million campaign, Many Dreams, One Mission, The Campaign for DePaul University.  It is hard to keep all of the pieces top of mind, and remember who is responsible for what.  Sticky notes help so much with this.  We can move tasks around as one person gets too busy, or we find a better way to do something.  It allows us to see patterns and to fit together work pieces that otherwise do not seem correlated.

We can also use Sticky Notes to place items in the program.  We are frequently talking over who is speaking when, for how long, and in between what other elements in the event.  Being able to put times on the notes, move them around, and adjust other elements really helps us be able to see how our decisions affect timing and over-all event flow.  Also, it does not require us to create 15 versions of the event plan for everyone to look at and compare.  This saves a lot of time on our end.

I was really surprised to find something like Sticky Notes, which I really don’t like in my normal activities, to be such a help to us.

In trying to find other options such as this – low cost but helpful, I did a little research.  I found Scrumy!  It is an online version of Sticky Notes!  Yay.  Now, I don’t have to have a cluttered up wall, but I can arrange and change my order of things just as easily.  It is a cleaned up version for people like me!

I also found a ton of other uses for post it notes:  and post it notes with a fancy name:

I have to say, I really didn’t see myself find a use for post it notes, beyond the occasional one stuck to my phone with a number I can’t forget, or a message I attach to my computer as I am running out the door.  I might have to put this on my next Staples order though.  Post It Notes – you are going to revolutionize my life.  Thank you 3M.

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,  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: