Raise your hand if you think you’re a born planner because you love to organize things! (Here’s where you respond, “Why, yes. YES, I am!”) Presumably if you’re reading this, you work in some phase of the planning world — gainfully employed, part time or temp, student or planner wannabe.
This plan is the starting point for all the details that follow, so pay close attention to this part of your training and you might find yourself becoming a more successful planner.
The formula for a good project plan is actually quite simple. In fact, once you answer the following questions, the basic overview of your project plan is in place:
- Who will attend? (Cover all categories — age, gender, nationality, employment levels, etc.)
- What format will you use? (Event, multiday program, social, business.)
- Where will your event be held? (Region, state, city, venue.)
- When? (Season, month, target date.)
- Why will anyone want or need to participate? (State your purpose and include goals and objectives for all categories of attendees.)
The answers to these questions inform the “how.” And, if they sound familiar, it’s because you probably learned them by second grade when you were taught how to dissect sentences.
Now let’s talk about the importance of answering each question correctly and thoroughly, and of making sure all parties involved agree with the answers to your pop quiz.
For instance, let’s say six senior staff members are discussing the need to sponsor Event A. In talking about “who will attend,” two agree that only company employees will attend; two feel it should be company employees and their invited guests; and two say it should be restricted to company employees with the title of manager and above, plus one each.
See how complicated the answers to simple questions can get? Doing early homework to comprehensively answer each question will provide you with the elements you need for a complete blueprint, aka project plan. This attention to detail also separates the most successful planners from the rest of the pack.
It should be obvious that with the who, what, where, when and why, subtext queries also need to be answered. Your planning goal is to be as specific as possible with your answers, and then draft an outline that reflects all that you’ve learned in this discovery process.
With summary in hand, you can again approach all the necessary parties — staff, boss, client, partners, potential vendors, etc. — and request final input before publishing the formal project plan for all to see. The initial objective of a good plan is to provide a framework of all the basic elements involved in a project and to get everyone to agree on those crucial first components before you continue your happy planning journey.
With all parties signed off on an approved project plan, you can confidently begin the detailed work needed to address the subcategories of each question which, in turn, provides a solid foundation for your event.
Next: MBEC B4.02 — Develop quality standards, policies and procedures.