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The Ultimate Guide to Event Project Management

performer event project management clickup

“Uh, why are there no vegan dishes?”
“The band’s complaining about the mic and lighting.”
“There’s a guest who says they definitely RSVP’d, but I can’t find them on the list!”

Imagine having to deal with all those issues while managing an entire event!

That’s precisely what event project managers have to do, so it’s no surprise that they need a little help managing it all.

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about event project management, and we’ll highlight eight tips that event planners can borrow from project managers, along with the best event app to help you do it all.

Let’s get this party started! 🥳

What Is Event Project Management?

Event project management is all about planning, organizing, and maintaining a successful event

These events can be red carpet events, parties, conventions, trade shows, and anything else that you can celebrate.

Although events always seem fun and easygoing, it requires a ton of work to get it to that point.

The event planning process requires budgeting, scheduling, reservations, transport coordination, and, most importantly, good food!

After all, you don’t want your guests feeling like this:

im a little hungry gif

What are the main components of project management event planning?

The event date and the number of guests are the two most important event planning factors. Even if you’re planning a smaller event, having an estimated number of guests can help you plan for caterers, evacuation plans, and more.

Here are a few other crucial components that need to be included in your event plan:

  • The event: choose a specific type of event and theme
  • Venue: select a location that suits the event, guests, and theme
  • Budget: estimate all event expenses and create a budget
  • Sponsors: special events can get expensive, and attracting sponsors can help you manage all those costs 
  • Volunteers: select a skilled crew and sort out contracts, roles, schedules, and meetings
  • Marketing: here, you’ll need to attract people to the event. You can do this via email marketing, social media campaigns, or printed ads
  • Entertainment: select a band, keynote speaker, dancers, or any type of performance to keep guests entertained
  • Production: if the event is going to be live-streamed, you’ll need to organize audio-visual recordings and broadcasting
  • Equipment: make sure the wifi, mics, lighting, projectors, screens, and cables are working properly
  • Attendees: provide event info like payment processes, contact details, and directions to every attendee. You should also give out access passes to prevent party crashers from sneaking in 
cat climbing in window

What are the similarities between project management and event management?

Here are three similarities between event management and project management:

1. Both use milestones to track progress

Both event and project managers use project milestones to ensure that everything is delivered on time. 

What are milestones?

Milestones are basically checkpoints that show you when you’ve completed significant events or tasks. In project management, this could be finalizing the project plan.

Since events have a ton of moving parts, milestones help event managers ensure that everything is going according to plan.

Here are some event planning project management milestones:

  • Venue selection
  • Sending out invitations
  • Event opening
  • Post-show evaluation

2. Both use task lists to stay organized

Task lists are simple to-do lists that usually contain short-term goals. Once you complete these goals, you get a step closer to your milestones.

Project managers and event planners use task lists to make sure no task is left undone. Imagine forgetting to organize any music, leaving your guests feeling like this:

bored at party

Here’s an example of an event planning task list:

  • Meet with the client
  • Check out some venues
  • Set a budget
  • Determine event dates
  • Create the event website
  • Organize performers
  • Organize sponsors
  • Create an onsite checklist
  • Post-event survey

3. Both require cross-team collaboration

Project management relies on the combined effort of the project team, finance team, marketing team, production team, and a whole lot of others to deliver a project on time.

Similarly, to create a successful event, you need:

  • The finance team to draw up accurate budgets
  • The client relationship management team to determine what the guests want
  • The sales team to manage payments and tickets
  • The marketing team to promote the event

You need all hands on deck if you don’t want your event to go down in history (or the ocean) as one of the worst events ever!

sinking ship

What does an event project manager do?

Event project managers have to manage the event from the initial conception to the successful completion of the event.

An event planner is basically a superhero since they have to deal with things that are out of their control, like sudden bad weather conditions, delayed flights, and power outages.

On top of their superhero duties, here are some other responsibilities of an event manager:

  • Define project milestones, schedules, and deadlines
  • Organize an event that meets the company’s goals and objectives
  • Select a venue, decorations, caterers, and entertainment 🎸
  • Negotiate contracts with vendors and clients
  • Maintain event budgets
  • Resolve any client issues that occur during the event. For example, guests complaining about the comedian’s content

If only the event manager had hired us. 😉

8 tips event planners can borrow from project managers 

An event planner has similar duties to a project manager. The only difference is that an event manager has to have more patience since they have to keep people fed, warm, happy, and entertained!

To prevent your patience from wearing thin, here are eight tips you can borrow from project managers:

Tip 1: create a project plan

First, you’ll need to come up with an event concept. 

This includes determining what type of event you’ll be hosting, what the event’s goals are, specific time constraints, and a detailed breakdown of the tasks and team members involved. 

A. Goals

You can set a tangible goal like getting 500 guests to attend the event, or you can set intangible goals like creating awareness for environmental sustainability. #SaveThePlanet 🌳

Whatever you choose, you’ll need to use a tool like ClickUp, to measure your progress towards those goals.

Wait… What’s ClickUp?

different versions of clickup on screens

ClickUp is one of the world’s highest-rated productivity and event management software used by highly-productive teams in small and large companies.

With features like Docs that let you create beautiful event programs to helpful Reminders that make sure you’ll never forget to pick up the cake, ClickUp is the most event-filled project management tool out there.

Now, let’s get back to how ClickUp can help you set event Goals.

Goals in ClickUp are high-level objectives that can be broken down into smaller Targets.

Every time you complete a Target, you get closer to accomplishing your goal.

ClickUp will also display your goal progress in percentages, so you know exactly where you’re at.

goals in clickup

Interested in team goal-setting? Here’s more on how to use ClickUp to set goals for your team.

B. Constraints

When planning an event, you’re bound to run into a few constraints. 

This could be budget constraints, a small venue, a hard deadline, or limited team members.

It’s crucial to identify these constraints so that you can organize the event with those constraints in mind.

A great event organizer will use constraints as an opportunity to get creative! For example, if you’ve got limited space in your venue, you could open up the side doors to create an extra tented area. 🎪

Here’s how ClickUp can help you manage these constraints:

  • Gantt Chart view: schedule tasks, manage deadlines, and handle bottlenecks in this view 
  • Budgeting Template: visualize your event expenses and draw up a budget
  • Map view: choose a location for your next event and check out how big the venue is
clickup map view

C. Task delegation

To manage events properly, you need to break down large tasks into smaller chunks of work and assign due dates to them.

For example, to secure a venue, you need to:

  • Research venues
  • Conduct in-person visits
  • Sign contracts
  • Submit payments

Here, you should also select an event project team and assign specific tasks to team members.

Luckily, ClickUp can help you with all the above.

All you need to do is create a task in ClickUp and assign tasks to a single assignee, multiple assignees, or a Team. You can also add due dates to your tasks.

ClickUp also lets you create simple Task Checklists and assign to-dos to a specific team member. 

assigning clickup checklist

Effective task delegation helps teams avoid making huge mistakes like booking your keynote speaker on the wrong flight.

Tip 2: set milestones

Now that you’ve got your tasks and deadlines lined up, you need to set some milestones

Your milestone could be to sell 400 tickets a week before the event date, or it could be to gain 250 Twitter followers two weeks after the event has ended.

Once you turn on ClickUp’s Milestones ClickApp, tasks are turned into progress markers.

You can also see your Milestones in the Gantt Chart view. They’ll be represented as diamond shapes so you can easily see all the big, shiny events that need to be completed.🔶

clickup milestones

Tip 3: teamwork makes the event work

To organize a successful event, you need to make sure everyone knows their responsibilities.

Communicating the project plan with every department and setting up weekly team meetings will keep everyone on the same page and boost team collaboration.

This way, if you’re hosting a red carpet event, your crew can work together with ease to roll out a fantastic event:

roll out red carpet

With ClickUp, you can also set Custom Roles for every project. 

This way, everyone has access to the right documents and knows what role they need to play.

Your event team also needs a way to communicate swiftly. With ClickUp’s Chat view, your team can discuss anything, from upcoming tasks to event excitement.

Need to create and share vendor proposals?

Docs in ClickUp are the perfect place for you to create any digital document that can be shared with team members and internal stakeholders.

Sometimes a face-to-face meeting isn’t necessary. That’s why ClickUp has a Zoom Integration that lets you quickly jump on Zoom calls without having to leave ClickUp!

But, if you prefer old-school meetings, simply set recurring tasks for your weekly meetings, so you never forget about them:

clickup recurring settings

Tip 4: always track progress

Event professionals understand the importance of tracking progress towards project tasks and deadlines.

Keeping track of progress will help your event team determine how much work is left and if deadlines will be met. In addition, it will help you keep your clients informed about any delays. 

ClickUp makes progress tracking an absolute breeze.

With Custom Statuses, you can add different stages to your event project, like ‘logistics,’ ‘invitations,’ and ‘event day.’ This way, you can create an event workflow that works for you.

Need to keep a close eye on how your high-end corporate event is progressing? 

Dashboards give you a high-level overview of your event. Here, you can monitor project progress, employee performance, and bottlenecks in your workflow.

You can also add Sprint widgets like Burnups charts, Burndown charts, Cumulative Flow diagrams, and Velocity charts to your Dashboard to make sure you throw the best black-tie event:

clickup dashboards

Tip 5: exhibit leadership and confidence

Exhibiting excellent leadership skills and confidence will help you keep your team motivated.

This is especially important for risk management. 

What do we mean?

Events always have a lot going on, and sometimes things can go wrong. For example, a fire could start, or a fight could break out.

Whatever disaster happens, you can’t have your guests and team running up and down like headless chickens.

panicked running

The trick is to remain calm and collected so your team can follow suit.

Not sure how to handle the hustle and bustle of project management?
Here are 3 project management tips for busy managers.

Tip 6: be flexible

Being a flexible event manager means that you’ll be able to handle any delays, bottlenecks, and other challenges.

And being a flexible teammate means that you’ll listen to other people’s opinions to get the best results. This is incredibly important for event management since anything can change at the last minute, and you’ll have no choice but to adapt.

But with a flexible project management tool, like ClickUp, you can handle anything that comes your way.

ClickUp has tons of flexible views for every department in your organization:

  • List view: view your tasks in a sophisticated list and easily filter, sort, and group columns
  • Board view: got an agile event management team? Use this view to move tasks through your agile workflow
  • Box view: see what everyone is working on, what’s been done, and who has space for more on their plate
  • Workload view: manage your team’s work capacity to make sure no one burns out
  • Timeline view: get a visual on your schedule for an upcoming event
timeline view clickup
Drag and drop to schedule tasks in ClickUp’s Timeline view.

Tip 7: deliver a great finished product

Remember when we mentioned that an event project manager has to monitor events from their conception to completion?

Yeah, well, project managers have to do the same. Perhaps this is a trick that project managers learned from event planners. 😉

It doesn’t matter if a small fire started in the kitchen or if one of the DJs had to be replaced at the last minute. The only thing that matters is the success and quality of the event.

The event’s outcome is what your guests will take with them for weeks and months after the event.

A fantastic way to ensure that your future events are even more successful is to collect feedback from your guests and employees.

ClickUp’s Form view lets you build beautiful custom Forms. These Forms can be shared via a link or built into pages. Form responses are automatically turned into tasks and can be moved through a workflow when you’re ready.

clickup sponsorship request form

Tip 8: debrief

Debriefing only happens once the event has ended.

All the performers are flying back to their hometown, the event photos are all over social media, and orders are being processed.

Now, you’ll need to schedule a meeting with your project team and clients to discuss what went well and what could be improved.

To make this process easier, you should ask your employees to note any problems they run into throughout the event planning process.
Speaking of taking notes, ClickUp’s Notepad is a free online space for your event team to jot down ideas and issues in real-time. You can even convert your notes into tasks for the debriefing session.

clickup entension notes

You thought this was the end of this event?
Well, get ready for the after-party cause we’re not done yet.

Here are even more ways ClickUp can help you manage your events:

  • Proofing and Annotations: collaborate on ads for the event and work alongside clients to speed up contract approvals
  • Mind Maps: brainstorm beautiful event themes and map out your event workflow
  • Task Priorities: label tasks as urgent, high, normal, or low priority so your event team completes tasks in the correct order
  • Email ClickApp: stay in touch with a stakeholder that prefers email by sending and receiving emails directly from ClickUp tasks

The Final Event 🎭

Although events are a ton of fun, getting everything to run smoothly is a whole different event!

Luckily, event project management tools can help you manage everything without turning the event into a circus.

But, if you want your events to be a success, you need to use comprehensive event planning software like ClickUp.

ClickUp’s got features like task Dependencies, accurate time estimates, and powerful mobile apps that’ll help you launch well-organized, successful events.

Try out ClickUp for free today to experience a tool that can help you organize the event of a lifetime!

it's been a great event

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