Event planning process

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This template is a guide to the planning process. Working through the process will generate plans that can be used to manage, monitor and report on your unique event.
Smaller, less complicated events will produce smaller, simpler plans than bigger or more complex events will produce.
Whatever the size or focus of the event, the process is the same.

For example, the process is applicable to a GLAM event or a hackathon or a Chapter event. A small edit-a-thon will have simpler plans than a major conference will have. The plans can be presented in the form of tables or in any way that suits the project. If you develop a template or checklist that could be used by others for similar events, you could link it from the relevant place in the process so that others following it can see what sorts of plans the process produced for different circumstances.

The aim of this guide is to provide an easy-to-use template for thinking through and planning an event. It can be used:

  • by an individual, small team or committee;
  • in discussions as an aid to decision-making;
  • as a way of standardising an approach;
  • to help implement, monitor and report on the event;
  • to make it easier to learn from what has already been done.

All the planning is related and everything is connected. That is, if you change one thing it will definitely affect something else. So watch out for these flow-on effects. For example, if the time-frame is shorted (there is less time available), then the costs are likely to increase. If someone wants a special report, the communication plan will change. In particular, if the scope is increased (that is, if you decide to do more than you first intended), almost everything else will change.


Phase 1: Initiating the project (choosing and deciding)[edit]

Purpose and benefits[edit]

a) What is the overall purpose of the event?
Examples: The event might be either a medium sized "inreach" event such as a large GLAMCamp to share and plan for the future, or an "outreach" event such as a GLAMWiki Conference to share and explain to external organisations. Or it might be a small gathering to improve some particular articles related to a WikiProject.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) How does the proposed event align with the Project's/ Chapter's/ Foundation's goals?
Examples: The event might be aimed at increasing editor numbers and/or raising funds and/or closing the gender gap. It might be a sub-project (part of a bigger one).
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What benefits is it intended that the project/event will deliver?
Examples: Running a big event might have the benefit of developing a sustainable relationship with a particular organisation; or a small event might increase the skills in Chapter members

d) What can we learn from it so as to do more such events in the future?
Examples: A big event might teach us how to co-ordinate with other Chapters. Running a small event might give us experience with planning.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

e) Is it part of an existing strategy or a good opportunity?
Examples: A big event might be part of a planned series of annual events; a small event may take advantage of a visiting content expert or the availability of a good venue.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

f) What has to be forgone if this event is undertaken?
Examples: A big event will consume goodwill, energy and time that will then not be available for other possible smaller events. Similarly, a small event might interfere with planning a bigger one.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

g) In what way will the proposed event enhance our reputation and engagement?
Examples: A big event might show new significant organisations about the work we do. A small event might strengthen engagement with a local community group.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

h) Do we have capable people who are interested and willing to be involved?
Examples: The event will need an organiser and Point of Contact. It might need Commons photographers or expert editors or content specialists or ...?
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

i) How will the event be evaluated?
Examples: Measures of success will be related to the overall goal. If success is measured by increased confidence/ morale/ skills, then efficiency (for example in writing articles or taking photographs) might not be so important. If surveys are intended, they will have to be planned in advance.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Stakeholders[edit]

a) Who has a stake in the event? (individuals, relevant organisations, groups, other projects)
Examples: In a big event there might be important institutional stakeholders, such as a National Museum as well as its individual curators. In a small event, individuals taking time off work might be the main stakeholders. In either case, the Chapter and WMF are likely to be stakeholders.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What are the expectations of the different stakeholders?
Examples: Some participants might be expecting an opportunity to improve articles; while an institution might be expecting an opportunity to learn about WP.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What conflicts are there between the expectations of the different stakeholders?
Examples: Participants might be expecting to improve articles, while an institution might be expecting to get good public relations from WP. Such a conflict needs to be resolved in advance.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents/ Policies]

d) How can we resolve the conflicts about what stakeholders expect?
Examples: It might be possible to have a meeting between a Wikimedian and an organisational representative (this needs planning). Or the goals of the event might need to be clarified and published more widely.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Scope[edit]

a) What is the scope of the event/project?
Examples: The event might be a small local one or a large international one. It is especially important to be sure about what the project does NOT include. It might NOT include catering, or it might NOT include reimbursement of fares.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What options are there for reducing (or increasing) the scope?
Examples: If you are unsure how many people might want to come, choosing a venue that allows you to reduce/increase the number of rooms used and paid for will provide options for the scope.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]


STOP HERE AND CONSIDER WHETHER IT IS WORTHWHILE GOING AHEAD WITH THE EVENT.


Phase 2: Planning[edit]

Objective[edit]

a) What is the specific objective?
Examples: A small event might be "to run a training session in a community hall for six librarians". A large event might be "to hold a formal conference for 600 people from ten countries in a regional industrial estate". Make sure the objective is clear, specific and measurable.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Time[edit]

a) What is the delivery date for the event/project?
Examples: A small event might be for two hours in two weeks' time. A big event might be for three full days in two years' time.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What is the schedule?
Example: There will many different schedules and time plans (all related to one another). Among them will be a schedule of presentations; a schedule of key deadlines; a schedule of communication releases; even bus or flight schedules.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Cost[edit]

a) What is the budget?
Example: In a best-case scenario an event is free of costs - both for the organisers and participants, but achieving this is likely to require a trade-off in time. That is, more time/effort is likely to be needed if it is cost-free. There will be an overall budget and various components of it, such as a catering budget and/or a travel budget. A small project might have a budget of $10 for a cake to share. A big project might have a budget of $10,000 or more.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What financial records will be needed?
Examples: Expenditure will need to be recorded and receipts will need to be collected. If the event has been given a grant from a Chapter or WMF, a financial reports will need to be completed. Check the exact requirements in advance.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents/ Policies]

Quality[edit]

a) What level of quality are we looking for in the results?
Examples: The standard might be qualitative or quantitative. The event might regard success as an improved relationship or a number of new articles. The articles might be many stubs or one Feature Article; the photographs might be many from which to choose later or a few excellent ones to use immediately. Success might be a large number of acceptable translations or a few excellent translations.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

People[edit]

a) Who is the organiser?
Examples: The organiser could be you, a hired event organiser or someone from your local Chapter.

b) Who is the Point of Contact?
Examples: In a small event, the Point of Contact may be the same person as the organiser. In a large event, there may be a number of contact people, none of whom is the organiser.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What roles will participants play?
Examples: The event will need people to play a range of roles, among which will be organiser and point of contact. Other roles might be course leader, note taker, photographer, technical support, caterer, etc.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

d) What skills are needed?
Examples: The Organiser needs to be able to organise; the Point of Contact needs to be available; reporting on the budget is easier if the person has financial skills. For a big event, some specific skills can be hired. For a small event, sharing a role might be the most effective way.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Communication[edit]

a) Who needs to know what?
Examples: Communication planning will draw together information from the other areas. Organise information by stakeholder group. Participants need information about transport and food and costs but virtual participants don't; venue owners need numbers of participants; funding providers need accounts. Everyone needs dates.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) When do they need the information?
Examples: People affected by deadlines (such as for the application process or the catering orders) need the communication before the deadline arrives!
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What methods/channels of communication will we use for which types of information?
Examples: Press releases, Commons category, etherpad, hashtags, reporting templates.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Materials, equipment, services[edit]

a) What materials, equipment and supplies do we need?
Examples: Materials might be pens, booklets, lanyards or re-usable coffee mugs. Equipment might be a large table or video and audio. Services might be for printing and photocopying; venues and accommodation; catering or cleaning.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What suppliers do we have?
Examples: A small event might ask a participant to bring a cake or recommend a local patisserie. A large event might set up a competitive tender for catering.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What options are there for suppliers of material and equipment?
Examples: Equipment can be bought, borrowed or leased. Services might be volunteer or paid professional. Options for some services might include a trade-off such as cheap (if booked ahead) versus expensive (if booked past a certain date).
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

d) What special planning is needed for the particular type of event?
Examples: In a small photographic event, camera angles or how much time will be needed to upload the metadata might need consideration in advance. In a conference, meetings with busy external people might need flexibility built in to plans.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Risks[edit]

a) What are the risks to the event/project?
Examples: In a small event, there might be a risk that there are insufficient skills available. In a big event the main risk might be that the budget will be insufficient or blow out. In any size event, a risk might be a conflict between the expectations of the stakeholders. Identify, Prioritise, Plan and Monitor the risks.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What contingency plans do we need?
Examples: Alternate venues/ funding providers/ transport options/ power supplies if the chosen ones seem risky.


STOP HERE AND CONSIDER WHETHER THE EVENT NEEDS RE-THINKING OR THE PLANS NEED RE-WORKING BEFORE THE EVENT COMMENCES


Phase 3: Running the Event[edit]

a) Run the event
Examples: Go. Put the plans into action.

b) Monitor the event
Examples: Refer to the plans to control the event. Use the planned options and amend the plans if necessary.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Phase 4: Finalising and Reporting[edit]

a) What receipts/other documentation do we need to hand over? When? To whom?
Examples: Written reports might be needed/expected for the purpose of thanking an external organisation(s), updating Chapter members, publication in newsletters such as The Signpost or TMIG; as a Press release; accounting for grants or other funding.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) How well did the project achieve its intended goals?
Examples: Compare what was intended to what was achieved, referring to the plans. Collate survey material.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What reports are needed?
Examples: Results of surveys, Chapter reports, financial reports, qualitative assessments of outcomes, items for publication.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

Phase 5: Lessons Learned[edit]

a) How well did we manage this event?
Examples: We managed cost well but did less well managing time. Perhaps stakeholder expectations were not managed as well as they should have been.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

b) What went well?
Examples: The scheduling and technical support were excellent. Participants were pleased with the outcomes of the event.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

c) What could be done better next time?
Examples: The venue was inadequate and transport not well enough organised.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]

d) What did we learn about running such events?
Examples: We are good at managing the costs and schedule but need more skill in managing the stakeholders. We should be careful not to trade off quality to save time.
[links to samples of Templates/ Checklists/ Precedents]