This week I have pondered on the similarities of building a home with planning for an event. You start with the vision of what the house will look like, explore which suburb and the size of the block. You design the drive way entrance, through to the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You start with a vision.
Most likely you may have a date in mind that you would like to hold the keys in your hand and step into your beautiful home. For most of us, there would be a thing called a budget (oh sigh) to guide us and stick to… (sigh again). I’m not an architect, however, I understand that some things need to happen before others, you can’t build a house if the cement hasn’t been laid and formed.
Event planning is no different. You start with a vision, a future date in mind and most likely a budget to stick to.
Back in 2013, when I started to design the Workforce Program for the G20 Leaders’ Summit for Volunteers, this is where I started. What was the vision: to engage with the Australian public for involvement in the operational delivery of the event. A key date: 10 – 17 November 2014, a budget to stick to and a number of activities that needed to happen; such as uniforming, training, accreditation and recruitment.
Just like building a home, some things needed to happen before others. I sat there like an architect with a blank piece of paper and started to formulate a draft. What needed to happen, what are the key dates along the way, I then juggled the timelines with relevant interdependencies which brought me to a well-structured project timeline.
This initial high-level plan took place 1.5 years prior to the event delivery date, just like building a house where the plans are drawn prior to any build.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine called for a quick chat as she is interested to run a 10km ‘fun run’ for her charity organisation. With just a 20-minute conversation, I explored her vision for the event, possible dates, location, the route of the course, where the event start and finish lines are located and how many attendees she would like to have participate.
Similarly, just like building a home, a key decision factor is the number of people who will live in it. You plan the number of bedrooms and rooms for entertainment and family time. This forms your people plan. It’s like you overlay the people plan on top of the house plan. Same as events.
In the case of Alice, she said she wanted to start the event at point X and finish at point Y, thus having the start and finish lines in alternate locations. This is, of course, possible (like building a house, the possibilities are endless).
We explored the logistics of the ‘start and finish’ in two different locations.
Alice considered these and realised that having two different locations would double her staffing needs, therefore, she adjusted her plan and decided to have one location that acted as both the start and finish line. This change of plan ultimately reduced the number of staff required and essentially reduced the costs.
So on this gorgeous winters day with my cup of coffee, looking at these comparisons they reminded me again, that, planning an event is similar to building a home.
It’s the foundation work which is crucial to success.
If you would like to have a chat with Lauren about your major event or people strategy question, you can email her directly firstname.lastname@example.org or directly book in a scenario call here http://innerpulse.gettimely.com/book