Minute-by-Minute: Timeline Happiness
Event planning, I love it, the minutia of it, the months and months of planning and preparation to pull off a seemingly effortless showcase. And, I think I’m pretty good at it.
The reason I think I do so well with planning intricate details and keeping everything on track is due to my gant charts or excel timelines. A trusty, up-to-date timeline will serve you well when trying to manage multiple functions with different end-dates. It will also ensure that you don’t miss steps, ultimately pushing everything off schedule.
Building and using your timeline:
Find a program that works – I like MS Excel; though MS Project, Word or others may be more comfortable for you. I find Excel to be flexible, searchable and easy to use.
Define start and end dates – this may seem innocuous, but think about when the event actually wraps up. You may have follow-up media, website updates, etc that fall after the event date that you don’t want to miss.
Define time intervals – sometimes blocks of weeks work, while months work for other events, or even when it comes right down to it, the final event timeline might be minute-by-minute.
Be flexible – you will need to refer to your timeline often to update, change and mark activities as complete to stay on track.
Use headlines – this can either be function based (media relations) or activity based (event takeaway). Find what works for you and be consistent.
Regardless of how much you plan, your timeline will change and things will be forgotten, but if you refer to it often enough, you will catch issues before they turn into crises; happy planning.