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Your Guide to Event Project Management (Plus Free Template)

Time to master event project management

Event project management isn’t easy, and the larger or more complex an event, with multiple stakeholders and suppliers, the more difficult it becomes.

However by taking a process-driven approach, based on tried-and-tested principles, you’ll quickly be able to master any event that you’re project managing, and deliver everything on time, and to spec.

The key? Take a RACI approach to your event’s project management.

What is RACI event project management?

For anyone unfamiliar with the term ‘RACI,’ let’s start with what that means, courtesy of Wikipedia:

“A RACI matrix describes the participation by various roles in completing tasks or deliverables for a project or business process. It is especially useful in clarifying roles and responsibilities in cross-functional/departmental projects and processes.”

In event management terms, this means using a RACI matrix to help project manage (typically) larger events that are organised across different teams and functions.

It’s often something you’ll see used by larger organisations when planning big customer facing events, annual trade shows or other special events.

3 main benefits of using RACI event management

There are several benefits to using the Responsibility-Accountability-Consult-Inform matrix when running events.

1. The first major advantage of taking a RACI approach to event planning is that it specifies who is (and isn’t) responsible for what, helping to stop details getting missed, or anything ‘slipping through the cracks.’

By documenting roles and responsibilities, it leaves no room for doubt and allows everyone to see who need to be involved at what stage of the event and in what capacity.

Removing any ambiguity also helps to streamline communications and, in theory, stop those annoying emails where half the company are cc’d because no-one really knows who to direct their enquiry too or who should be answering it.

2. A second big advantage to RACI is that it makes sure you involve all the right people in the planning and management of your event. For example, let’s say members of the marketing team are responsible and ultimately accountable for the success of an event, it may be tempting for them to work on it unilaterally.

However by adding in sales as ‘Consulted’ and senior management, finance etc. as ‘Informed’ it keeps everyone on the same page and ensures the event meets the goals of everyone in the organisation.

3. A third great reason to utilise RACI in your event management is that it is not overly complicated. In fact it offers an incredibly simple, quick view of the whole project, which is easy to access (and understand) by everyone in the company.

Such simplicity massively increases its utility and usability, making it a practical tool rather than a theoretical exercise that will be shut in a draw and not looked at again after the launch meeting.

How to use your RACI event management template

The basic RACI system works as follows:

Assign ‘Responsibility’ to those expected to complete a specific task.

Assign ‘Accountability’ to those who are ultimately accountable for a particular task to be completed to standard (and on time).

Assign ‘Consulted’ to those who are stakeholders and whose opinions need to be sought before a specific decision is taken and/or a task is completed by those responsible.

Assign ‘Informed’ to those who should be kept in the loop about the progress of the event at different stages, but who’s opinions do not need to be heard in order for a particular task to be completed.

In some cases, those responsible for a task may also be accountable for it’s completion too. In those cases you assign them as ‘AR’ or ‘Accountable/Responsible.’

To work effectively, you should define tasks as tightly and granularly as possible, making sure each is a distinct unit that can be completed. For example, ‘send email invites’ would not also include ‘defining the target audiences,’ or ‘create the event design and communication templates,’ which are both separate tasks.

Every person (or function / department) referenced on the RACI template must agree to the final document, and ideally the whole project team should have weekly catch-ups to discuss progress against the key milestones.

Summary

If you’re an event planner at an agency (or freelance), taking a RACI approach to event project management is a ‘must’ as it will avoid any ‘he said, she said’ scenarios that can arise when roles and responsibilities are not 100% nailed down.

Even if you’re the designated project manager for an event internally, and you need to work between sales, marketing, finance and senior management you’d be best to use this system (and our handy template) to ensure everything runs smoothly.

You can download the template here.

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Here’s a sample of the RACI template you can download by filling in your details above:

RACI template

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