Anyone who has been involved with project management knows that task tracking and team communication are vital ingredients for success. And when you’re involved with event planning specifically, you know how many intricate (and essential) parts and pieces there truly are!
With the advent of spreadsheets and e-mail, things got SO much easier! Most of us upgraded to those tools pretty quickly, and have accomplished a lot as a result. Some of us, however, haven’t done much upgrading since then!
If that’s you, it’s okay! Feeling like you just don’t have time to research all these new options, much less try them out? We’ve got you covered!
Project management tools are amazing
As Professional Conference Organiser ourselves, we are big believers in implementing up-the-minute project management tools. This is what helps us keep track of both the big picture and the nitty gritty details. After all, no matter what project you find yourself facing, there is a tool out there that can help you manage it seamlessly.
You could just use a spreadsheet – they are great! They really are. And if you find that this works for you, go right ahead! (we love a good spreadsheet too). The reality is, however, spreadsheets tend to work best for a small handful of collaborators. But it can be really frustrating if people start changing things around! Plus, the more you have going on, the more complicated your spreadsheet becomes.
(Have you ever been guilty of creating a spreadsheet so complex that you (and your team) got confused by what was in it? We’ve been there!)
Consider trying something new
So when you’re considering a project that’s going to involve a team of people or a whole lot of details, you might want to consider branching out. There are really some amazing collaborative project management tools available online. These tools encourage teamwork and enhance communication. And the best part? They simplify project management!
This isn’t about using something new just to say you’re “keeping up with the times”. This is about making your life easier and improving the quality of your work. Who can argue against that?
Now, you may have to take a bit of time to learn something new. We’ll be the first ones to tell you that! But once you’ve picked it up, you’ll find yourself wishing you had made the switch long ago!
Keep your team on track with project management tools
- Helping team members access information
- Reminding team members of due dates
- Following up with team members because you don’t know if something is done
- Resharing important information that got buried in an email thread
- Checking in with team members because you don’t know if they saw something important that had been added in the spreadsheet
- Fixing mistakes made because team members weren’t on the same page
As a leader in charge of a complex event project (because events are projects), you can end up spending half your time engaged in “busy work”. All that, just to keep things straight – sort of. That’s not management (and it will make you go crazy)!
Types of project management tools
Something that will always be true of events: there are hard deadlines.
Unfortunately, you don’t get to push the conference back a day because you got disorganised or dropped the ball. So how can you maximise the time and effort of your team, and ensure that all deadlines are met?
We are a huge advocate of using collaborative project management software. You may have hear of these examples:
Why these tools?
Any of those tools would be capable of increasing collaboration and communication within your team. They provide access to all relevant information, which you can organise in a meaningful way. You can also use comments and reactions to share details or draw a team member’s attention to a specific piece of information. Never lose a conversation in an email thread ever again.
In addition, these tools almost always have features that allow you to tag others, assign certain tasks to a specific person, prioritise tasks by level of urgency, include due dates, and attachments.
As you can see, they are much more versatile than the classic spreadsheet and email combo many of us are used to!
Auaha’s project management tool of choice
Here at Auaha, we use Monday.com. Here’s why:
- It is visually pleasing and has a clean aesthetic
- It is totally customisable, which means we can use it in the way that works best for our team
- All of our communications about tasks can be kept in one place (instead of losing them over a thread of emails)
- We can share our project plans with our clients, and clearly communicate with them right inside the task
- Tasks can be assigned to our clients, so they know what they need to contribute, and when
- Our clients love it (it gives them a clear picture of where we’re up to and it keeps everyone accountable).
Which tool is best for you?
If you already use a project management software, congratulations! We’d love to know what you use and what you love about it. If you don’t, I’d encourage you to choose one from the list above and try it out. Trello and Asana offer free plans.
Don’t be afraid to try more than one, as you want something that will be a good fit for your needs. You might find it works best to test just 1-2 at a time though, as it is easy to get overwhelmed. Once you’ve created an account and found a tool that has features you like, try using it for a small project. You can even “practice” with something mundane and easy, just to see what you think.
Don’t try to implement a new project management tool with your biggest, most important project when it’s halfway done! That will cause a great deal of stress, and wouldn’t be worth it. Rather, start with something small, and really see what you like. Once you feel committed to a project management tool that works for you and your team (or organisation), you can make the concerted effort to begin using it for all ongoing projects.
Soon, logging in to your project management tool will feel just as natural as your current spreadsheet system feels.
How we’re using Monday.com
For starters, we tried out a few systems, just like we encouraged you to do!
Once we realised Monday.com was the tool for us, we started to brainstorm how we could best utilise it. We took our usual spreadsheet project plan and set it up as a template inside of Monday.com. It was like having the best of both worlds! We got to keep the template and structure we were used to, but with all sorts of new features that made implementing it easier than ever before.
In addition to project management, we also use Monday.com as a business management tool. Like all of you, we have a sales pipeline, customer service needs, new ideas that are in development, standard operating procedures, employee onboarding, and annual goals.
Rather than manage our projects in one platform and our business in another, we found a tool that lets us easily and efficiently keep everything in one place. We can print less, email less, and hunt for random documents less – Monday.com keeps it all organised!
Want to get your project plan in place today?
If you don’t have any sort of plan in place, do not worry! We have 20 years of industry knowledge and experience and we are here to help you! So let’s chat and together we will work out what project management tool may work best for you and your team. Come 2020 your team will be prepared to start projects and hit the ground running.