Event Management

by Rus Slater

Task list

Any event plan starts with a list of tasks. A task is a discrete piece of work that results in an output. A task could be a decision or an actual activity (for example, in the example in Risk Assessment we planned a review; this would be a decision, whereas ‘selling tickets’ would be an activity). All the tasks will have to be completed in order to plan the event.

Some of these tasks may stand alone and have no relationship to any of the other tasks. Some will have ‘dependencies’. A dependency exists when a task cannot be fulfilled unless, or until, another task has been completed.

  • This could be due to the linear nature of progress (for example, when building a house, you cannot start the task of building the walls until the foundation is completed).
  • Alternatively, it may be due to the availability of resources (for example, when preparing a mailshot, you can’t print the brochures at the same time as you are printing the marketing letters if you only have one printer).

It’s important to start by listing all the tasks first, because if you start getting bogged down in the minutiae of a task at this stage, you will miss other tasks altogether.

Having listed all the tasks, you then need to consider each one in detail. For each task, you should have a checklist that, when completed, should have all the information you will need for the purposes of event planning. The checklist produces a SMART objective for the task, which is critical to the motivation of the responsible person. We have included a sample Task checklist in MS Word format which includes some explanatory notes for guidance.

Sometimes, this checklist will be a more than you need and you will not need to go through the whole process of completing it. The important bit is not that you actually have an answer in every box; what is important is that if there isn’t an answer in the box there is a gap because you considered it and decided that it wasn’t needed.

The alternative is that you don’t have an answer in the box because it didn’t occur to anyone to consider that aspect. In this case, when something goes wrong you have what is known as an OSINTOT (Oh, Sugar, I Never Thought Of That!). The whole point of planning the event is to avoid OSINTOTs!