Importance of Timelines and Checklists When Planning Your Events – The Secret to Getting It Right!
Timelines and checklists for events serve as important and essential planning tools in nearly every step in the planning process. They are extremely helpful in keeping you focused and on track. You can be as specific as you want or need for every area of your event.
Checklists guarantee that significant and essential tasks and details are met in a timely manner. Think of the checklist as an opportunity to double check everything, leaving all questions answered and tasks done.
Timelines will become your best friend if you use them. They are reminders for what needs to be done and when to do it. The complexity or simplicity of your timeline will be determined by the size and length of your event and, of course, your personality type.
They are useful in your meetings, delegating responsibilities, working with vendors, and designing and publishing marketing material. They are also useful when writing the summary report at the end of the event. Good lists with notations and dates are very useful in summing up the event when it is over.
Timelines are used to meet critical dates. You can create your timelines with high-level key dates or milestones only or you can be incredibly detailed with each task and deadline listed. It is your choice. We suggest creating several timelines for different areas of responsibility.
A detailed timeline will ensure that no task or detail goes undone. Consider these questions when creating your timeline:
Who is it for? The planner, the staff, the committees or all of these.
Who should create them?
How many are needed?
Who is the keeper?
How often will they be revised? Daily, weekly, monthly.
Should you use software application to help manage?
When to begin creating the timeline?
Are the dates attainable and reasonable?
The best time to create an event timeline is either during or after the planning session, once the dates are confirmed, after your site has been confirmed, or whenever you see appropriate. Remember the purpose of the timeline is to keep you on track; therefore, start early and keep it amended! One way to create a timeline is to start from the day of the event and work backward. It may seem strange at first, but it works! Remember revise your timeline as often as needed. The point is to get everything down and give you enough time to complete each task.
Similar to the timeline, event checklists will vary depending on your circumstances. They will keep you and everyone else moving steadily forward without omitting any event details. The smallest missed task can ruin your day and throw off your schedule.
When is the best time to create checklists? Create checklists during or after the planning session, after dates are confirmed, when roles and responsibilities have been defined, or whenever it is appropriate for you. The purpose of the checklist is to organize all the details. Be smart and start early!
As you develop your checklists include as much detail as possible for each task. Here is an example, for a “day of the event” checklist; assign these types of tasks:
- Set up briefing with volunteers and staff
- Arrange for airport pickup for VIPs, speakers, and entertainment
- Assign supervisor for A-V equipment
- Find greeter
- Get help desk personnel
- Assign supervisor for breaks
- Assign supervisor for meeting room set-up
- Hang signs
- Meet with facility personnel
- Make sure to have cash on hand
Do not underestimate the value of timelines and checklists! Just like every component in the process, event timelines and checklists will vary depending on your unique circumstances. These essential tools keep everyone involved on track and help you meet your deadlines! To meet your deadlines, refine your event timelines and checklists and use them often! Whether your event is large or small, the success is in the details. Give yourself plenty of time for planning every aspect of the event.