March 15, 2017

3 Ways Event Management Is Like Project Management

3 Ways Event Management Is Like Project Management

Part of being a product manager at MemberSuite is finding ways to continuously improve our product so that it meets the evolving needs of our customers. There are many ways we do this - we look at trends in the industry, analyze innovation in technology, and interview our customers.


At the end of last year, our product team spent hours talking to several of our customers about events. We wanted to hear the ends and outs of how associations plan, manage, and execute their events - big and small.

One of our biggest takeaways was that event management is a lot like project management.


Aside from the many moving parts and the chaos that comes with each, here are the top 3 ways we noticed that event management and project management are alike:

1. Both use milestones to track progress.

Milestones are objectives throughout an event that ensure that everything is delivered on time. With an event there are many moving parts, so milestones are critical to ensure continual progress. Throughout an event these are some typical milestones:

  • Venue selection
  • Agenda creation
  • Initial invitations
  • Registration opens
  • Event opening
  • Post-show evaluation

2. Both use task lists to stay on track

Tasks are different than milestones. Tasks are the small things you do that build to the completion of a milestone. Think of your to-do list. These are typically smaller items that take less time to complete. It is beneficial to create a task list to ensure that no item is left undone. Event tasks typically look something like:

  • Tour a variety of venues
  • Set a budget
  • Determine event dates
  • Create event website
  • Select onsite vendors
  • Call for speakers
  • Call for sponsors/exhibitors
  • Create an onsite checklist
  • Post-show survey

3. Both require cross-team collaboration

Event planning is a team activity. With so many people involved, it’s important to keep track of who is responsible for what. The marketing department helps with promotion and communication. Finance helps with budgeting and vendor contracting. The membership department helps to identify relevant topics that attendees may be interested in and to identify potential speakers. Because event planning includes so many players, it’s helpful to have a method to keep track of their deliverables so that objectives are met on time.

To learn more about how MemberSuite approaches event management, check out our web demo by clicking here.

Daryl Edwards

Daryl Edwards is a product manager at MemberSuite. He's worked in association management software since 2003 and is passionate about innovating our product, playing video games and watching sports.

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