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Project Management in Live Event Production: 3-Questions to Ask Your Vendor

By Stagedge Team | 3 min read
Project Management in Live Event Production: 3-Questions to Ask Your Vendor

Planning a multi-day event or conference is not for the faint of heart. There are the ins and outs of choosing a venue, budgeting, building a website, and hiring talent and vendors – not to mention the thousand-and-one details that go into the week of production itself.

In the face of all of this, the most important decision you can make is the selection of your production partner. Ironically, however, many vendors are still organizing their events via Excel spreadsheets. Clearly, there is a better way. In this blog, we’ll lay out three key questions you should be asking your vendor to ensure that project management for your event is both up to snuff and up to date.

1.) Does the vendor have a project management office (PMO)?

While project management offices (PMOs) are often associated with large companies, they’ve become increasingly important for event production vendors, as well. Why? According to Todd Palmer, Stagedge director of project management, there are two main reasons.

First, PMOs focus on creating systems. “Instead of fluctuating, ‘one-off’ activities that can easily be misunderstood or misinterpreted,” says Palmer, “the PMO schedules regular meetings with department heads to shape, organize, and troubleshoot the planning process.” With such systems in place, teams can collaborate with ease while stress, mistakes, and human error are all reduced. In short, the bird’s-eye view offered by a PMO allows for better and more straightforward project management.

"Although the idea of letting clients see "how the sausage is made" may scare some vendors, transparency helps everyone see what still needs to happen to get to the finish line."

Second, PMOs involve clients in the process, allowing you to see every piece of the project in real-time. “The idea of letting clients see how the sausage is made may scare some vendors,” Palmer notes. “But transparency helps everyone see what still needs to happen to get to the finish line.” Viewing the timelines and receiving alerts when tasks are accomplished means you are never left guessing, as often occurs in more ad-hoc event planning structures.      

2.) Does the vendor use project management software?

Say goodbye to juggling multiple Excel sheets – project management software for live event production has arrived. But is your vendor using it?

According to Michael Basteri, director of solutions at Stagedge, his solutions team vetted a number of solutions before setting up a small pilot program with the project management software Monday.com. When the PMO was established, Todd Palmer, the director for the project management office, finally chose Monday.com for our enterprise solution. Here’s why:

"Don't forget to ask your vendor which project management software they use, what functionality it possesses, and how you can be onboarded."

  • Ease of use: With an intuitive interface, Monday.com is simple for everyone – not just the IT experts.
  • Customizable: Monday makes it easy to create templates that can then be customized and used for new projects. This cuts down on both time and error.
  • Client-friendly: As many people as necessary can be invited onto the platform, allowing your team to collaborate with the vendor’s team – no limits. Since you can track deadlines and offer feedback, there is no need to ever feel out of the loop (related to #1 above).
  • Facilitates communication: Comments and updates can be communicated to the entire group or to specific individuals by simply using the “@name” convention. And because the newest version of a file is always accessible to everyone on the team, version-control problems are vastly reduced.


Don’t forget to ask your vendor which project management software they use, what functionality it possesses, and how you can be onboarded. You can even ask to see a sample of how it works before signing on.

Monday 2

Monday 1

 

3.) IS there a dedicated project manager (for your event/project)?

We’ve discussed the importance of a project management office and software. Now it’s time to discuss the role of project managers themselves. “Beyond the project infrastructure,” says Palmer, “your vendor should be designating an individual staff member to oversee your entire project.” This role should include tracking deadlines, keeping projects moving, and maintaining constant communication with you. Make no mistake: this is a full-time job.

"A full-time project manager is not an extraneous expense. It frees up other team members, including producers, and tech and creative directors, to focus on their jobs and missions."

A full-time project manager is not an extraneous expense. It allows other team members – including producers, senior producers, technical directors, and creative directors – to focus on their jobs and missions. Freeing the team from project-management tasks also allows them to spend more time mastering their piece of the project and communicating it to others. Finally, “having a single point of contact for project and timeline questions is simply gold for you, the client,” says Palmer. “This translates to greater efficiency and communication – and, yes, cost savings.”

selecting the right vendor is a critical step to event success

Live event production consists of a multitude of moving parts. When things go right, these moving parts are invisible to your audience. When things go wrong, they show – leaving your audience disappointed or underwhelmed. With so much at stake, it’s critical to know that your event production partner can handle the scope of the project. Just as we interview prospective employees, tenants, and business partners, it is fundamental to ask vendors about the big three: a project management office to create systems, project management software to organize workflow, and a project manager to oversee the overall project.

At Stagedge, event project management is baked into our DNA. We know the importance of investing in infrastructure, staff, and software to foster an ideal working relationship and make your event go off perfectly. Let’s start the dialogue at www.stagedge.com.

Let’s bring your event to life.

With our all-inclusive, design-build process you can skip the headaches, cost increases and nonsense – we handle every detail from start to finish.