Most of us have organised an event or mini-project without realising that we followed the stages of project management.


Be it organising a Christmas party, wedding, a big birthday event, or something even bigger like a home-build or renovation, we have been project managing without realising it.

Our mini-project organically would have taken on the following stages:


·      Project Initiation

·      Project Planning

·      Project Execution

·      Project Performance/Monitoring

·      Project Closure



Let’s take the Christmas party as an example and see how this event, or mini-project, as I like to call them, fit into these stages.



Project initiation



Like the beginning of any project, it starts with the decision to organise the Christmas party. A great decision in most cases, sometimes made slightly more complex as we now have to account for COVID safety and protocol.


Project Planning



My favourite part of organising a Christmas party is the project planning stage. This stage is where all the important decisions are made about budget, locations, what’s included, what’s not, what will take place at the event, the theme or vibe of the party we wish to create and who to invite.

We also need to consider risk factors such as dietary requirements and COVID safe practices. Once we know these details, we can shortlist venues that fit our scoped criteria.

We then create a schedule or timeline of when things need to occur. Many things have to happen to make these events come together and seem seamless on the day. A schedule helps us work out when flights and accommodation need to be booked and confirmed.

We have dates and times when venues need confirmation of numbers, food choices (including our dietary requirements), and beverage packages are all locked in. Final numbers and last-minute cancellations or additions.

Once we have all these decisions and answers mapped out, we can move on to the next fun stage.


Project Execution



Like any project, Christmas parties have many variables that need to be considered. Lucky for us, in our planning stage, we put together a timeline schedule to make sure we stick to plan and tick all the right boxes, so our Christmas party event runs smoothly.

During this execution phase, we may run into other challenges. Maybe a new hire was recruited after the initial planning stage, so a budget review may be required or additional accommodation arranged. Of course, it will also mean all things will need to be reconfirmed with venues.

But when you have your schedule all mapped out, this is so much easier as all your deadlines are in one place.


Project Performance/Monitoring



The most fun stage, of course, is the actual Event Day. You might be thinking about how you would monitor this type of project’s performance.

If you haven’t organised one of these events before, you may not realise how much is involved on the day. There is making sure everyone attends and don’t get lost on the way, settling accounts at all venues, including accommodation venues.

If you decided instead of a fixed beverage package on the day, you might have gone with a tab on the bar. You can monitor the progress on the day with the event venues you are at, as plans may need to be reviewed or adjusted.

There is liaising with the event coordinators at the venues to make sure everything you agreed to and planned is taking place. That you stick to your timelines that you have the allocated venue for.

Of course, there is also monitoring how the guests are enjoying the event. Did those who have dietary requirements get what they needed? Is everyone drinking responsibly? Is everyone’s behaviour acceptable?

So many things to keep an eye out for on the day. Sometimes you won’t have your schedule and budget in front of you because who takes their laptop to the Christmas party, am I right! You need to know this inside and out before the day to monitor and manage things in real-time.

Then the saddest part of any event.


Project Closure



This is the last phase of project planning. In terms of the Christmas party we have been discussing, closure means a few things. It is the end of the evening. But also, the next most important part of a project is analysing what worked and what didn’t.

So, when you’re back in the office, you review what worked and what didn’t. Some of the questions you might ask are:

  • Was that venue the correct choice?
  • What was their service like?
  • Should we use them again?
  • What was the feedback from the guests who attended?
  • Did it run smoothly? If not, what was missing?

Then we go back to our processes and schedule and update based on our learnings so that our next event will be even better and much improved from this event.

Now that we can see all the phases of managing a project mapped out in this scenario, you can see that you may have more project management knowledge than you thought.

While a Christmas Party is a simple project, it’s the beginning of a love of project management you may not have realised you had in the first place.

Here at Skeiny, our projects aren’t this simple, but the principles are always the same, just significantly more detailed. So, if you have a love of project management , reach out. We are always on the look out for those who are passionate about projects, just like us!

Until next time….


Kerrie McGilvray – Operations Manager at Skeiny