Learning patterns/Event planning process

Event planning process
problemIt is hard to remember all the variables involved when planning an event and even harder to assess how they will impact on one another. Leaving things out of the planning jeopardises success and creates more stress too.
solutionEvents are like other projects. They all have a common process. Following the process for thinking it through will help account for all the variables; reveal the likely flow on effects; and make it easier to consider them.
created on5 September, 2014

What problem does this solve?


Events are common and essential activities in the community. Organising and planning them can be intimidating, difficult, or time-consuming. Yet it is necessary to plan them to ensure success and also so that good will and effort are not wasted.

What is the solution?


Following a template provides a method of thinking through all the variables, regardless of the size of the event.

General considerations


In a very small event, the process can be used as a mental checklist; in a bigger event, the process can be used to produce written documents that can be shared and referred to. The process, which is common to all projects and events, generates specific plans to suit specific events. That is, specific plans are the outcome of working through the process.

When to use


Work through the process when:

  • the event being planned involves more than a few other people;
  • when you can see there would be negative consequences if the project fails;
  • when planning it is beyond your experience.

The template can be used by:

  • an individual;
  • a small team;
  • a committee.

Five-phase cycle


The event planning and management cycle in the linked template is common to all events and projects. The plans it produces and events that result are unique.

Between Phase 1 and 2 is an opportunity for stopping and considering whether or not to proceed with the event. Between Phase 2 and 3 is an opportunity for considering what aspects need re-considering or re-planning before the event begins. The cycle is iterative and the phases can be revisited.

  • Phase 1: Initiating the project (choosing and deciding)
    [STOP here and think whether it is worthwhile proceeding.]
  • Phase 2: Planning
    [STOP here and think whether anything needs re-planning.]
  • Phase 3: Running the Event (implementing the plans)
  • Phase 4: Finalising and Reporting
  • Phase 5: Lessons Learned.

The Template



  • Founding WMBE we now realise that inviting people is a good thing, but the best way to ensure even more involvement is to break down the organisation process and ask many people to handle small tasks. This makes people own the event and organisation and feel like they're part of it and not just guests. We successfully managed to get the assistance of a lot of European chapters but in hindsight could have involved more local community.



See also