Our last post, Key Vendor Service-Level Expectations, explored how the events industry is managing through a significant loss of experienced talent. We shared some strategies to help close the gap and navigate this new normal.
In the fast-paced world of event planning, strong project management from your key vendors is essential for success. Before joining VCC, I spent more than 20 years leading some of the best technical and event project managers in the large/complex housing and registration space. Let’s explore five essential qualities that define exceptional event project managers so you can assess them and raise the bar if necessary.
Assessing Your Event Partners’ Project Management Skills
1. They Summarize and Repeat What They Heard
A great project manager understands the importance of effective communication. They take the time to listen to your needs and ask great questions to gain a better understanding. By re-stating your expectations, they ensure that everyone is on the same page. When you finish a call with them, you should expect a written recap as reinforcement and alignment.
2. They Present Options When Faced with a Challenge:
Projects rarely go exactly as planned, and challenges are bound to arise. A skilled project manager doesn’t wait for instructions but takes the initiative to assess the issue, explore potential options, and provide the pros and cons of each recommendation. Even when faced with circumstances beyond their control, they demonstrate their ability to think critically and offer solutions. I often challenged our project managers to come up with at least 3 options for any challenge.
3. They Convert Thoughts into Action:
Ambiguity can be the enemy of progress. Strong project managers take the initiative to turn ideas and discussions into action plans. They don’t just let concepts float in the air; they drive them forward by taking responsibility or prompting the team to act.
4. They Provide Updates without Being Asked:
Regular updates are crucial for keeping everyone informed and on track. The best project managers provide consistent updates without being prompted. The updates should give you a clear sense of the project’s progress, milestones achieved, and any potential risks. There should be no surprises, and you shouldn’t have to chase down answers! After each check-in call, they recap the discussion and next steps.
5. They Are Organized and Consultative:
Strong project managers understand the importance of organization and documentation. They keep detailed records of your expectations, project scope, and requirements. This level of organization helps them manage conflicts, track progress, and provide valuable lessons learned for future projects. They leverage past experiences and results to help you make the final decision. When you have a great project manager, you find yourself comfortable with their recommendations and trust that the decisions are right.
Helpful tip – Sharing these expectations upfront with your assigned project manager will improve your relationship and ultimately the results. Now is the time to raise the bar!
Which of these qualities do you consider most important? How would you score your event partners in these areas?