Wrike is a project planning software that combines reminders, collaboration, and task planning. Compared to traditional methods for managing events, Wrike can prove to be a much better solution. In this post, I will focus on how you can use Wrike to (1) manage all the cogs that keep an event running smoothly and (2) enable communication between your vendors and team members.
Where Traditional Event Planning Tools Fail
Event planners use a lot of tools to manage their projects. There are very specific technologies for budgeting, billing, calendars, guest lists, and RSVPs.
And then there is the go-to tool for all tasks: spreadsheets. While spreadsheets can be helpful in keeping tasks organized, the entire event team cannot effectively collaborate through spreadsheets. Even if they are shared online. It's difficult to assign work to people from spreadsheets, and there are no reminders sent before a task is due.
So what's left? Email. As you can imagine, managing events (and people) results in hundreds of daily email updates. Over time, this email deluge makes it impossible for your team to stay on the same page. You may also run into the problem of CC-ing the wrong person, or forgetting to hit reply-all. Worse yet, important information starts falling into the black hole of forgotten emails.
There is a more efficient way to go about it: use a task management software that allows you to assign tasks to team members as well as create a single hub to place everything related to the event. Enter Wrike.
Wrike for Event Planners
Use Folders for Events
Event planning teams will almost always have multiple projects running at the same time. I suggest creating one folder for each event, as well as high-level folders to designate the status of each event. For example: "Past Events," "Ongoing Events," or "Future Events."
Next, break each project down into subfolders for every major initiative, or every team's area of responsibility. Alongside organizing work by time frame, this system keeps all important information together, while also allowing each team to set their own deadlines and work in parallel with the rest of the event crew.
Clarify and Break Down Tasks
Let's dive deeper into a specific folder. For example, the registration folder contains everything related to attendee registration. The first two tasks ("Brainstorm" and "Sign contract") are very specific because of how the task title is worded. Start the title of your tasks with a verb to show exactly what action you want accomplished.
The third task, "Get creative asset," isn't as detailed, and could be further broken up into more specific subtasks like, "Create event registration website," or "Create conference logo."
How granular should the task breakdown be? If you are only in charge of the "Registration" piece of the event, you may only be concerned with the high-level deliverables: the conference logo or registration website. You don't need (or want) to see every detail or tiny update for these tasks, so let the creative team add subtasks or input more specific details.
This is where task-tagging becomes very useful. By tagging tasks with the "Creative" tag, you can quickly compile all tasks that need a deliverable from the creative team. The team then knows a piece of the task is on their plate, and they can create the appropriate subtasks. Each team can follow their own rules for the preferred level of granularity when it comes to breaking tasks into individual action items.
Because so many event planning tasks tend to be cross-functional, it's a good idea to take advantage of the task-tagging feature.
Once you've created tasks within each subfolder, start scheduling them. I recommend doing so in the timeline view (our Gantt charts), because helps you clearly visualize how these tasks are arranged chronologically.
First, give every task an arbitrary date so that they appear on the timeline. In this case, mass-select all tasks in the "Registration" subfolder and schedule them all for the day your project will begin.
Then, you can drag-and-drop tasks to start re-scheduling them right here in the timeline view. You can also set up dependencies and convert important high-level tasks into milestones (e.g. "Close registration.")
The benefit of having dependencies is especially apparent with cross-functional tasks. By clicking the "Dependency" tab within a task, you can clearly see the dependent tasks, click them for more details, and proceed to @mention the responsible party if you require progress updates for a task your work depends on.
Once the event is over, you can simply drag and drop the entire project folder into the top level folder "Past events." If it's a recurring event, you can make your future easier by creating a project template — duplicate the folder and all its contents for easy future manipulation.
This lesson is only one way to organize and plan your events using Wrike. There are many alternative solutions to set up your workspace, depending on your preferred workflow and your experience. If you have suggestions on how to best manage event planning using Wrike, please share them in the comments!