Establishing Policies and Procedures of an Event1st April 2021
Organization’s environment to determine whether important assets are in the state they should be, and knowing when that state changes, is a very important activity that many organizations spend significant portions of their budget doing.
Event management, while useful, can be dangerous if not done appropriately. In the “ITIL Service Operation” book several policies are given to guide an event management process. In this post I will discuss the importance of those policies.
Event Notifications Should be Sent Only to Those Responsible for Action
Events that are sent to people who are unable to, or do not need to take action are somewhat worthless. Event management is a process that helps a service provider understand changes in state throughout their IT environment. The only people who need to be aware of those changes in state are those who are responsible for some kind of action related to that change in state.
Event Management and Support Should be Centralized as Much as Possible
In my experience I have seen that smaller organizations, and organizations up to a certain size, are able to effectively conduct event management in a decentralized way. However, as the organization grows, so does the need for event management. This growth typically drives a growth in monitoring tools, with different groups monitoring things different ways. Ultimately what happens is through monitoring the organization accidentally does a denial of service attack against itself. Additionally, centralized event management means that the organization is more clearly able to define accountability and responsibility for the handling of specific event. Furthermore, decentralized event management, as mentioned earlier, leads to a proliferation of tools, which tends to mean the organization is investing in multiple tools that do the same things, with none of them being fully utilized.
Events Should Utilize a Common Set of Messaging and Logging Standards
An organization doesn’t have to become very large before the body of events becomes overwhelming. When those events all have different formats and structures and say different things (or the same things in different ways), it can be very difficult to effectively filter, correlate and take action on the body of events an organization faces.
Event Handling Should be Automated When Possible
Effective automation tends to speed up the handling of events, whereas if an event management process relies exclusively on humans to respond to events, the wealth of events will quickly overwhelm human processing power, resulting in events being missed or their handling being delayed.
Events Should have Standard Classification Schemes and Escalation Procedures
In other words, a service provider should know what to do with the events that it generates. Not only is it pointless to send an event to someone who is unable to take action on it, it is equally foolish to send an event to an operational team without effective instructions for how to handle that event. This results in events being ignored, which ultimately results in important events being missed.
All Recognized Events Should be Captured and Logged
If something is important enough to consider an event, then the organization must take steps to ensure that that event is predictably and consistently captured and logged. If events are not predictably captured and logged, then it is very difficult to rely on those events as triggers for automated activities within the organization’s IT environment.
Organize a Team
No matter the size, a special event takes a concerted team effort to handle all of the details. Where possible, the Trustee(s) involved with the school and/or activity should be invited to participate on the planning committee. Depending on the type and scope of your event, you may consider identifying an Event Manager or Event Chair as well as individual Chairpersons for subcommittees, such as:
- Venue, logistics & catering management (selection, contracts, permits, insurance, etc.)
- Guest management (invitations, RSVPs, greeters, registration, seating arrangements, etc.)
- Speakers/presenters (selecting, confirming, logistics, management, etc.)
- Publicity/promotion (Web presence, events calendars, printed programs, media relations,
- signage, social media, etc.)
- Sponsor/partner management
- Transportation (if providing transport for guests, students, etc.)
- Volunteer management
Create a Master Plan
Work as a committee to create a master plan and event outline, incorporating all of the potential areas identified above. This plan will be used to manage the work being done and an outline of just the key details can be used to inform stakeholders as needed.
Create a run-of-show document if needed, outlining the expected timing and any requirements for each session or activity, including required setup, starting and ending times, staging directions, presenter/lead, audiovisual and production needs, etc.
Establish a Budget
Identify the available budget for your event, including internal and external sources for each of the potential expenses as part of the master plan. Create a balance sheet listing expenses for all functional areas of your meeting or event, and determine which expenses will be assumed by the host, potential sponsors, and/or by the attendees (fee).
If you are hosting a revenue-generating (fundraising) event, you will want to identify your break-even point (the point at which the revenue generated at the event is sufficient to cover the expenses of hosting the event).
Budget items to consider:
- Staff time
- Marketing expenses (design fees, printing, postage, etc.)
- Guest accommodations (if applicable)
- Food and beverage
- Entertainment and recreation
- Audiovisual equipment and production costs
- Security (CCSD School Police, etc.)
- Special needs (interpreters, etc.)
- Taxes and gratuities, service charges, etc.
- Contingency fund for unanticipated, last minute expenses.
When planning an event it is important to be aware of how to create an event that is open and accessible to everyone. This can include finding a space that is safe and considerate of a wide range of abilities and considering visual, hearing, and physical accessibility to meeting areas and facilities.
No facility will look the same in-person as it does on paper, nor will you be able to get a sense of service without going to the site. If time allows, plan to visit the site and take pictures to help you block out the location of key items (catering, check-in table, seating arrangements, podium location, parking, etc.).
Identify and Establish Partnerships & Sponsors
Consider whether there are organizations that you could partner with or call on for sponsorships to defray the costs and increase potential participation. When you involve other people or groups in your event, they have a stake in helping spread the word and making the event a success.
You may want to consider:
- Seeking corporate sponsors to fund a portion of the event. This can range from large to small local businesses that might be able to provide goods or services, such as catering, flowers for the tables, raffle prizes, etc.
- Partnering with community organizations that might be able to offer a venue and/or assistance with organizing or staffing an event.
- Soliciting donations/sponsorships from key individuals involved with the school, such as the namesake, PTA/PTO committee, etc.
Create a Communications Plan
If you have ample lead time, effective planning, creativity, and willing volunteers or staff, you can promote your event with little or no cost.
Even with the most amazing speaker or entertainment line-up, you will need to promote your event to get people in the door. Event promotion may include:
- Web site story and/or banner (School and/or CCSD as appropriate)
- Email announcement(s)
- Direct mail
- Social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Flickr, etc.)
- Registering on a variety of online calendars, such as City, Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, etc.