4 Truths About Successful Events - Part 2/3: Event Portfolio
Events and projects have a lot in common: both have, or at least should have, a very clear goal, "DoD", i.e. Definition of Done, and a limited time duration. Organising an event often requires excellent project management skills.
Although projects and events have a lot of similarities, they are still managed very differently in organisations. Events, unfortunately, often fall into the "softer" management category. They do not require as clear goals as projects, and very few organisations have a so-called "Project Office", where projects are monitored and developed purposefully. In the Project Office model, the project management is professional and the project portfolio is actively reviewed at the level of the management team.
Even though a single event could be thought of as a project and the body of several events as an event portfolio, events are made and implemented too often without a strategy. Only a few people, if any, in a typical organisation can answer the question "How many events are we working on currently or organised in the last 12 months?" even with a rough estimate.
At Lyyti, we believe, and we already know from our own experience, that one important reason for successful events is the active and professional management of the event set. We call the set of events an event portfolio and the production and development of events we refer to as management of an event portfolio.
Lyyti’s event portfolio
We have identified the two most important target groups, or categories, that we want to influence with events: customers and employees. Both are further divided into potential and existing customers and employees.
For each event in the category, we define how it should impact our strategy so we’ll have a clear view of what to aim for. For example, with events in the "New customers" category, we are looking for growth and more events on our platform. This goal directs us to target potential customers who organise a large number of events to register for the events we organise.
Success metrics have been defined for each category. These are monitored as a whole. The goals must be achieved at the level of each individual metric, in order for the event as a whole to be considered a success. For example, the average EVS goal can be at a good level, but if there are not enough events that have not been planned or implemented or the number of participants has fallen short of the goal, the whole is seen to have fallen short of the goals.
Truth of a successful event no. 3*: An event portfolio must be created and managed actively
Lyyti's event portfolio is managed on an annual and on quarterly basis. The individual events of each event category are included in the annual clock, which is updated according to the needs of the business.
Lyyti's flagship events are first marked in the plan and other events are added around them. Since the organisation's resources are limited, we emphasise events in different categories according to the overall business situation. If the need for recruitment is low in the next three to six months, but new customers have not been obtained according to the target, the activity levels in the new employees category will be reduced and investments will be increased in the new customers category.
In Lyyti, the event portfolio is managed by the "Event Success Steering Group", which consists of employees from different functions. The Group consists of sales, marketing, customer service and strategy teams’ members. The most important tasks of the Event Success Steering Group are to make the event activities visible and to coordinate that the different event categories are balanced - or at least in proportion to the business goals and overall strategy.
How to create an event portfolio for your organisation
Getting started is always the hardest, so it's good to simplify the steps for creating an event portfolio.
Decide who will manage the event portfolio and whose participation will affect the success of the events
Identify the areas of business that events can support
Write down the target groups and goals of the events
Mark your events in the calendar
Establish an Event Steering Group or similar that looks at events from the perspective of all functions
Actively manage the event portfolio and make adjustments according to business needs
The benefits of the event portfolio
The event portfolio makes the entire organisation's event activity visible. When events are planned in advance, they are easier to implement as part of a successful business.
The event portfolio also makes event activities measurable - and therefore manageable. Openly written goals and easy-to-follow metrics help the planning, implementation, evaluation and development of events. The goal of each individual event is to promote the organisation's strategy through the event strategy. That is the topic of the next blog and the concluding post of this blog series.