Last Updated on October 7, 2021
Today, I’d like to revisit the topic. Well, sort of – we’re going to discuss one particular aspect: change tracking and incident tracking.
Change tracking refers to keeping documentation whenever a change in circumstances occurs related to your event. These could include the loss of a keynote speaker, a request for additional seating, a new sponsor, or a change in food service. Incident tracking, meanwhile, is a process implemented to document any problems that might occur while you’re running an event.
Although the two may seem to be very different birds, they’ve actually got more in common than you might think. That’s the reason I’m grouping the two together: working out proper incident reporting is very similar to setting up a proper change tracking process.
Let’s get started. One of the most important aspects of a proper crisis management strategy is working out how you’re going to keep abreast of the goings-on in your event. How will you work out what requires your attention? How will you be able to pick up on issues before they become unmanageable?
The first step involved in setting up a change-tracking process is to determine how you’re going to be receiving this information, which involves setting up lines of communication between volunteers, managers, and security staff.
Each individual involved with your event should know who they need to speak to if something goes wrong or needs to be changed.
Not surprisingly, communication is one of the most important elements to that end. That brings us to our second step: delegation. As an event planner, you’re not going to be capable of micromanaging every single facet of a conference, no matter how much you’d like to. Even if you’re made aware of problems as they happen, you probably won’t be able to address all of them. You are, after all, only one person. As such, whatever change tracking process you implement needs to include guidelines related to responsibility, and you should promote team leads who’ll manage the event and deal with changes as they come up.
While you should be consulted whenever a change will require a significant overhaul to your event’s budget or scope, you should also trust the individuals you’ve delegated to make changes of their own accord and keep you posted on what they do.
Now, there’s also a good chance that if you’re bringing in outside help – such as security firms or caterers – they’ll have their own managers and leaders. Your guidelines should thus include strictures as to how these associates will interact with your own volunteers and management staff, and with you. Whether or not you promote individuals from your own team to work directly with these third parties is your choice, but it’s not a bad idea to do so.
Once you’ve gotten the logistics of who’s responsible for what nailed down, the next step will be to determine how much information is necessary to adequately keep track of your event. Generally, when either an incident or change in plans has occurred, you’ll want to know who was involved, when it happened, how it happened, and why it happened. The same is true whenever a change is made to your event plans: you’ll need to be made aware of the individual requesting the change, the individual who made the change, and how the change will impact the event as a whole.
Finally, the last step in a formal change tracking or incident reporting process involves puzzling out how it’ll impact your overall event – and communicating that to shareholders, stakeholders, and clients. Again, it’s up to you how much information you share; clients certainly don’t need to be made aware of every little change to layout or staffing, but you definitely need to keep them posted on large-scale modifications to budget, speakers, or timeline.
As I hope I’ve shown here, incident tracking and change tracking have more in common than one might at first expect. In both cases, it’s absolutely vital that you keep proper documentation and know when to delegate tasks. And in both cases, failure to properly organize could very easily lead to a failed event, or worse.
Ultimately, what you should take away from this article is simple: be efficient, be organized, and keep track of every single change in circumstance you can.
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