Lisa Apolinski is a professional speaker, blogger, and digital strategist. With her company, 3DogWrite.com, she works with event managers to get their message to attendees, particularly through digital channels, on and off the show floor.
Dropping the Old Project Timeline
As you are going into the final stages of your trade show preparation, are you thinking about your presentation of timelines and major milestones? I had the opportunity to talk to Tim Stumbles of Office Timeline, and this new technology can help you with that internal reporting.
Stumbles developed this product to assist anyone looking to have a visual chart of a project and to be able to update that chart with minimal obstacles (thus removing some of the barriers to keeping project timelines updated). I was interested in learning more about this product, since I am in the event manager camp of falling short with my project timelines.
I think we can all agree that having a timeline for your event is a good habit to get into. We are very good as event managers to get into the nitty gritty detail, but what about the high level overview? I, too, struggle with pulling back to a higher level of presenting, but there are several reasons you want to get into that habit.
The need to think big picture: You want to show to executives the big picture of key milestones and the trade show project in its entirety. For higher executives, they need to see summaries of data, not detail on each phase of your trade show development. Use a project timeline to give that broad based overview of a very complex process.
Provide a checklist for vendors: Using a project timeline can also help you to keep your vendors on track (and keep the different vendor paths moving forward). Each vendor can be tracked separately in your timeline so you can stay on top of major milestones and let your vendor know you are working with them to keep things moving. As you update the excel spreadsheet, you can reload the timeline for each vendor.
Get a temperature read: A project timeline is also a vital tool for trade show managers as it gives a proper temperature read of what is on track, and what is not, with simple visual cues. Make sure you keep updating your timeline so you can monitor the trade show development progress accurately, and you can see, at a glance, how things are progressing with your trade show booth.
Updating your project timeline is fairly simple with a technology like Office Timeline. On a side note, the basic version of Office Timeline is free, which means no risk (or excuse) to test it.