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The Ultimate Guide to Event Planning Progress Updates with Impact

The art of crafting a useful progress report is a skill every event coordinator must master. Whether you are reporting in to a client, boss, committee or internal team, you should set up a system for providing frequent updates on the tracking of a project that both demonstrates progress and drives future advancements.

Regular updates are a proactive way of catching up all team members, holding people accountable to action items and deadlines, and demonstrating your competence in managing the project. If you find yourself in a situation where a client, supervisor or colleague is often requesting information from you, it’s time to reevaluate your system for project updates.

When determining your plan for providing progress reports, here are a few considerations for when to send this information.

  • Schedule – Defining a specific day (and maybe even time) that these updates are sent, sets expectations for when the receiver can expect this information. It sets your planning progress to a rhythm that all parties can anticipate and compliment.

  • Frequency – While we recommend a weekly update for most events, you’ll have some projects that require more or less frequent reporting. Match your reporting frequency to the rate of planning, the expectations of the client and/or the needs of the overall team.

  • Consistency – You will find that your recipients become dependent on your project updates and its important you stay committed to the timing and routine. By building the trust that updates will be coming over as expected, you’ll reduce incoming requests for information. It can be easy to push an update off until you have more to add, but if you hold yourself accountable to the schedule, you’ll find that you’ll actually end up making progress early on projects, keep them moving them along and avoid last minute scrambles.

  • Timeliness – Your updates should be sent at a strategic time in your planning progress to have the greatest positive impact. There are hundreds of factors that might play into the best time to send your reports. If you have a weekly client check-in call, it might be useful to send your progress update a few hours in advance of the call to act as an agenda for the call. However, for another client where you also have weekly check-in calls, sending the update mid-way between your calls could be useful in keeping your client informed and on track. Adapt your send strategy based on the project and the players involved.

When considering content to include in your updates, ensure that your client update is a relevant snapshot of where the project stands and where it needs to go. Avoid clogging up your updates with unnecessary hyperdetailed data, old information or filler. You want your update to be complete and concise. Not repetitive or needless.

Think of these questions when crafting a client update:

  • What has been accomplished this week?

  • What is outstanding / past due on this project and what is the status?

  • What are upcoming tasks that I (or the team) am working on?

  • What information from the update recipient do I need to perform these upcoming tasks?

  • What are upcoming tasks the update recipient should be working on?

  • Have I addressed all of the planning teams (external & internal) outstanding questions?

  • What number, data points or stats can I include that show how the event is tracking? What are the insights or highlights that I should include from this information while attaching or linking to detailed reports?

  • What questions might the update recipient have after looking at this update that I can proactively answer now?

While it might seem like a lot of work to start sending routine updates, once you get started, you’ll find you already have tools in progress to reference to answer the questions above and develop your update. You aren’t starting from scratch on each update. You’ll find that these build and evolve alongside your other planning documents and tools.

Here are a few places to look for inspiration for your update:

  • Previous updates – can use the last one as the foundation! Just make sure you aren’t including unnecessary repetition or lacking the demonstration of progress.

  • Recent meeting notes – reference internal and external notes for action items and update on the status.

  • Planning Timelines – check your timelines for what has been marked Done and what is coming up. Don’t bypass including past due items. Direct them head on with what is being done to get that item back on track.

  • Budget – many updates might benefit by including a high-level financial update but also referencing the budget yourself might provide insight into some planning items that should be addressed in the update.

  • Recap Notes from previous years or similar projects – reference past notes and work to develop a plan to improve upon the feedback.

  • Day of Documents (from past years, similar events or this project) – what can you get started on now for your Day of Prep. What questions need to be answered? What systems can you improve upon? Identify the small details for Event Day and start mapping out a plan now.

Some people approach project updates as a chore, as unnecessary or repetitive to actions already being done. But, if you prioritize your update strategy, this will be your greatest tool in building confidence in your project management and driving deadlines to early and on-time completion.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenna Thompson

Jenna is a mountain based Yogi with a love for veggie focused foods. When she's not in Warrior Pose you can find her spending time with her Avalanche Rescue Dog Luna with a Matcha Latte in hand!


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