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Guideline to managing projects in the current environment

9 July 2020
Управление событийными проектами в современных условиях: руководство к действию

Alexander Stuglev, CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation gave an online lecture for the event industry professionals. The lecture entitled ‘Fundamentals of Project Management for Congress Events’ was given as part of the National Congress Bureau (NCB) Summer Academy and started its second education module.   

 CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation shared some of his key practical skills accumulated over the years of organizing congresses and exhibitions on a global scale.

250 attendees had an opportunity to learn the unique essence of project management and how it helps adapt to practically any changes. Basic features of any given project, such as unique results, limited timing, multiple risks, and workgroups’ mobility allow project management to become an instrument that drives change.

“A paramount component for any event is to define the goal of the entire project. Many years ago, we have decided for ourselves that our primary goal is a happy participant. This fairly general term defines a participant who has completed a project with us, who has achieved certain satisfactory results, and who will come back next year, possibly as a sponsor. A happy participant attests for an event’s quality and drives the reputation of the event’s organizers,” noted Mr. Stuglev.  

 The speaker elaborated on a multifaceted project ecosystem, where a team is the main link. Responsible and motivated workers keep a project on track, maintain the required quality level, and fulfil all obligations to the customer and to the participants. Thus, the head of a project has to put together a team and establish communication both between team members within, as well as with participants and customers on the outside. Modern technology makes all communication fast and easy, thus any chosen digital environment will only improve the event. Among other things, a well-functioning communication system facilitates reacting to mistakes made during the planning stages in a timely and efficient manner.

The lecture covered a topic that is indispensable for any efficient project management: which criteria are adequate for measuring the successfulness of a project, a programme (a group of projects and subprogrammes), or a portfolio (a set of programmes, projects and operations)? Key performance indices for an event project include timely delivery (the most basic principle), adherence to the initial budget, and customer satisfaction in terms of content, quality, and business accomplishments. Additionally, it has been noted that a successful programme requires profit, whereas a successful portfolio requires the fulfilment of strategic goals.     

“Evidently, our annual programme is successful when the year is profitable. It comes from the project profitability and we do not want to lose money on any project, yet it is important to note that profit itself is never a driving force for us. It is important to look at the project in terms of quality. Our main task is to deliver an event that is up to its promised quality level for the happy participants. Name is more valuable than money. A participant does not care at all how much money have you spent on preparing and holding the event. They care about results and this is our responsibility,” said Mr. Stuglev.

During the question and answer part of the lecture, Alexander Stuglev spoke about the quality control feature that has been a mainstay on all Roscongress events for years. The tool is making the entire participant journey yourself, all the way from the entrance and registration and seeing everything the participant will see, how convenient and how fast all of it is. It allows to identify the improvement points so that the participants feel comfortable throughout their entire time at the venue.   

Mr. Stuglev spoke about the importance of the project office and the need for a business plan behind any and every event. Additionally, all stages of preparing a project have been spoken of, including defining goals for a project, laying out a project, fulfilling a project, and summary and evaluation a project (according to Maarten Vanneste’s IDEA). A great deal of attention was paid to planning: “The more time you spend on planning and on understanding the required tasks, the more you formalize the processes – the smoother the actual event is going to be.” It has been noted that a project is evaluated differently at various stages, so it is important to account for both short-term and long-term results of every event.   

Wrapping up the lecture, the speaker noted that the event industry is prone to change, event management tools are transforming, and new communication formats appear. Projects today usually combine both online and physical format. It is tempting to say that such events are easier to run and commercialize, yet the organizers’ task only gets more complicated: now they need to compete with popular online platforms, as well as to attract – and most difficulty to hold – the attention of a large audience in a single moment. All of the above allows to develop and perfect the event industry tools, while looking for new answers to the challenges of today.

NCB Summer Academy was successfully launched on 29 June with support from the Roscongress Foundation. Leading industry professionals, experts, heads of largest event-industry companies in Russia share their experience with the audience. The latter includes both novice and experienced industry workers seeking new knowledge and competences to implement in their practice.

10 July at 11:00 Deputy CEO and Programme Director of the Roscongress Foundation Armen Khachatryan will continue the NCB Summer Academy study programme with a lecture entitled ‘Designing an Event Programme and Key Aspects of Working with the Speakers.’ The academy’s audience will have a chance to learn about the key component of each event and about main principles of putting together a programme and list of speakers that ensure the success of a future event.  

The recording is available at the Roscongress Foundation's YouTube channel.

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