Theoretically, creating an agenda document seems to be simple enough, but in practice this process can be complicated with a number of event planning issues. With help of agenda software all possible issues can be successfully addressed. Agenda software ensures effective event planning by allowing people to plan their upcoming activities and by notifying participants of the agenda contents in advance.
Addressing event planning issues
A typical agenda represents an underlying list or program of topics to be raised and discussed during a certain event, for example in a meeting or exhibition. This formal document also describes tasks or actions to be done by assigned individuals before, during or after the event. Agendas help participants get familiar with topics to be considered and also indicate what knowledge would be expected from them.
When a planner gets started with designing an agenda template, this individual can encounter a number of issues that may hamper or even break the planning process. Lack of experience in planning, ambiguously defined topics, lately informed participants are just several examples of the factors which negatively impact the process.
All possible issues which may occur during the event planning process fall into these issue groups:
- Authority issue (Who is responsible for planning the agenda?)
- Time issue (Is the agenda schedule correct, complete and comprehensive?)
- Resource issue (Are there enough resources allocated to organize the event?)
Agenda software is a combination of tools for managing all possible issues relating to event planning. It allows users to create a detailed blueprint of an upcoming event, with possibility to share this blueprint among other event participants and to remind them about the deadlines and scheduled dates.
The authority issue arises at the beginning of the event planning process when there is a need to define a person who will be authorized for managing the process. Such an issue comes up if there is conflict between two individuals who are ready to play the role of agenda planner.
The point is that individuals with same authority levels (for example, department heads or team leaders) in one company may want to take the initiative and try to plan out a certain event (e.g. meeting) independently. Their individual initiatives result in greater total effort and time spent on preparing one and the same meeting agenda, comparing to the situation when there's just one authorized person involved in the planning process.
With help of agenda software the authority issue can be avoided. It lets set agenda items for certain users, so that only one item can be owned by no more than one user. This capability of agenda software also breaks multi-tasking and prevents employee overload.
For example, CentriQS agenda solution lets assign one owner to one task. A task owner is a person who manages and supervises the task, so this capability can be used to set individual authority per task. CentriQS features the Tasks view to allow users to create tasks and sub-tasks which can be used as agenda items.
The time issue covers all possible troubles and problems which come up from inadequate event scheduling. Examples are delays, broken deadlines, unaddressed agenda items, etc. Inadequate event scheduling can be caused by the following reasons:
- Shifted agenda objectives
- Wrong event start/finish time
- Lack of priorities
- Overloaded agenda schedule with too many items
- Poor task delegation
A person responsible for event planning needs to carefully define and describe every aspect of the agenda schedule. By means of agenda software such person can overcome the time issue. This software lets create a detailed agenda schedule, set event start and finish time, sequence agenda items by priority, etc.
Agenda Software in CentriQS
For instance, in CentriQS you can use the Scheduler view to schedule tasks and appointments that relate to your agenda. The items of your agenda schedule can be displayed on your individual calendar. You can switch your calendar between daily/weekly/monthly views to get all the items displayed on one screen. If needed, you can share the schedule and display it on other users' calendars. The sharing capability will help you efficiently delegate tasks and appointments.
The resource issue relates to right selection, allocation and use of resources required for conducting an event. Resources include money, time, labor, equipment, tools, premises, etc. required for event management. They should be planned in advance and listed in the agenda.
Common reasons and consequences of poor event resource planning are as follows:
- Inadequate estimates that lead to lack or overabundance of required resources
- Lack of resource control that causes losses and overheads
- Inefficient resource allocation that may result in impossibility of event occurrence
Agenda software lets estimate and track all resources required for a particular event. For example, CentriQS allows you to customize your tasks, so that new custom properties will be added to let you record and calculate resources in your agenda. Such custom fields as "Management Costs", "Tools", "Premises" and more will help you estimate resource needs per agenda item (task or appointment). To calculate totals for your resources you can use the Task Analytics view.
Tips to planning a good agenda
Follow these suggestions to address the event planning issues and make your agenda as good as possible:
- Keep the focus of your event as narrow as possible. Then the agenda will be much informative and clearer to the participants.
- Define the core topics to be discussed at the very beginning. Then your participants will have no chance to think about any spontaneous, irrelevant issues.
- Email a drafted copy to all people involved. In such a way you will share your agenda among the participants and ensure their maximum commitment.
- Listen to what your participants say about the topics. In such a way you can get valued feedback regarding your agenda and make necessary changes to the document.
- Log useful ideas but maintain the master agenda. Your participants can provide a number of useful ideas but you shouldn't forget to maintain the master agenda for data accuracy and lessons learned purposes.
Ask someone to check and verify your agenda. Double checking will let you refine your draft, prepare it for submission, and ensure accuracy.