Each year, Asana connects customers around the world by hosting more than 170 global community events ranging from intimate customer gatherings to Asana Together World Tour workshops and panels. As Asana’s Global Community Events Manager, I’m responsible for planning and managing all of them, and for making sure our program scales as we do.
Asana makes it easy to track every event detail, collaborate with internal and external event partners, and share progress updates whether I’m at my desk or on the road. That’s not lip service. Last year we used Asana to scale our events program by 700% with 437% annual growth in global locations. Want to know how we did it? Check out my top five tips for achieving triple digit growth for your own events program below.
1. Create templates for everything
There’s a reason this tip is at the top of my list. If your team is starting every event planning project from scratch, you’re probably reinventing the wheel. High growth requires efficiency, and in my experience there’s no quicker way to maximize efficiency than by creating event templates for all of your recurring event types (e.g. workshops, customer panels, sponsored events). These templates will not only cut down on your planning time, they’ll also ensure you hit critical steps like reaching out to vendors or submitting creative requests, on time, every time.
2. If it’s important, track it with custom fields
Your work requires meticulous attention to detail and there’s no better place to capture these details than in Asana, specifically custom fields. Custom fields are great because they allow you to easily search for and surface important event details (e.g. speakers, staffing, travel, accommodations) throughout the planning process. Here are some examples of custom fields our team uses often:
- Team: If your team is highly cross-functional, this field makes it clear when other business groups like marketing or creative are responsible for a task.
- Progress: This field allows you to quickly check in on a task’s progress with options like “not started” and “in review,” so you don’t have to spend time clicking into the details.
- Actionable vs. Reference: There may be times when you want to add event information like attendee demographics and vendor contracts as project tasks. This field allows you to indicate that a task is just for reference, and no action is needed.
3. Streamline collaboration with internal and external partners
It doesn’t matter how experienced you are, no single event manager can plan and execute an entire event on their own. To simplify collaboration with your various event partners, I recommend tracking all event-related tasks in a central project that includes all of your internal and external teams. This will reduce the risk of miscommunication, duplicate work, and missed deadlines.
If your partners have a different team-specific workflow, they can also add your tasks into their own projects. This allows you to track a deliverable’s progress within your event project while also empowering collaborators to manage work in the context of their own projects. It also ensures they have the most up-to-date task information and that any changes they make to progress or status will be reflected in your master project.
4. Share regular status updates with your team
While you’re managing all the moving pieces of your event, you’re bound to get questions about how things are going. Instead of providing individual updates to each of your team members, I recommend keeping everyone in the loop by publishing progress updates in your project’s Progress tab. This will ensure everyone knows how you’re tracking against budget and timeline and give you an opportunity to proactively flag at-risk or blocked work before it has an impact on your deadlines. And because your stakeholders are already project members, sharing an update will automatically notify all of them at once.
5. Monitor your entire program at a glance
When you’re managing multiple, simultaneous events, you need a way to stay on top of every event’s progress and easily check in on teammate bandwidth. I recommend creating a central Portfolio for this. With portfolios, you’ll get real-time views into event progress, recent status updates, and any overdue tasks. From there, you can drill down into specific project details and proactively address anything at risk. You can also use Workload to see which teammates are overloaded and which can lend a hand.
These are just a few of the ways our team uses Asana to plan and manage events all over the world. You can learn more about how Asana empowers Marketing and Creative teams to produce amazing work here. I’d also love to hear your top event planning tips in the comments below or on our Community Forum.