On Tuesday of this week, I was due to be at the Globe College in Munich to give some guest lectures. However, we had to come up with an alternative plan last week.

We decided to host a Zoom call instead whereby I would talk the students through a project management assignment and answer their questions.

While I might have been working from home, due to the #Covid19 travel restrictions, many of them were doing so also. Together, we joined in from Poland, Iraq, Russia, Germany.... and Cork! (I'm currently spending some time at home with Mam and Dad while the whole world is figuring out how to manage this new normal.)

To give you a couple of points to consider when it comes to project management, here are my top five tips:

 

 

  1. Consider the five "W"s
  • Who is our audience and what subgroups can we recognise?
  • What are we going to do and how will it be different from the competition?
  • Where will the outputs of the projects take place?
  • When is the output needed by?
  • Why are we doing this?

 

The context of this student assignment was to organise a conference. Therefore, I put forward the following answers to each of the following:

  • Who?
    The audience for a conference to include:
    • Sponsors
    • Exhibitors
    • Attendees
    • Social media audience (who are and aren't in the room)

For example, I recorded a LinkedIn and YouTube video summary of the insights shared after the conference on a train between London and Belgium!).

  • What?
    Every conference needs to be different but the key things that people look for in a business conference is how to find people who want to buy their services, are seeking suitable employment opportunities, looking to invest in great businesses etc. If you can find a way to cultivate those connections faster, that is a great unique selling point 

I gave the example of how Enterprise Europe Network does a superb job of this and here is a quick video about the numerous ways they've helped our business.

  • Where?

The conference needs to take place in a strategic location. Perhaps it would be in a convenient location so that people can get there easily and has the capability to handle a large crowd (e.g. the superb location for this year's Women's Leadership Conference in Belfast). Alternatively, maybe it needs to connect in with the theme (e.g. I was MC for a sports tech conference last year in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin).

  • When?

One needs to be considerate of when the best time for the attendees might be. A week-end may not suit people because of family commitments and wishes. A Friday could work well as it's leading into the weekend.

  • Why?

This is key. Why would an organisation want to hold a conference? Why do people want to attend? Why is the organisation in existence at all? It's important to consider these points and truly explore why? For example, in the case of the Irish International Business Network, their "Why" is to "connect Irish entrepreneurs globally". In 2014, their conference focused on "Opportunity". A conference needs a "Why".

 

We discussed all of the above in the context of using a project management tool like Trello to keep everything together.

 

Remember that you can use this "5 W" framework for any project! Perhaps you're organising a mini-company in Transition Year, working on a project for the Young Scientist Competition or forming a new society in University. It's super useful for all ages of project managers!