Managing a Corporate Event regardless of the size can seem overwhelming. Having a structured Project Management system can make all of the difference. The key to effective project management is to know the client’s vision for the event. What is their expected return on investment (ROI)? How long will it take to meet their objective? A corporate client that I worked with for a few years had a challenge that we were able to correct due to having a strong project management system.

Every year before we begin the planning process, we conduct a debrief meeting. In the meeting, we review the previous year’s event that includes: budget, completed questionnaires from participants, venue, layout, logistics, timeline, positives and corrective action items. One corrective action from the previous year required immediate attention: lunch. In previous years, volunteers managed the lunch process. This year, due to changes, lunch needed an overhaul. There were three things that needed correction.

The first corrective action was the lunch selection. Every year, we try to offer healthy options while remaining within budget. During our debrief meeting, I made the suggestion to have a custom side salad bar with limited items. We also had boxed sandwiches and wraps to cover all dietary restrictions.

The second corrective action was the logistics of how attendees would retrieve lunch. I created an overflow line outside of the lunch serving area.. This served two purposes. The first purpose was to establish a clear entry and exit for the participants to receive their lunch. The second purpose was to establish an overflow system in case there was a long line. I also redesigned the layout of the food area. The redesigned food layout allowed the participants to retrieve their lunch quickly.

The third corrective action was to address the timing. We only have 30 minutes to ensure all participants receive their lunch. The previous year, the client relied on volunteers to facilitate the lunch process. Unfortunately, many participants were standing in line for over ten minutes. This year, due to the volunteer count being down the client asked me to oversee the logistics. With the new logistic plan, the wait was under two minutes for guests to retrieve their lunch. We never had to use the overflow system.

The new lunch selections and retrieval process was a success. Many participates took the time to share their thoughts in the event questionnaire. There were two themes. First, many loved the healthier lunch selections. They felt it was the best lunch we offered by far. The second theme was that they felt the lunch process was very smooth and liked the set-up.

Having experience as a project manager allowed me to correctly articulate the problem and plan for a solution. The new lunch system enhanced the experience of the participants. The changes also enhanced the client’s ROI. My ultimate goal as a project manager and event planner is to ensure the success and satisfaction of my client.