Commonalities of Project and Event Management
They both require responsibility at every stage of preparation and fulfillment, as well as neither a project nor an event can be carried out without managing certain risks. However, there exist certain differences when it comes to the propensity for risk when dealing with projects and events. Projects and events face unequal risks in external circumstances, accountability, as well as budget and sponsorship.
The first and the most essential difference in risks is related to external circumstances. A project manager is usually aware of the staff assigned to implement the project. In addition, every person has definite roles and responsibilities, which makes catastrophic risks, such as force majeure circumstances, less probable (Heldman, 2011). The number of people involved into the project is also limited and known in advance. In contrast, events, even not global ones, such as weddings or business meetings, may include secondary people not linked to the event directly (Tarlow, 2002). Above all, this means that force majeure circumstances are more typical for the events, which poses additional risks regarding the success of the event in general. Another risk is that, due to the external factors, events can have additional risks in terms of costs. Thus, in case with holding events, managers need to be ready with more solutions, possible scenarios, and ways out than with any of the projects.
Another propensity for risk concerns accountability. A project failure may take place due to inconsistencies within cost, time, and quality parameters (Hopkin, 2012). Specific people are accountable for meeting specific parameters when it comes to the project implementation. At this, each project has a project manager who makes decisions as for how different activities related to the project should take place (Heldman, 2005). Therefore, a project manager is held accountable in case a project fails, as well as he/she makes decisions as for how to prevent and handle risks when they occur. Accountability issues are different in event risk management. An event is more structured than a project. For instance, a project has managers accountable for budget, time, quality, while organizing a football game depends on a greater amount of departments, and each is accountable for its work only. It significantly decreases chances to find a person that should be held accountable for a failure.
Finally, events and projects have different propensities for risks when it comes to budget and sponsorship. As a rule, projects have set budgets because it is possible to calculate most of expenses in advance. Talented project managers are even able to calculate the cost of risk events if there will be any (Dow & Taylor, 2010). However, finding sponsors for a project is more difficult than for an event. While the benefits of the project may be doubtful, large events, such as sports events, concerts, etc. have a huge economic value, and often result in a competition between sponsors that use events as advertising opportunities. In this way, sponsors are more likely to invest into events than into projects, which often results in tight budgets for the latter.
In conclusion, there are three major differences in propensity for risk between project and event management. Events depend more on external risks than projects, while projects face fewer risks related to accountability. Moreover, events are less likely to experience risks with sponsorship because they can be more profitable than projects. Nevertheless, most of the risks can be identified and prevented before the beginning of a project or an event. Another important idea for a manager to bear in mind is that any risk is an opportunity and the way it is handled defines whether it will bring success or failure.
- Dow, W., & Taylor, B. (2010). Project management communications bible. New York, NY: Jon Wiley & Sons.
- Heldman, K. (2005). Project manager’s spotlight on risk management. Alameda, CA: SYBEX.
- Heldman, K. (2011). PMP project management professional exam study guide. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.
- Hopkin, P. (2012). Fundamentals of risk management: Understanding, evaluating and implementing effective risk management. London: Kogan Page Publishers.
- Tarlow, P. (2002). Event risk management and safety. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.