To clarify, the Critical Path is the to do list of EVERYTHING that happens from inception to the day before the event, and the days following. Activities on the actual event day is known as Production Schedule; and, the Script tells everyone involved what they are supposed to be doing at any given time on the day of the event.
It was a few years later that I was asked what had been the most challenging course was that I had taken to attain the Event Management Diploma. There was no doubt in my mind. The following is a piece I prepared in answer to the question. The original was posted on ezine.com.
I might add, that this part of the course was a challenge for sure, but it was as enjoyable as all of the other courses I took to complete the diploma.
There is no doubt that all parts of planning an event are critical to its success. The Critical Path is the place to keep every detail listed and in sync with the flow of planning, ideas and protocols that are needed to produce an event.
Some might say, "I don't need a Critical Path. They take too much time and are a lot of work." A successful planner might grumble these words under their breath but experience and especially lack thereof should dictate otherwise.The thought of not including this document, running by memory and to do lists, could very well mean disaster at any function.
Consider this. When the event is over and everyone has gone home, there are cattle still in the stock pens. This is the result of someone not ordering the cattle liners to pick them up. Why did this happen? A communication breakdown occurred because of lack of information. Was this an oversight? Possibly. However it is one that may end up costing the people in charge of the event a lot of money to fix. This problem could have been alleviated had there been a Critical Path in place. Subsequently a Script had been prepared and distributed accordingly, to the appropriate people.
The Critical Path is a manuscript that coordinates every level of the event. It should be organized to provide data, timelines, completion dates and contact names. The information in this report is used in part for guidelines and structure in preparing the very important Production Schedule needed on the day of the event. It also helps to define the Scripts for those that require direction in specialized areas such as photographers, caterers and yes, even cattle handlers.
This report is not a scrap piece of paper with reminders jotted down in point form. It is a record to be used as a comprehensive itinerary of every task to be completed by those involved in the event. It is an administration manual that will encompass everything from the inception of participation to the day before the event and the days that follow in finalizing and closing out the project.
A Critical Path is decisive. It gives direction to charts, diagrams and plans. It is a map of what needs to happen, what will happen and who will make it happen. It is the behind the scenes life line of an event. It is a needed and necessary piece of equipment that every event planner should use.
Author, Photographer, Lover of Life