Written by Andy Trainer– Mon 06 Aug 2012
Some people say otherwise, but a wedding *is* a project. It has a set purpose and the project has an end date. It has a project team, project manager and most certainly has a budget. Certain milestones must be achieved at certain times in order for the goal to be reached. Later goals depend on achieving earlier ones.
So, you could be a PM professional with a wedding to plan; or you might have found us because you are a bride-to-be looking for structure to tackle this massive task. You could take our 1-day Project Management course, or even our PRINCE2 qualifications to really know how to manage your wedding! Following on from our popular Project Manage Your Life, here’s our simple guide to project managing a wedding:
The first thing to do is identify the benefits criteria that will define project success. These can be such things as:
Next, structure your project board and team:
Now you need a project plan. This is basically an extended version of the usual wedding to-do list but with some important extensions:
One of the benefits of using methods such as PRINCE2 for project management is that all budgets for time, resources and costs are set with agreed tolerances. Now, of course, once you’ve set the date, there will be no tolerance for time! So just make sure your stage boundaries are set as early as possible, so any milestones that take longer than anticipated to reach can be made up for later on.
It’s really important to set your budget with tolerances; and to break it down to individual items. You only need to watch one episode of Don’t Tell the Bride (not that we watch Don’t Tell the Bride, of course!) to see how easy it is to let every little thing sneak just over the budget – and how there are always unexpected expenses missed out of your plan. You can therefore assign a budget to each part of the wedding, with an agreed upper tolerance. The total of these upper tolerances should be close to or exactly your real total maximum budget.
PRINCE2 has a defined philosophy on accepting and controlling change. You should approach your project (your wedding) with the knowledge that your careful plans WILL change along the way. Hence the need for tolerances and dependencies.
When change occurs, e.g. a supplier cancels a booking, don’t just react. Sit down, with your plan, and work backwards again to the point you now know you are at. This stops your project going too far off course – it reminds you which later stages are affected by this change and gives you the control back.
We hope you won't need it, but here are some tips for closing a project early.
Sounds like a lot of structure, doesn’t it? Perhaps you don’t want to go as far as to create a whole project plan. The 3 main things to remember are: