Agile event project management as best answer to the challenges facing the events industry

Something exciting, grand and spectacular is currently happening in the economy – and with it in the marketing departments of companies. The magic phrase heard everywhere is “Digital Transformation”.

It encompasses challenges such as disruption, economy 4.0, Internet of things and big data. All industries are currently experiencing an utter upheaval. And this is by no means limited to the DAX-listed companies, but all of these increasingly affect the medium-sized sector, which cannot (nor does it want to) shut out the digital challenges.

There is going to be a reshuffle – and this development will sort winners from loser, just as Mikhail Gorbachev said in his often quoted, famous statement: “Those, who are late, will be punished by life”.

A solution to the several adjustments difficulties is quickly found – “we need to become more flexible”, and accordingly this is is proclaimed in almost every company. But what does this actually mean, what does “becoming more flexible” entail?

It is both about strategy and practice

First, what is required is a strategic re-orientation. Processes have to be questioned; new solutions have to be tested. And here, the digital field is characterized by shorter life cycles and a high degree of risk.

In the long run, only those, who have pooled the appropriate talents and found the fitting service providers, will be heading the race.

Everyone, who has ever delved deeper into “change management” in business practice, knows, how difficult it can be to implement new targets, behaviors and processes.

In times of digital challenges, start-ups serve as role models. Their agile working processes, their speed, their love for experiments and their self dependent staff form a solid basis for flexible brand and product strategies. And accordingly established big corporations invest a lot into setting up their own start-ups to design new business models.

This development is driven not least by the clients, for whom the handling of digital technologies and communication channels has become as a matter of course.

The new requirements particularly apply to corporate communications, where the specific effectiveness of combining the live experience with digital communication, has become widely accepted.

Successful start up companies, such as airbnb, uber or zalando, show, how important it is to offer a communication platform to the client and to thus practically trigger a viral effect.

But what are the effects of the digital revolution for the events industry? How does an agency need to organize itself in order to optimally support its clients in this?

Fundamental for the success is a new mode of operation taken over from the digital industry: agile project management

Agile project management is based on the highest degree of flexibility, which is integrated into the process already from the beginning of a project on. And in doing so agile project management is the answer to the changing parameters in events and live-marketing.

These parameters are defined as such: shorter times, smaller budgets, higher complexity, a more individual address of clients. Especially the so-called Scrum method has proven itself useful in agile project management. This is based on an interdisciplinary team of self dependently working staff. A Scrum-master ensures that all process rules are adhered to and at the same time serves as contact person for the team, should difficulties arise.

Due to its methods of active responsibility, agile project management creates a higher degree of motivation in agencies. While also avoiding the stress that the changed parameters had created.

Clients and agencies alike benefit from the iterative approach of agile project management. The agility supports the large and established companies especially in asserting and strengthening their supremacy.

Especially as regards the prerequisites for agility – namely maximal attention to the market, decision-making processes that are not pinned down by hierarchies or a swifter implementation of decisions – it is the smaller companies or start-ups that are often at an advantage.

Colja M Dams

For the past 10 years, VOK DAMS, agency for events and live-marketing, has been offering the highest operational standards in quality and reliability with its certified quality management, allowing for a successful and creative communication.

Now, VOK DAMS enters the next stage of its quality management and introduces agile event management as first agency.

The agile principles, techniques and methods, as well as the cooperation in agile teams, which are already known from the digital industry, are consistently being adapted by VOK DAMS to modern, innovative marketing. Agile project management is based on a clear project structuring in conjunction with a self-dependent team organization and the highest degree of flexibility, which is integrated into the process already from the beginning of a project onwards.

The feedback received from the first projects VOK DAMS implemented applying agile project management shows encouraging results: increased commitment and motivation of the involved colleagues, greater personal responsibility in the teams, an even higher certainty of results, higher degrees of speed and flexibility, and with this an overall improved effectiveness. Agile event management is clearly the route the event industry has to take, if in times of digital transformation, it wants to continue offering innovative solutions to communication tasks.