How to Plan the Ultimate Party: The Anaplan Way
Planning is a quintessential part of life. Whether you're building out a project at work or planning a wedding, the same tools and skills can be applied.
However, too often we avoid letting our personal and work lives cross; we dismiss the structure we put in place at work and opt for a looser (and less efficient) planning process in our personal lives. It’s time to shake off the notion that work and personal tools can’t be used interchangeably.
For instance, if there was a big sports game coming up and you wanted to plan the ultimate party, a lot of Connected Planning would need to go into making it a success. Don’t believe us? Let's put our Anaplan Way methodology to the test to showcase how to plan the ultimate party using tools and skills that you would use at work:
All great plans have to start somewhere! In the first phase, you’ll think through and outline different aspects of your party as well as the big picture (overall party). Try breaking it up by first making a list of everything you want to have at your party, then categorize each item (try using: food, activities, etc.). While we want to be sure to focus time on realistic plans, don’t be afraid to have a little fun with it. For example, wish you could have your favorite quarterback greeting guests? Why not grab a cardboard cutout (since you probably won’t get the real thing)? A similar (and fun) effect without the high cost!
Tip: Feeling a little uninspired? Take a break and learn from the Party Planning Committee how not to plan a party.
Here we break down two areas of the planning process: “project planning” and “sprint planning.”
For Project Planning, you’ll map out the requirements you need to have in place to ensure your party is a touchdown. You’ll also create a manifesto to help keep your party on the right track. A manifesto is a statement that explains what success will look like for your project or party. When writing your manifesto try answering the question “what would a successful party look like for my guests” —which could be as simple as entertaining people and having fun! When planning starts to feel overwhelming, it’s good to use your manifesto as an anchor and not lose sight of the goal.
Within sprint planning, you’ll begin by collecting user stories (in the business world, user stories are a way to identify what each user of the product or service will ultimately need from it). Think of your “user stories” for each age range that will be attending and ask yourself what they will need for the party to be successful for them. What will keep the kids occupied while the parents watch the game? Are there enough food options for picky eaters? What about entertainment and space for the people not interested in watching the game? You get the idea! Next, you’ll map out the priority levels for each item identified from your user story and start building out your sprints.
Tip: Don’t be afraid to crowdsource your user story ideas with family members, friends, and neighbors – the more insight you can get the better!
Let's get down to business! Time to break out your user stories and task list into sprints and start implementing! Divide your user stories and tasks based on priority level, how closely they relate to your manifesto, and the level of effort it would take to complete. Next, put timelines to your sprints; sprints are specific periods of time dedicated to the completion of certain tasks. Within your sprints, any items bucketed in sprint one and two should be accomplished first (think of them as your highest priority tasks – the party will not succeed without them), then lay out sprints three and four (your nice-to-have and should-have tasks), and so on. Kicking off with sprints one and two will ensure you get your highest priority and most difficult tasks out of the way first.
Try making sprint one your shopping sprint – use this time to pick up all of your ingredients and decorations. In sprint two, you can focus on cooking, and remember just like when you model, you want to clean up while you cook, this way you don't have to spend all of sprint four trying to clean. Sprint three can be reserved for setup; now you can find the perfect place for your decorations and the best spot for all of your seats! It’s also a great time to pause and see if there is anything you may be missing. Use sprint four for clean-up and follow up on any dishes, decorations, or games some of your guests may be bringing.
Tip: Not sure how to get your sprints organized? Try using Pinterest to create visual sprint boards of tasks you’ll need to make, craft, or buy.
A few days before the party is the perfect time to test everything and make sure you have worked out all the kinks. Testing is important; no one wants to sit in a seat with a terrible TV angle! To help prioritize your testing, make a list of everything that will serve an important function (i.e., food, the television, new furniture pieces, games for kids, etc.) and create testing task lists. Since you’re watching the big game, you may want to check your cable and internet speeds. If you’re renting space, time to double-check that you’ve got it on lockdown.
Tip: Save yourself from the cycle of new ideas and stop adding things to your to-do list at this point. You can always save additional ideas for the next party!
It’s party time! You’ve been working toward this moment throughout the week, planning and testing everything, so your party is exactly how you want it to be—down to the Gronk cutout greeting people at your front door. Your invites (i.e., communication plans) have gone out, your food is labeled (documentation—check!), and your generator is ready to help if the power goes out (live back-up support standing by).
Tip: Sometimes deployment doesn’t always go as expected, remember (just like Anaplan) you’re agile! So, if your neighbor Sharon shows up uninvited, you got this—put your agile self to the test and share the extra supplies you got for those “just in case” people.
Ready to take the next step and put our methodology to the test? Download our worksheet below to get a head start on planning your next party (we hear there is a great reason to get together on February 3rd).
Next, share your party planning tips and tricks below. Have you used The Anaplan Way for planning other areas of your life? We’d love to hear about that, too.
Party on, superstar!