The Critical Path
The meeting plan, also called the critical path or timelines, is in fact, the to do list for everyone involved in the development of the meeting. It outlines roles and each person's responsibilities, and how they affect other duties involved in the planning process. The critical path/meeting plan is crucial to the success of the meeting.
In short the critical path is a flow chart that outlines:
- What need to be done = task
- When it will happen = start date (not always included)
- When it must be completed = completion date
- Who will do it = person or group responsible
Where does the information come from?
- Some is based in meeting history
- Much comes from the meeting objectives – especially the lower level or sub objectives
The critical path coordinates and puts into practice all the logistics identified in objective development
A good meeting plan or critical path has 4 components
- Date path – start and end dates – completed by
- Activity description
- Cross reference for concurrent and interrelated activities when possible – this often becomes apparent simply by the flow of the responsibilities listed
The path can be set up in a couple of different ways.
- It can be set up strictly on chronological order
- It can be set up by functional areas – like the budget expenses in the previous lesson and then ordered chronologically within the various functions. These functions might include: Program details; Financial; Facilities; Marketing; Registration; Contracts; Print; and many more as well.
Personally I think if you chunk it into functional areas, it is easier to follow, but this is an individual preference. For very large complex meetings, it may work better if it is sorted chronologically by date.