When you start making your project happen, you will want to know if it is working. To do this, you need to find ways of measuring your success. There are various tools.
Outputs are a project management term for immediate results and can be measured. For example,
- 126 people came to the event.
- 86 people said they had a good time.
- Ticket sales totalled £608.
An ‘indicator’ is almost the same as an output, but hasn’t got numbers with it yet. It is a piece of information that can be measured and will show progress towards achieving your outputs and outcomes. If you are asked, “What are the indicators you’ll use to measure the success of your event?” you could say, “People who turn up, comments about the event and the income generated from the event.”
Outcomes are a project management term for long-term results and can also be measured. For example, if your first dance night is a success, they may become a regular event. Or, 3 years after the first event, gigs aimed at young people take place in Lyme Regis 4 times a year.
Outcomes do not depend on outputs, but outputs help outcomes.
Outputs and outcomes can be shown by analysing data collected by monitoring your project.
Monitoring is about gathering information as your project progresses, so you can
- Measure if you are achieving your aims, objectives and predicted outputs and outcomes, and understand the reasons for the results.
- Improve how you do things in the future.
- Build a database of potential customers so that you can let them know about any future projects.
There is no point in collecting information unless it can help you, so think about what you want to do with data before you start collecting. It should be collected in a way that can easily be interpreted.
Someone should be responsible for collecting and interpreting the information and if there are a number of people involved with this, the interpreter needs to make sure the person(s) collecting data gathers it in a useable form.
There are 2 types of data you may want to collect:
Quantitative – numbers of things such as how many people came to your event, how many people engaged with your social media campaign, what ages the audience was, how far they travelled to get to your event, how much money have you made?
Quantitative data can be gathered in a number of ways e.g.
- Ticket numbers/audience count
- Registration for workshops
- Membership/mailing lists
- Sales register
- Online statistics e.g. the number of visitors to your blogs, found in the blog administration tools.
Qualitative – measurements of opinion – did people enjoy what you did, was there something they didn’t like, would they come again, have people learned something, how else did they benefit?
Qualitative data helps you know what people think about your project and brand. It’s important if you want to continue doing more things, because previous customers may or may not return, depending on their experience and they gossip. This data is not so easy to gather – you have to be proactive in seeking it out.
Information can be gathered using e.g.
- Questionnaires that include scales of opinion e.g. from 1 to 5, where 1 is terrible and 5 is excellent. A good blog by Youth Music, with scales to download is here.
- Focus groups
- Posts on social media sites
- Samples of work – recordings, video etc
- Records/minutes of any meetings
Questionnaires with scales can be used to measure progress or changes over time e.g. a self-assessment questionnaire using scales of, say 1 to 5, can establish a baseline understanding of knowledge/confidence at the beginning of a project and then the questionnaire is repeated at the end. You can then interpret change over time with charts/graphs.
The data protection act restricts sharing information you may have about people. As a default policy, you should treat any information given to you as confidential unless individuals give permission for you to share it with others.
Evaluation is about interpreting the data you have gathered. By looking at the information you have, you can compare the results with what you hoped would happen in your plan and see if you met your targets.
To help you, data can be shown in visual ways such as tables, charts and graphs.
Interpreting the information should help you understand the results and the reasons for them. It will help you improve the way you continue any future work.
It is a good thing to periodically evaluate your project as you progress through it, so that you can improve its delivery as it evolves.
Your mission is to explore your ideas. The Ideas into Action guidelines will not self-destruct. They will be available for you to look at, any time you like.
Good luck on your mission
It’s not impossible
To find the list and links to all B Sharp’s posts about event and project planning, go here: Ideas into Action
Links to other music resources, compiled by B Sharp, can be found here.