The importance of backwards scheduling when organising a music show

The importance of backwards scheduling when organising a music show

Plan­ning a music show requires a very pre­cise organ­i­sa­tion. There are a lot of ele­ments to take into account: the venue, the date, the band, the sound sys­tem, the lights, the tick­et­ing, the artists’ requirements…

Sev­er­al tools are designed to make organ­is­ing a music show a bit eas­i­er. One of them is back­wards sched­ul­ing. If it can seem daunt­ing at first, your sched­ule will quick­ly become your best friend. Wan­na bet?


  1. What is back­wards scheduling? 
  2. List all your tasks that need doing…
  3. Cre­ate a timeline
  4. Choose the most suit­able format
  5. A tool for the whole team

1. What is backwards scheduling?

Back­wards sched­ul­ing is a project man­age­ment tool that helps with visu­al­is­ing what needs to be done before the dead­line of any project — organ­is­ing a music show, for instance. It does so by tak­ing into account var­i­ous inputs: dura­tion of tasks, what pre­cedes them, and the peo­ple in charge of each. It is a com­pre­hen­sive tool that you should update as you go, step by step, rather than all at once.

2. List all the tasks that need doing…

…before the show

You should start by mak­ing a list of the var­i­ous steps to be com­plet­ed in order to organ­ise your music show. If you don’t have them all in mind from the begin­ning, add them as you progress.

…during the show

This also applies to tasks occur­ring dur­ing the event! In fact, you can also cre­ate a sep­a­rate sched­ule for  the day of the event, split into hours. It can help with:

  • Accel­er­at­ing the set-up and dis­as­sem­bling of equip­ment on location;
  • Organ­is­ing each stakeholder’s tasks;
  • Com­mu­ni­cat­ing a pre­cise and detailed doc­u­ment to the field teams — they don’t need the full event plan­ning schedule;
  • Facil­i­tat­ing under­stand­ing and use dur­ing spe­cif­ic tasks thanks to the hourly split. 
    • e.g. Run­ners who will dri­ve artists from their hotel to the con­cert venue will have the full sched­ule of their day in detail.

…after the show

Your sched­ule does not end once your event is over. Don’t for­get the tasks that need to be com­plet­ed after the show:

  • Col­lect­ing feed­back from the audi­ence using a ques­tion­naire to be sent by email or shared on social media;
  • Com­mu­ni­cat­ing by email and on social media to make the event last a long as possible 
    • Post pic­tures, thank the par­tic­i­pants, organ­ise pho­to competitions.
  • Send­ing thank you notes to your VIP guests;
  • Pay­ing your last ser­vice providers;
  • Com­par­ing the fore­cast bud­get to your actu­al expens­es and analyse the dif­fer­ence to be more accu­rate for your next shows.

All of these should be includ­ed in your schedule.

3. Create a timeline

To cre­ate a great sched­ule, some ele­ments need to come first:

  • Pri­ori­tis­ing tasks and under­stand­ing what pre­cedes each; 
    • What are the tasks that need to be done first? For instance, the artists’ accom­mo­da­tion can­not be booked before you have set a budget;
    • What are the tasks that will last the whole dura­tion of the project?
  • Dura­tion of tasks; 
    • In day(s) or in hour(s) ;
    • In week(s) for big­ger events.

4. Choose the most suitable format

The traditional formats

Back­wards sched­ul­ing can take sev­er­al forms. They vary accord­ing to the project’s com­plex­i­ty, scope and total num­ber of tasks. For a small show, it is absolute­ly pos­si­ble to cre­ate your sched­ule as a cal­en­dar, a chrono­log­i­cal list of tasks or even a table.

GANTT chart

When the project is more com­pli­cat­ed, a GANTT chart can be used. This is a sched­ule detail­ing the var­i­ous tasks and sub-tasks to be com­plet­ed. Using this tool, we can take into account what pre­cedes each task and there­fore high­light any lee­way. Many free soft­wares can help you design that type of sched­ule, a sim­ple Google search will help you find YOUR new helper. While they are gen­er­al­ly per­fect for high­ly organ­ised peo­ple, GANTT charts are not for every­one. Give it a try and find out!

5. A tool for the whole team

The sched­ule is first and fore­most a tool for the whole team, hence the ben­e­fit of allo­cat­ing task man­agers in a sep­a­rate col­umn of your table. Share your sched­ule with your team on Google Dri­ve for exam­ple. This will fos­ter a feel­ing of involve­ment and infor­ma­tion will move quick­er through­out your organ­i­sa­tion. What more could we ask for?

To organ­ise a suc­cess­ful music show, dis­cov­er the ben­e­fits of our solu­tions by click­ing below:

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