Evaluating event success criteria?
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Thread: Evaluating event success criteria?

  1. #1
    Open AWD Extraordinaire! EricW's Avatar
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    Default Evaluating event success criteria?

    I love data. I live data. As part of my lifestyle and profession, I continually ask lots of questions - almost a Socratic method if you will, where I try to inflate what works, and get rid of what doesn't.

    I'm looking at potentially getting a Rallysprint going in the Southeast and was wondering: how do organizers measure a successful event? Knowing what people consider success criteria will give me a lot of focus to figure out where I should spend time to achieve maximum results (whatever those results are).

    So, I ask the group at large: what makes your events successful?

    What makes you say a week later, "yeah! that was awesome!" Is it...
    * number of entries
    * amount of beer consumed
    * number of angry citizens or law enforcement (as close to zero)
    * number of inquiries filed (as close to zero)
    * low attrition rate?
    * competitors indicating how much fun they had?
    * women? (or men for you ladies out there...)
    * money?
    * ratio of planned to actual mileage run?
    * comparison of scheduled finish time to actual finish time?
    * number of volunteers?
    * etc.

    I ask because I'm trying to understand what makes a good event. I know this is a very loaded question, but I'm curious how many people actually sit back and have an honest evaluation of their performance to figure out 1) how well was the effort and 2) what COULD be better next time and probably most important of all 3) what WILL be better next time.

    If everything was perfect, about 95% of the communication occurring on this (and similar forums) simply wouldn't exist. So - let's chat.

    Help me help the community when I run an event. Friends don't let friends organize crappy events. (That's assuming I still have any friends here...)
    Eric Wages
    Dirty Rallysport / facebook.com/dirtyrallysport / youtube.com/dirtyrallysport
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  3. #2
    50 caution yump DatsunZguy's Avatar
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    STPR's "debrief"/evaluation meeting is in a couple of weeks. As I see it, we can ask questions regarding the event as a whole -- and within event specialties (spectator, scrutineering, service, radio, etc.).

    For communications, I have debated on:

    1.) Number of operators: For STPR 2012, I will be trying to take some cues from Ander's events and try to develop some operator financial support.

    2.) Handling of accidents/break-downs: Structure of information flow, accuracy and efficacy of info., tie-ins with sweep, wrecker services, teams, etc.

    3.) Operator recruitment: (ARRL clubs, non-affiliated clubs, collegiate, form of recruitment info, availability of recruitment material (doc formatting, when to send, etc.), number of times to "remind" a club...

    4.) Operator preparedness: Two main areas: Rally procedure and equipment efficacy.

    5.) Repeater Issues

    6.) Operator Training: Since there is such limited time at a rally and to better accommodate folk's schedules, I have been developing pre-event training materials on a rally radio wiki.

    Just a quick reply, since I have to get a host of stuff ready for NEFR...
    Last edited by DatsunZguy; 07-13-2011 at 09:22 AM. Reason: "Fancying" up my punctuation. Trying to make my English teachers proud...
    Dave Moore - KB3IEC, STPR Comm. Co-Chief, rally worker, '02 WRX Wagon + '03 Forester, "once upon a time" Datsun Z owner - go RWD!, too poor to race ... Blessings to all!
    "Do not vomit on the finish control workers." (his emphasis) From the section on motion sickness in "North American Performance Rally Codriving" by Dave Shindle.

  4. #3
    100 oversquare right
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    Strictly from a competitors point of view. or strictly from This competitors view. % advertised miles, times, or # of runs we get to race. is my primary concern.

    If an event has to drop a stage (or a rally X cuts our runs from 6 to 4) I'll be bummed, and I'll remember that for a while after the event. If an event has to move the schedule around but i still run all the stages. I'll barely remember the delays / shifted schedule the next weekend, i just remember the fun.

    so a rally cross moves me from running 1st group to last? *yawn* who cares, so a rally has a 30 minute delay, or a 90 minute delay ... that was a nice nap i got.

    Rally has to cancel a stage? rally cross cuts out 2 runs. *whine, cry, whine cry* LOL

    that's my brutal honest answer. # of cars to finish isn't on the organizers (unless the notes/ route book has a serious error) # of cars to enter , is like half on you. if the "miles ran/ minute seat time", looks good compared to "vacation days burned + entry fee paid + tow distance" you've done what you can and hopefully the economy / people saving / spending money works out for you.

    How you handle accidents / break downs is also important and sorta rolls back into my first point. a major break down, or accident should delay things by however long is needed to help those who are injured. hopefully it will just Delay the event, and not cause stages to be canceled. (but at times there's no getting around it)
    Welcome to Rally Addicts anonymous! Hi I'm Alex Rademacher, and i have a Rally problem..... 23 rallies and counting....

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  6. #4
    into right 2 tightens
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    "smooth"

    In my mind it is about how smoothly the event is run overall
    What does it take to run a smooth event?

    - workers/ volunteers
    - knowledgable workers/ volunteers (quantity first quality second, you can educate on the fly)
    - Schedule - can it all happen with enough slack time, so you don't get too far behind (noy just stages - arrival through exit)
    - Back-up plans: for delays, not enough workers, stage interuptions and closings, (get around routes) this starts with thinking through the process and potential problems, an event can go "smoothly," even when you are madly suffeling people around to make it happen, it won't feel smooth to you, but it might look smooth from the outside
    - details: tech, registration, worker meeting points, worker instuctions, worker layout, radio ops, having the decision maker(s) at a place that they can make decisions from (typically at/ in net control), bannering - de-bannering, sweep protocals, --- the more details you have thought through and documented or dicscussed the better off you are

    A rally sprint with one road should make all of this a lot easier, but it does not eliminate very many of the details, they all need to be thought about

    Organizing can be rewarding, the more upfront planning you do the better your event will be, and you will learn something new at every event, so no worries about getting it perfect, although you have paying customers, they in no way are directly compensating you, so you have to do it for yourself with the intent that the people you invite will have a good time (just like when you host a party, you do all the work, but your goal is for the guests to have a good time.)

  7. #5
    100 K right 4 MN_Rallymaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: Event success.....

    I've found that I define success by measuring against the things I have control over.

    Using the behavior of others to measure your own success is an exercise fraught with disappointment since no-one can predict or control the actions of other people.

    When I was chairing an event, I measured most of the success of the event by how well I was able to get the other members of the organizing committee to put forth their best work - be that by support, advice, criticism as needed, or whatever else they asked for me to provide.

    As a second criteria, I measured success by our ability to manage the budget challenge that an event provides - if we provided a break-even or modest profit to our financial backers that was success.

    How well we dealt with the myriad of challenges that present themselves to every organizer is another area where I would measure our success. In reality, most of these challenges were not surprises to us, and we had typically discussed among the committee how we might respond in similar situations, but talk is cheap, and how it goes down in the field is where you find out who you have at your side. This is sorta like training-vs-combat, some are great in training, but can't get it done when under fire - others stumble during training but are rock solid when it really counts.

    I've found that entry levels have little direct relationship to the actual quality of the event, or the roads, or the organizers or for that matter even the sanctioning body - It seems to me that the real control on entry levels is each individual competitor's bank and vacation account balances. Everything else is just icing.

    Brad - not in charge of anything
    Freedom is the lack of rally related stress.

  8. #6
    It's time for a sexy party! Joe Average's Avatar
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    Default

    Everybody had fun = Success

    Sean Gallagher
    Last edited by Joe Average; 07-14-2011 at 06:54 PM. Reason: blt

  9. #7
    Open AWD Extraordinaire! EricW's Avatar
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    Brad nice reply thanks!

    Just want to point out that quality is not necessarily the same thing as success. At least not in my mind. Splitting hairs

    Maybe success IS success in the things that you can't control? Or ūber success?

    Eric
    Eric Wages
    Dirty Rallysport / facebook.com/dirtyrallysport / youtube.com/dirtyrallysport
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  10. #8
    100 K right 4
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    No matter how much fun everyone had, how well the schedule was followed, etc. - if I have to write a check out of my personal account for several thousand dollars to cover event expenses, I have to consider it a good deal less successful than if the entries and sponsorships are able to cover those costs.

    By this measure, NNR was a success this year, but it had not been in the previous 3 years

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