Step 0 - The Go or Don't Go Decision

Credits Daniel O'Clunaigh, Carol Waters, Ali Ravi, Lindsay Beck, Chris Doten, Nick Sera-Leyva Last Updated 2016-03

This multi-part resource details the basics of the event planning process, built from the documented experience of several experienced trainers - among these steps are gathering inputs, analyzing these inputs, and their subsequent impact on the design, preparation and orientation of a training event.

It is best to think of event planning as starting with the decision whether or not to go ahead with the event.

Trainers must decide, often in consultation with collaborating organizations and/or their own organization, whether or not conducting a training is advisable based on initial information.

The Safety of Participants and Organizations Involved

The most important initial factor is to determine is whether going ahead with an event at a specific time and location will or will not endanger any of the involved individuals and organizations. This should be an early discussion and decision based on information gathered from participants (if available), organizing entities, local experts, collaborating partners, and with view also to current events.

In some situations, this is an easy determination; other times, there will not be enough information, or the situation will be too dynamic for this to be a clear-cut decision. In such eventualities, a go-ahead decision will also need to be accompanied by a contingency planning conversation, in order to be prepared for as many outcomes as possible.

Best Use of Resources?

Secondarily, consider whether the cost of doing an event is worth the possible outcome. This go/no-go determination is often related to a determination of whether or not the available time and resources will bear fruit. For example, there is a minimum time between an initial request for a training and the proposed start of training during which it is not advisable to go ahead with a training due to the lack of preparation time available. Other factors include the availability of a safe venue, time alloted for the actual training (days? hours?), and qualified trainers.

Nature of the Need

Invariably, event planning will also to be predicated on determining what type of an event is needed, or if the request warrants something other than a training event. Even when faced with specific requests for a training, it is important to take the time for a joint determination on what type of intervention is actually the best course of action.

Often, an organization will ask for a training only for it to become quite clear following discussions that there is need an entirely different kind of assistance ) albeit related to digital security). These other, related interventions can range between providing rapid response assistance, project design and implementation assistance, or in-depth organizational audits. These may also include digital security training at a certain juncture, but occasionally an organization is asking for one of these related types of assistance and are not fully able to articulate this at the outset.

If the best solution for an organization is not, in fact, the training event that was initially requested, you may offer them an alternative via a colleague, contact, or trusted organization capable of assisting with other related forms of supports; at other times, you may choose to combine a training with another type of assistance. The range of mechanisms and processes by which training requests are triaged, addressed, and then potentially co-addressed with or referred to other entities providing non-training assistance can vary quite widely.

The most important role that you can play is helping those in need identify what they need and assist in providing that given the wide range of constraints and limitations for those in need as well as those affecting the trainer.