A Games of Thrones Convention is using Kanban for Event Management!

What do Game of Thrones, Nordic countries and sci-fi gatherings have to do with Kanban? Meet Archipelacon, a first time sci-fi convention that will bring science fiction fans from all over the world to Finland at the Alandica Culture and Congress Center  for a four-day celebration of the fantastic arts this June. The keynote speaker of the event will be now infamous author George R.R Martin of The Game of Thrones book and HBO series fame. Over 800 people are expected to attend. If you’re a fantasy junkie, it doesn’t get better than Archipelacon!

We caught up with one of the organizers of the event, Tero Ykspetäjä, to find out how the Nordic team is using Kanban for their workflow surrounding the convention.

What does Archipelacon specialize in?

We are a science fiction convention that will take place in late June this
year. The event spans four days of programming which consists of
presentations, discussions, workshops, and just socializing and
meeting other people who like to read, watch, write, or otherwise are
into science fiction and fantasy.

Is your entire organization using Kanban or just your team? What is your team’s role?

We use Kanbanize as the to-do board for the whole organization. In
addition, the programming team uses it to plan our program items.

How has using Kanbanize improved your process? What did you use before?

Archipelacon is a one-off event, so we didn’t really have a ‘before’.
But our organizers are experienced conrunners. We’ve used all kinds of
methods, from pen and paper to Excel sheets to some specialized tools
for managing things.

How have you structured your boards within the account? 

For the main event: we put ideas that should not be forgotten into
backlog. Things to be worked on next are moved to ‘Requested’. Our ‘in
progress’ is divided into three parts: doing, pending (to indicate
things that require waiting for a 3rd party to do something) and
review (for those things where we want the entire team to look at
something after it’s been done). Done things are, naturally, moved to
‘done’, and archived after making sure everything is properly
documented that needs to be, etc.

The programme planning board has a backlog of ideas, the requested area
is for ideas to work on next. In progress has a few subcolumns for
approaching people with program ideas, finalizing the item description
for the published program, and confirming with participants. Done has
two columns, ‘Ready to Announce’ (some items are published as teasers
before the whole program has been published) and ‘Done’.

What is the most useful feature of the Kanban method to you and your team?

The visual task board where you can see at a glance how many things
are at which stage, and who is taking care of them. Kanbanize is flexible enough that I think it’s been useful for our case as well.

So, if you’re planning a large or small scale event, Kanban can improve your process and make sure you are productively working towards your goals by getting quality results just in time.

Try it out for your next event!

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