Fast, Furious cycling…and that’s just the planning phase!

Sometimes in events, you just don’t get the amount of time you want to in order to pull together a project. Actually, who am I kidding – when do you ever get the time you want?!

When our clients came to us in November 2016 and said we need to get a brand new, high profile road cycling event off the ground and on the road in late January 2017, we almost said…are you joking? Instead, we sat down, carefully considered the opportunity, studied the demand that it would place on the team, alongside our capacity and then determined what would need to be done.


We then went back to the client and said, right, we’re in! That client was Cycling Australia and the event was Race Melbourne, part of the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race. We had eight weeks to deliver this event and so we quickly needed to determine what was required. It was super high profile – all of the same teams that would participate in Geelong just a few days later, in the Cadel Road Race proper. Two races, Men and Women, kermesse style, fast and furious racing around the iconic Melbourne F1 Grand Prix circuit. 13 World Tour teams in the men’s race (18 teams total) and 8 UCI teams, 10 international, in the women’s race. Owned by the Victorian Government, the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race is a major event on the sporting landscape in Australia.


The key first step is to scope the project and establish the resource demand. Having spent some time now in the events industry and particularly the sport and road events industry I have seen so many entities and people get this first step so very wrong. I have experienced it from every angle. I have been on the project team when it has been scoped wrong, driven to a breaking point, arriving at the event exhausted and part delirious. I have been the client where it has been scoped wrong, where you are promised the world and delivered a small country. I have been part of a team that would scope it correctly, but then not given the resources required to get the job done properly. Finally, and I will put my hand up, I have made the mistakes scoping a project incorrectly. In each instance, it invariably results in dissatisfied clients, stakeholders, and staff.


Race Melbourne as a scoping exercise and as an experience for the team on the project was one of those success stories. Hopefully, my staff agree with me, I am sure that they do. At Sport Projects, we have a tried and tested method and consistent template for capturing this resource demand, extending from a capture of the demands of the planning phase, right through to that of the event time phase. It is not always 100% accurate and events are known for the unknowns, but the key is to build a resourcing plan which allows for the unknowns. In many ways, whilst 8 weeks planning time would be near impossible for many, this event was in our sweet spot.

When you are scoping the project, it is all about deliverables. Crucial to your success is the following:

  1. List all of your deliverables – Make the list absolutely exhaustive. Every little piece of minutiae should be captured. Trust me, get this list right and it pays off in the medium and long term. The effort you put in here pays off in spades. None of it is wasted if you get the gig.
  2. Quantify your deliverables – This is how you move into building your resource plan. Capture in hours how much each deliverable ‘costs’ in person hours in a transactional sense. Get this bit right and you know how many people and/or how many ‘parts’ of that person you need. This is how you charge your fee or determine your event budget.
  3. Qualify your deliverables – If you haven’t scoped the quality, you can’t scope the quantity. What is the expectation of the deliverable? There is often a big scope difference between top end and low end and everything is scaled. Get the scale right. If you are not sure – ask, this is crucial. Don’t assume and don’t guess. It will circle around and bite you square on the caboose!
  4. Leave some wriggle room – Know there will be unknowns. Don’t quantify and qualify your deliverables without leaving some room to move. Clients love it when you can absorb some inevitable scope creep and conversely, get frustrated when they hear “that’s out of scope” all through the planning phase.
  5. Consider where the demand needs to be met – Break up your deliverables into typical skillset groupings expecting that the demand will be met by specific staff members. The resource demand should also lead you down the appropriate recruitment path.
  6. Who is capturing the demand? If it is you capturing the deliverables and the resourcing demand, make sure you have the experience. You need to know what this looks like at event time and what is required from a planning perspective to make that happen. If you don’t, avoid guessing (at all costs) and then find the person that does.


The inaugural Towards Zero Race Melbourne was a great success and a widely applauded addition to the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race program. The event was pulled together with a small, appropriate and capable project team. The client’s expectations were met and exceeded, with a wonderful new event joining Melbourne and Victoria’s busy sporting landscape.


If you would like to partner up with the team and deliver your own Sport Projects, then be sure to visit the website and get in touch. Maybe you just need some help with the initial scoping phase to get this critical first step right. We can help.


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