Wishful consistency

Working from a sport event to another is fun: no doubt about that. Then there are the “nitty gritty” and other details that one runs into, whether in the planning or operational phases, which, sometimes, get on the nerves. There is a simple reason for that: some of us have been there before and thought those templates could be updated to reflect the current event we are preparing. The trouble lays in the typical adagio “no time right now, under the fire, let us get it done with what we have, we will get back to it.” Which never happens.

Lack of resources, lack of time, uncertainty as to whom one could suggest a slight update: you name it. Where do we go then? Building a sport event as big as the Olympics and Paralympics quickly looks higher and harder than climbing the Mount Everest without any training. From one host city (and local government) to the next, template documents often get transferred, and nobody asks questions: going for the tried and tested seems reassuring enough to leave it at what it is. Why change anything since it has worked for years? And… well, the itching point comes down to that: “is it actually working?”

Games and other world cups have happened, and the public eye has been quite pleased with their broadcasting. So? Why bother? When discussing the topic with planners and other sport event doers, sarcasm is taking over, with a pinch of humour, thankfully. Yes, it is all about consistency, across the board, yet, some tried and trusted documents are no longer relevant to more recent events. What is practical may not systematically be realistic, and getting closer to the event kick-off, time is of essence: it may not look the best, all that matters is how reliable the information is.

Being consistent and adaptable are two qualities highly expected from the doers of the world. Now rolling accurate information year in, year out is critical and essential to the success of recurring events, regardless of who their organising body is. Their magnitude calls for rather strong systems (database and procedures), and centralising them may lessen the challenge of their management. With following this route, the decision-making authority gets to control both the documents and the budget, where and when necessary. Yet the increasing number of consultants and contractors on some events goes well with a more decentralised structure: this may add to the reuse of dated documents.

Controlling the degree of decentralisation, and local governance (and independence), becomes the quintessential denominator of a profitable and efficient project (mostly for its contributors, but not only), and that rightfully represents a massive process to put in place and maintain throughout the years. Combining systems would probably help being consistent with the content, and logically require a (procedure) rewriting exercise within the governing bodies of some events. Now who is ready and willing to undertake such an audit and suggest some pertinent compatibility for the majority of sport events? Any taker?