Project Management

How to Run a Great Project Kickoff Meeting

The project kickoff meeting is the time to get excited, and the project manager is the head cheerleader. This meeting is also the time to convey critical final details before the project is officially underway. In a post at Project Bliss, Leigh Espy shares her tips on how to commence with this meeting most effectively.

Team Huddle

A kickoff meeting can actually be taken to mean a few different things, but here Espy considers it as the last meeting in the planning phase. This is when plans are fully communicated with the team and buy-in is acquired. No actual planning is done here, because that has already been done; this meeting is just about communicating the plan. Team members are encouraged to ask questions until the full picture is understood. Likewise, as many people as possible participating in the project should be encouraged to attend, and it would be wise if telecommuting options are offered.

In order to effectively run the meeting, distribute pertinent documents in advance of it. These can include things like the agenda, the project schedule, or the project scope. On that same note, although the kickoff meeting is where details are crystalized in the team’s mind, an effort should still be made to review plans before the meeting starts:

Make sure you’ve reviewed these items with the team before this meeting. You don’t want surprises here. You don’t want someone seeing this for the first time in this meeting and hijack with a long discussion contrary to your plan. This may mean simply sending the documents to each sub-team and having a call to answer their questions. If they are onsite with you, this might mean sharing the information and stopping by their desk to ensure understanding and buy-in. This will look different depending on your environment, so do what works for you.

During the actual meeting, a great opportunity is provided to set the tone for the project. Thanks can be conveyed for everyone’s participation. Excitement can be generated for the new territory to be explored and the benefits that will be yielded for the business. After that, of course, all that needs to be conveyed is the actual content of the meeting. Discussion should be included on each of these points:

  • Team member introductions
  • Scope, goals, and deliverables
  • Schedule and milestones
  • Risk plan
  • Communication plan
  • Time for questions
  • Perhaps budget, depending on the nature of your work environment

Then everyone can get down to business. You can view the original post here:

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