Whether your business is established or the seeds of your new business have just turned into a sapling – strong new projects can add an ever desired growth. In order to keep things running efficiently from the very beginning of adding a new branch to your tree of business, a Kickoff meeting is what you will need.
At a fundamental level, a kickoff meeting is all about orientation and alignment. Do not let your team jump into a project without complete knowledge of what is to be done. Let them utilize their full potential and stay up-to-date from the commencement of the project with a comprehensive Kickoff meeting and prevent any diversions and hurdles.
What is a Kickoff Meeting?
It is the initial meeting for the manager, team, clients, investors, stakeholders to get a bird’s-eye view and details of the complete project. It helps define the purpose and sets a perspective for the whole team to stand at and work towards the common goals. You can also organize a kickoff meeting at the start of each phase of your project as well to keep everyone in the loop.
Why does a Kickoff Meeting matter?
- A kickoff meeting serves to acquaint the team, the clients and the stakeholders while laying the groundwork for the upcoming project to build upon later.
- It gives you an ample opportunity to delineate the project, assign the appropriate task for optimum execution of the project.
- It removes any obstructions that might occur during the execution of the project by making everything clear, explicit and unambiguous.
- It prevents any unwanted detours that might happen in the plan as a result of working based on assumptions.
- A Kickoff meeting can be your way of creating and cultivating enthusiasm and confidence among the team about the work you will be executing in the future and the project overall.
- Describe and explain any of the expectations, obstructions, timeline, methods, scope, budget and deliverables to everyone so that they can optimize and customize their work accordingly.
- Help prepare and arm your team for better performance and utilization.
- To create a well-connected relationship adds communication among the team members, clients, and the stake-holders.
It is the responsibility of the Manager or the facilitator to come prepared for the Kickoff meeting. Get everyone on the same page, improving your workflow reliability and efficiency with our pointers for a successful kickoff meeting!
How-to off a Kickoff Meeting?
1. Set Aside Time and Prepare
You will be speaking and presenting in front of all of your team and clients. So be prepared!
Pre-choose all the things you have to go through, the roles you have to assign to which team member, the goals you have to set and share with everyone, the time you’d need for the complete meeting. Hand out some of the details to the team members so they come ready and equipped to contribute to the meeting too.
Have an organized, professional and polished approach towards it. A kickoff meeting can ensure a successful project — put your back into it!
2. Line up an Agenda
Set an agenda for the meeting and communicate it to the team beforehand to reduce any confusion. Set your goals so you can get everything done on time. This will assist to keep and clear direction during the kickoff meeting. An agenda will help you to successfully achieve your purpose. Focus on all the questions of Why, What, When, Who and Where.
3. Gather Everyone
Since this is one of the initial steps towards the planning and implementation of your project, try to make possible the presence of everyone who will be involved with the project. This could mean anyone who is involved in the project in a direct or an indirect way.
4. Meeting Minutes
Keeping a record of your meeting for later references and tracking is a great way to micromanage your project. It will help you stay on track with the roles assigned to the team. Discussions during a meeting can lead to new ideas or changes in the pre-formulated plans; it would be a great idea to have these changes or additions jotted down.
Essentials of a Kickoff Meeting:
You can customize your Kickoff meeting according to your project, clients and team however, here we give you some fundamentals that should be a definitely consider for the proceeds of your meeting.
1. Introduction to the Project:
After the initial customary greetings, introduce the project and its name to everyone. There could be multiple projects running in a business or a company. Make sure everyone is aware of the project about to be discussed and talked about in that particular meeting. Mention the date, the name of the Manager (that’ll be you) and the Project Client to everyone.
2. Share the Purpose of the Project:
Explain and share the past context of the Project and how it relates to the goals and aims of the company. Communicate to everyone present the reason for adding the new project to the business. This will make sure that everyone understands and aligns their interests with the project, team and the company at every level of management for the company.
3. Signed Contract
Make sure you have the signed contract present from your clients to be able to legally proceed on your project. Any other required legal documents from the third-parties or vendors should be available too.
4. Allow time for everyone to get acquainted/ Add an Ice-Breaker
Set some time aside to introduce the attendees of the meetings to each other. This will have everyone up-to-date on who is who and create an opportunity to discuss their roles in the project. This will create a sense of belonging in the team and get everyone professionally acquainted.
Ice breakers are an effective tool to harmonize the team, increase likability among team members and elevate productivity and teamwork.
5. Documentation of Clients’ Needs and Priorities
As we mentioned above as well, document the initial priorities and write down the specific needs of the clients and the project as well. This will help you to keep an eye on all of the changes and manage your project in accordance. Everyone will know which way the kickoff meeting and the eventual plan will be heading.
6. Documentation of the Plan and Projects
You might want to make this document before coming in for the kickoff meeting. Plan your project, write it down and circulate that documentation. Perhaps, emailed to some of your team members, clients, and stakeholders. Make sure to keep it up-to-date and have it revised before the kickoff meeting to avoid any errors.
7. State the Roles of the Team Members:
During the start of the meeting, make sure to identify and state the assigned roles of the team members. This way everyone will be aware of each member’s responsibility to create a flow in communication and the work for the project.
Set methods for the whole team to communicate effectively and quickly. Make use of
8. Scope of the Project:
This is to define what will be included in your project. However, more so, to demarcate the parameters, boundaries and what is not in the scope of your project. This would include all the functions and tasks that need to be carried out within the limits of, let’s say, budget, timeline, priorities of the clients, uncertainties, and risks.
During the kickoff meeting, it is imperative to communicate the timeline of all the phases or parts of the project. This will help keep everyone in stride with all the deadlines and improve your workflow.
10. Project Budget:
Allocate an appropriate budget for each of the tasks to be performed. It will be a good idea to assign someone with the charge of keeping a close track and record of the budget and its usage.
11. Don’t Forget to Review
It would be a smart idea to pre-announce that all of the progress of the team will be reviewed. In addition, State the intervals when the reviews will take place. As a consequence, a sense of responsibility and accountability will be induced among the team member. It will also assist you, the team leader, to keep an eye on everything and make relevant changes.
12. How will the Processes be Documented:
Quality Assurance, Quality Control, Risks, Uncertainties, procurements and all things related to the project must be Make sure to let it be known the documentation of the processes during a project
13. Set and Manage Your Expectations
As a manager, you can put forward any expectations you have from the team that you know you want to have integrated into the project. This will instill a sense of purpose in the team—a goal to be achieved in a kickoff meeting
Make certain to relay your own role in the whole process and how you will be available for any queries that may come up later.
Also, make sure to establish a Plan B, you have set aside in case the project does not go exactly according to your plans. Let across your expectations of how you want your team to act in case things go against your plan.
How to Keep the Momentum for the Bigger Picture?
Now that you have already set forward the complete plan of your project, discuss what actions you plan on taking to assimilate the current project into the bigger picture. Deliberate your future plans or actions that will be taken after the conclusion of the present project. That is one of your main tasks as a Project Manager — to keep everything coherent.
All of the information that will be discussed should be distributed to every member of the team on a common platform for easy access.
Questions? Over to You…
It would be a good idea to keep asking everyone if they understand everything being done and undertaken during the kickoff meeting. Other than that, ascertain to have a Q&A session towards the end of the meeting as well.
Answer all the question clearly to make sure everyone has an understanding of the proceeds of the project and the milestones that are to be hit. Give an air of confidence and acceptance, you never know, a team member can come up with an even better idea for something in the project.