How to lead a Project Kickoff Meeting with success?
The responsibilities of every project manager begin from the moment they are given the task to manage the projects. This happens after all stakeholders have signed off and approved the project. As a result, the Project Manager is responsible for returning desired dividends to stakeholders.
To ensure that Projects are successful, Project Managers must do a lot of preparations. The reality is that most project failures are due to impromptu kickoff meetings led by Project Managers without prior planning and preparation.
Important Meeting to Kick Off a New Project
Is it really necessary to give Kick off meetings so much attention? The obvious answer to this question is “YES”. The Project Kickoff meeting is just as important as the meeting that Coach conducts with his/her team before the start Football match. The difference is that in football match meetings, players know that they must score as many goals as possible to win the game. The Project Leader is supposed make sure that the team understands that they must meet project goals and objectives in order to succeed. Each member of the team has a different view of the project and different expectations from the Kickoff meeting. As a project leader, you have the responsibility of making them feel comfortable. You can also energize them by creating a chorus so they understand what is expected of them during the Project.
Let’s get to know each other and plan the project kickoff meeting.
Let me ask you this question before I move forward to the project kickoff meeting. Can you define kickoff?
No worries!! Let’s start by defining kickoff.
Cambridge Dictionary says, “If a football game kicks off, it begins” – This means that Kick off is “to start”.
Project Kickoff meeting is a type of project inception meeting, or a takeoff meeting with the Project team members and other stakeholders, including clients. The purpose of the Project Kickoff meeting is to officially inform everyone that it’s a start of a project. It is discussed what the roles and responsibilities are for each person. They are expected to meet these expectations and communicate them. This is to bring team members together on a common platform of understanding.
This article will provide some tips for a successful kickoff meeting.
Tips for Project Kickoff meeting:
1. Preparation and rehearsal for Kick off meeting should be done well in advance
a. Discuss the Project deliverables with all stakeholders, including customers, before the Kickoff meeting. Stakeholder analysis is a must. This is to gain a better understanding of the expectations and influence of different stakeholder groups. These stakeholder expectations should be an important input when conducting kickoff.
b. Preparing the project kickoff meeting agenda. Identify all team members. Agenda should include Project brief description or Heading; Kickoff Meeting Date, Time and Venue details; Invitees’ names and details; and should list all Agenda Items/ Topics with time slots like Introduction, Project Background and Goals and Objectives, Scope and Roles and Responsibilities for each member of the team. Make sure to allow for questions at the end of the meeting. You can also include details about any other enclosures or handouts that are necessary for Kickoff commencement. For the preparation of your Kick Off Agenda, you can refer to the below template:
Figure: Project Kickoff Agenda Sample Template
c. Research on Previous Similar Projects: Today, most organizations keep Previous Project History about their successes, failures, challenges faced, and risk/ opportu