It´s time to learn How to Run a Project Kickoff Meeting, but let´s start from the beginning.

What is it?

A project kickoff meeting does what it says on the tin, it gets the project started. It will involve all stakeholders and ensure everyone is aligned to reach a common goal.

Remember

Keep the meeting flowing and avoid wasting time.

Be personable and have fun; everyone will enjoy participating more if you take this approach.

Getting Started

Take immediate charge of the meeting. Welcome all participants and do not forget to introduce yourself.

Briefly explain that you will walk everyone through the project kick-off meeting agenda and material and that you will have time for questions at the end of the introduction.

Define:

  • The project
  • Its purpose
  • Expected goals
  • Deliverables

Introduce the project team members and briefly discuss the role of each. You should do most of the talking in this first meeting.

The kick-off meeting is intended to bring everyone up to speed, not to discuss every item in detail. Every participant needs to see you taking charge of the meeting agenda.

Presenting the Project

Now that you have set the tone, discuss the project assumptions that set the stage for how you developed the plan.

Refer to the project plan document that you sent to everyone and go through it task by task.

Explain and reinforce to everyone that this is a ‘first cut’ and that the important thing to do is verify that the tasks are comprehensive, delegated appropriately, and have reasonable time frames.

The time to modify the plan is before the next meeting. Explain that the project plan becomes the foundation for status meetings and is used as the primary communication vehicle for managing the project.

As you step through each task, point out key dependencies or factors you noted in preparing for the meeting that affects the completion of the task.

By walking the team through the plan, you will be able to point out tasks that are potential bottlenecks in completing the project. Keep your discussion to the point.

Do not get bogged down but take the opportunity to help staff members anticipate problems. Reinforce key success factors and explain why they are important.

Establish a Timeline and Team Member Expectations

Determine an appropriate time and day of the week to conduct weekly project status meetings. Reinforce the need for everyone to attend and to have the week tasks completed.

Creating an effective team is essential, take time to remind the group that teamwork is essential. Reinforce the need for participants to look out for one another.

The objective is to complete the project successfully, and it is up to everyone to do their part and to help one another.

Empower team members to own their responsibilities and to ask for help.

Repeat that you expect everyone to attend project status meetings prepared and with all tasks completed, unless you know well ahead of time that there are obstacles.

Part of your project management job is to help the team identify bottlenecks and to eliminate obstacles.

Explain the Communications Plan

Discuss your plan to share information and updates with the group and interested parties, including the following:

  • Weekly project status meetings
  • Project plan status updates
  • Senior management updates
  • Use of the company intranet or other communication vehicles

Emphasise the need to communicate anything that team members see that might affect the project.

Ask for Feedback and Then Close

Open the meeting for questions and answers. Be certain you have blocked out ample time. If time runs out, ask everyone to send questions to you or to call you.

You can later send out an FAQ or even post it on your collaboration space (SharePoint or other) for people interested in staying abreast of the project.

Summarise the meeting with a call for action and list outstanding items that require immediate follow-up. Provide direction on any follow-up communication needed and what you expect from everyone at the first project status meeting.

Final Thoughts

There are four actions that will increase your success in leading a project:

  • Establish an organised presence. Demonstrate to your team that you are on top of things
  • Empower the team members. Give each team member responsibilities and expect them to accomplish their assigned tasks
  • Create teamwork. Encourage all to help one another and to be accountable to the project. Everyone pulling together for a common cause can have dramatic results
  • Demonstrate leadership. Organise, empower, and develop the team, and everyone will see your leadership and follow

We Can Support You

Our project-kick off service can help you to set your team off the right way. Our focused short-term engagement will be focused around clearly defined workshops.

Contact us for more info about project-kick off service and visit our YouTube channel to review the last webinars.