The Project Kick-Off Meeting: Objective, Agenda, and Outcomes
By Gina Lijoi
Regardless of what industry you may work in as a Project Manager, every initiative must be introduced to your team at a kick-off meeting. While some kick-off meetings involve client stakeholders, this entry is about the internal kick-off – the objective, the agenda and outcomes.
The objective, or purpose, of the kick-off meeting is to provide context to your team. Who is the client and what are trying to achieve with this initiative? What business are they in? A Project Manager must also do some housekeeping at the kick-off. Review your approach for project development, identify milestone dates and allow the team to air any concerns they have related to delivering the project on time or within budget. The kick-off is a great opportunity for resources to identify potential project risks. For this reason, each internal resource that will touch the project must attend the kick-off meeting. No matter how small you believe their contribution may be, get as many poinst of view as possible to ensure no detail has been overlooked.
You want to keep the agenda fairly high-level, and allow your team to delve into areas they want to explore in more depth. Your agenda should include client objectives, audience, website features, project timeline, and risks. Each item should be presented as a bulleted list. You want to give the team quick snippets of information and allow them to guide the conversation. This should happen naturally, as long as you allow open dialogue throughout the meeting.
At the end of the meeting, you should have a list of additional questions/ considerations you can bring back to the client. If you schedule a client kick-off to occur after your internal meeting, you will be able to present these questions at the client meeting. It’s also important to follow-up and address any team concerns internally. If you’re going to ask the team to contribute at a kick-off, do not disregard the points they bring up.
The internal team kick-off is often the first chance a Project Manager has to discuss a new initiative with her resources. Make the most of it by positioning the meeting as a round table discussion. The comments and questions the team poses may help define important details of the project, avoiding potential disaster along the way.
Gina Lijoi has worked in the online space for eight years, and is currently the Director of Fulfillment at WebFeat Multimedia Inc., in Toronto. In this role, Gina is responsible for strategy, methodology, pricing, scoping and execution of client initiatives. She is passionate about how marketing is affected by technology and trends in social media.