Kick-off Meetings: How To Make Them Successful
Every project must begin somewhere. However, how you start the project or customer relationship will determine how the remainder of the project or customer relationship will go. If the kickoff meeting for a client project is conducted correctly, the rest will go well. If anything is run poorly, it may result in a project or relationship failing.
This blog will discuss how to effectively conduct a project launch meeting so that you and your team receive the information you need to finish a project successfully. We’ll go through the goals of a kickoff meeting, the need for a “pre-kickoff” meeting, topics to cover during the meeting, leadership advice, issues to include in your opening remarks, and crucial questions to ask.
What Is A Project Kickoff Meeting?
A project kickoff meeting is the first meeting a project team has with the customer or project sponsor when a new project is being launched.
It will happen after the execution of contracts and agreement on the statement of work (SoW), project charter, costs, and timetable. However, this documentation may only sometimes be finished with new customers. You have already begun the planning stage of the project lifecycle at this point. To showcase this planning stage to your respective audience, you can leverage the use of Timeline slides.
The client project kickoff meeting is an opportunity to learn more about the project from the client, their project team, and other essential stakeholders. You can also review the project brief and discuss how to make it a success while learning more about its background, and the business factors that led to its inception.
A Word About Scope:
The project scope shouldn’t be discussed at the beginning of a meeting. Instead, it’s a chance to define expectations with project stakeholders and talk about rounds of review cycles, goals, and how the process may be made more efficient.
Try to guide the topic away from being only about project management. With so many individuals there, you want to stay clear of any talks that may put you under pressure to broaden the project’s scope.
However, ensure you’ve taken the time to hold a thorough internal project launch meeting before considering the client project kickoff meeting. Before the client kickoff meeting with the whole team, it is crucial to have an initial pre-kickoff meeting with the customer.
Find a reason to catch up with the customer before the kickoff meeting. This is a quick and easy technique to increase the likelihood that the project kickoff meeting will be successful and ensure that the “actual” kickoff meeting with the team and stakeholders is as productive and effective as possible.
In a perfect world, you would meet for coffee or lunch, but in a pinch, the catch-up may also be conducted via phone or Skype. Before the “real” kickoff meeting, the customer should be contacted and met to level the expectations outside of the possibly much more politicized “actual” kickoff meeting. There is also a chance to:
- Build a relationship with your customer
- Share project and crucial team information.
- Before the launch meeting, gather as much pertinent information as possible to adjust the agenda.
The conversation should center on how you will collaborate and, to the greatest extent feasible, define and align expectations.
You must conduct this meeting to discuss project management-related topics alone, free from a large crowd of stakeholders who could make things difficult.
What Is The Goal Of The Kickoff Meeting With The Client?
The launch meeting for the project has many goals. The most important one is starting the project and ensuring everyone is clear on what must be done to move things forward. You should also:
- Declare the roles and responsibilities of the customer and project teams.
- Ensure that everyone is aware of the project’s history.
- Ensure that everyone can agree on what constitutes a successful project.
- Make sure everyone understands what constitutes effective collaboration.
You want to align all important participants and stakeholders, including your staff.
Things to discuss at the meeting
Work on creating an agenda to enable you to accomplish those goals once you’ve established your launch meeting’s objectives. When your itinerary is prepared, don’t simply sit back and smile with satisfaction. Before the meeting, please send it to your customer and get comments. Ask them what else they want to discuss and start a debate about the meeting’s agenda.
Keep these fundamental questions in mind when you draught the agenda for your launch meeting:
- Initially, why are we doing this project? What commercial demand does it meet? What are the user and business objectives?
- Is there a solution? How will we create or act? Which project management method will we employ?
- How will we collaborate to complete the project? What is the strategy for communication? How will the management of risks, challenges, and change be done?
- When will we do it? What’s the schedule?
- Who or where is the beginning point for things to get started? Who will do which task?
Making a presentation slide deck for the launch meeting is another smart move.
What to do Next?
If you and your team have all the necessary information and resources, you may begin working on the project once the project launch meeting is over. Before beginning project execution, you may need to complete the project plan and other project planning tasks.