It is crucial that the project manager gives all the key information to the team and the stakeholders before the project starts. Project KickOff Meeting is an opportunity to get the entire team and the business on the same page.
|Kick Off Meeting|
Few tips for an effective kick off meeting agenda -
- The kickoff meeting should not be booked for more than 60 mins.
- Use a presentation/template or any other document to ensure you have a proper agenda.
- Set an expectation that the plan and other details may change.
- Key reason of this project kick off meeting is to make everyone aware of their role and tasks .
- Invite all the key stakeholders from business and project team members to the meeting.
- Dry run your presentation and agenda with project sponsor and some senior team members before the actual kick off meeting for feedback.
- Circulate the soft copy after the meeting so that people who missed the meeting can read.
- You can get most of the content from Project Proposal, Plans and Risk Management Plan.
- Do not get into detailed discussions around scope, delivery or risks in the kick off meeting.
- Be open to feedback as the team can suggest better ways of doing things.
- Take a few hard copies of the presentation to the kick off meeting in case projector in the meeting room does not work.
Introduction and Project Deliverable sections in the kick off meeting template
- This is the first section in the kick off meeting template and the goal of having this it to give a high level view of the project and its purpose/benefit to the business.
- The information on this slide should be precise and having them in bullet format will make it readable.
- The slide may contain project start date and end date, teams involved within the business and include the sponsor name or department.
- Similar to the introduction of the project the project deliverable should contain information about what the project will be delivering. Again keep it high level.
|Introduction and Project Deliverable|
Project Team Structure during the project kick off meeting
- It is important the project team is aware of the team structure and there is no better time than doing it in a kick off meeting.
- Generally, IT teams are well structured and there is always clear hierarchy but it is still a good practice to have the team structure documented and circulated.
- In the example below we have project control, analysis, development, SME and configuration management teams clearly defined.
- Providing this information in the kick off meeting ensures that people know who to go when there is an issue or question.
- Visibility of the team structure plays an important role in making the team communication effective.
|Project Team Structure|
- The project timeline helps the team to understand the project delivery time frame.
- The timeline in the kick off meeting should be for high level phases. Adding too much detail can cause confusion within the team and can cause communication issues.
- You can use a simple Gantt or fancy excel timeline or even a set of dates may work.
- Try and highlight the key milestones in the time line so that the team will be aware of them.
Project Communications Plan
- Managing communications or comms is a difficult task as not everyone communicates in the same fashion.
- The kick off meeting is an excellent opportunity for the project manager to set the expectations about how the project team should be interacting with each other.
- In the below image and in the template there is a sample plan as to how the project team, stakeholders and business departments will be informed about the project activities.
- Common examples are Scrum Meetings, Project Team Meetings, Project Status Report, Project Update Meeting, Project Control Meeting and Quality Assurance Report.
Key Project Risks
- Before starting a project it is important that all the stakeholders are aware of the key risks within the project.
- Project Kick Off Meeting is a good opportunity for discussing the risks that can affect the project.
- Do not include all the risks. Only include the key or major/high risks.
- Each risk should have a description, category, rating,owner and possible mitigation.
- It is possible that during the kickoff meeting the team may come up with new risks which were not discussed before.
|Key Project Risks|
Project Escalation Process and Technical Contacts
- No matter how small or big the project there will always be issues and you always need someone to be accountable. The kick off meeting is a good opportunity to detail this.
- The escalation and technical contacts in the kickoff meeting template will explain how the team should communicate when there are issues.
- It also explains how the information about issues and escalation will be communicated all the way to the project control.
- Typically the teams escalates issues to their respective team leaders which are then escalated further to the project manager. The project manager in conjunction to the sponsor may decide to get the project control involved.
|Project Escalation Process|
Project Closure Terms and Documentation
- The project closure terms are the conditions which need to be met for the project to be closed.
- The closure terms need to be drafted carefully as they can be very political. Small grammatical errors can lead to lengthy delays in closing the project.
- The project closure terms should be a bullet item list.
- The project documentation should contain information about documents related to the project like Project Plan, Business Case, Risk Management plan etc.
|Project Closure Terms|