Project Kick Off
You have defined the strategy and objectives of your Project Management Office (PMO). You have assembled a team to implement it. You even wrote a PMO Charter. You are ready to go and start changing the complex and dynamic universe of projects in your organization. You have plenty of work to do; I would love to start issuing friendly monthly portfolio dashboards right away and seeing stuff happen in your PMO. You can feel the smell of change in the air. This is a serious moment. The PMO is ready to kick-off.
Several reports claim that many PMOs fail in achieving their objectives due to lack of sponsorship, and there are still many cases of abandoned PMOs because of low engagement with their user community. So, although you might be in a hurry to show your PMO-love, get it off to a good start first with a PMO kick-off meeting. It is a fantastic opportunity for the PMO management team to build relationships with project teams and other stakeholders. After all, no one destroys what one helps to make, right?
What is for PMO kick off meeting?
Implementing a PMO is no easy-peasy work. Yet, with a quick but effective PMO kick-off meeting, you can leverage a range of benefits to support the PMO implementation:
Get everyone on the same page:
Present the PMO. No misunderstandings, no “I-have-no-idea-what-this-PMO-thing-is” anymore. With a kick-meeting, attendees gain a clear view of the objectives, scope, and services provided by the PMO.
Gain sponsorship and commitment:
It’s easier to gain sponsorship for the PMO’s work and commitment from the team when roles and responsibilities are explicit and visible to all.
Build momentum for work to start:
When you walk out of the kick-off meeting, the PMO's visibility is at an all-time high. Make use of it to keep the ball running.
Get the PMO team energized on the work ahead:
By bringing the team together and sharing the PMO vision and roadmap as a team, a PMO kick-off meeting enables creating a cohesive, successful, high-performing PMO team.
OK, I’m convinced but When should I do it?
As early as possible. Make no mistake: your first challenge will be to find a date (and likely a meeting room available) that works for everyone, so try to schedule the kick-off meeting while you are still working on your PMO Charter, allowing yourself enough time for preparation. The PMO Kick-off meeting marks the PMO implementation project; hence you will want to make it right and ensure as much attendance as possible.
Right, and Whom to invite for PMO Kick off meeting?
This will much depend on your organizational structure; however, it is advisable to have at least the PMO Sponsor, the PMO team who is going to carry out the work, and representatives from different user groups, such as Change Management, Resource Management, Finance, Project Managers, and other areas of the Business deemed relevant. In summary, anyone who can fit the role of “PMO’s client.”
What to cover in the PMO Kick Off Meeting Agenda?
A PMO implementation should be taken as seriously as any other project, meaning that the kick-off meeting requires preparation and a structured agenda. A great kick-off is always the result of great preparation. An example of an agenda is:
- Introductions and Setting the Scene: What is the context for the PMO implementation?
- PMO Vision and Objectives: what do we aim to achieve?
- PMO Benefits: why are we doing this?
- PMO Scope: what are we doing?
- PMO Roadmap: how are we going to make this happen?
- PMO Team Roles and Responsibilities: who is doing what?
- PMO Communication Plan: how are we going to communicate our progress?
- PMO Ground Rules: how are we going to work together?
- Next Steps: how do we keep momentum?
Some final Hints and Tips
- Make it brief but exciting: no one likes long boring meetings. Try to keep the entire kick-off meeting as brief but impactful as possible. Usually, 1 to 2 hours is enough.
- Focus on the big picture: establishing clarity and excitement among the PMO team and stakeholders is your mission for the kick-off. Don’t worry too much about the details at this stage, you’ll have plenty of time after the meeting when the party starts.
- Don’t be afraid to answer questions: allow sufficient time at the end of the meeting for participants to pose questions. It is important that people feel comfortable and are transparent about what was presented during the meeting.
- Summarize key points and finish with a smile: do a quick recap focusing on the important issues and close the meeting positively and enthusiastically. Give people a reason to talk about the PMO implementation even after they leave the meeting room.
Big journeys start with simple steps, and by investing the necessary time in preparing the best PMO kick-off meeting ever, you can set a winning course and tone for the rest of the PMO implementation project. After all, the PMO kick-off meeting is much more than a ceremony; it’s your opportunity to shine and get everyone excited about the PMO, do not waste it!