What is a kick-off meeting?
The kick-off meeting is the generally the first meeting that the project team and the client/stakeholders have on a meeting. For client projects (those for which a client is paying your company), the kick-off meeting will probabaly be the first time the project team has talked to the stakeholders at all.
What do you want to accomplish during the kick-off meeting?
The main goals of the kick-off meeting should be as follows:
- Team introductions
- Discussion of project assumptions
- Discussion of project managment methodology
How to prepare for the meeting
Prior to the kick-off meeting, the project manager should:
- Read the project charter/contract/statement of work
- Assemble the preliminary project team and brief them on the project
- Prepare a list of preliminary project assumptions
- High-level scope
- High-level timeline
- Create and distribute the meeting agenda
What to do during the meeting
During the meeting, the project manager should be focused on two main things:
- gathering information from the stakeholders in terms of the key players, expectations, and success criteria
- increasing stakeholder confidence by confidently presenting the project team and project methodology that will be followed
What not to do during the meeting
Too many times I have seen project managers try to have the kick-off meeting serve as the requirements workshop and timeline setting meetings so that the team can jump right into delivering deliverables. Don’t do this! It may seem that reducing a few additional hours/days of meetings is a great idea, but it will only hurt your project if you rush the analysis/planning phases of your project.
The kick-off meeting is not intender to replace other meetings. Rather, it is designed to start the project on the right foot. This means making your stakeholders confident that your team can successfully deliver the project and to make sure you know what success looks like to the client.
Follow-up activities for the meeting
The kick-off meeting follow-up is the first opportunity for you to follow your project methodology after you presented it to the client. As such, you need to do the following:
- Document and distribute meeting minutes
- Document and distribute any action items
- Complete all possible action items
- Schedule the follow-up meetings