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Management

How to Have a Successful Project Kickoff Meeting

I had three new projects start as well as an MBA class, which was all on investment analysis. It was ending, on top of having to do a project, final exam, study for those, starting a new class.  I want to share with you the presentation slides that I’ve created, as well as how I make sure that the meeting was productive and efficient.

Hopefully these steps help you and download the free Project Kickoff template!

Before the Project Kickoff Meeting

  1. Reach out to your client and ask for them to provide the people on their team who should be in the project kickoff meeting.
  2. Have an agenda so that everybody knows what is going to happen in the meeting as well as if I don’t exactly know or I’m not sure that I have the right attendee list.
  3. I’ll put a little note on there that says, if you feel that someone should be part of this meeting that you don’t see in the attending list, please make sure to forward this meeting along – This takes a lot off of me because then I don’t have to keep going back and forth trying to figure out who should be participating in the meeting. I can have the attendees do that work for me and just forward the meeting along.
  4. I join the meeting five minutes before it starts and that helps me make sure that the tech is working – You want to make sure that all those things are working before the meeting starts
  5. Always ask the POC for the different companies that are being represented if the people who are the main points of contact who should be in this meeting are present. And this helps take a lot of the burden off of me as well because then I don’t have to keep asking everyone if they’re there or not.

Why the Project Kickoff Date is So Important

The reason that date is so important is because it’s when the project is kicking off. This is the date that people will usually start charging towards the project. You don’t want people charging beforehand because then you’re going to burn the amount of money that you have on that project way before you should. You want to make sure you have that kickoff because it will be a start point in people’s minds.

Have an Internal Kickoff Meeting

Three to five days before the project kickoff with the client, make sure you have an internal kickoff meeting with your team. You can answer any questions that they might have and gather any questions that they have for the client. You can also take the time to make them understand how many hours they should be working (and charging) to the project’s charge code. So it’s very important that before you have the project kickoff that you have an internal kickoff with your team.

The Project Kickoff Meeting and Slides

I have the project name, my company name, and date. If I have any partners, I would add them here as well. The project kickoff presentation will become an artifact that you would either upload to your CRM or your company’s document repository.

Agenda

I then have the agenda. I usually have:

  1. Introductions
  2. Project deliverables
  3. Timeline
  4. Proposed epics and stories if you are following an agile scrum methodology
  5. Risk and issues
  6. Next steps
  7. Questions and discussion

If you want to add additional topics, then you should. For example, if it’s the first time someone is working in an agile scrum project, I will have a slide on how it works. Of course, there are some times that I’ll add additional size, like let’s say this is the first time someone has ever worked on an agile scrum project.

If you want you can actually make a second column with your name, role, and how you can be contacted, then do so.

Your Team

The third slide is your team. So this would be the team that would be working on the project. You would have the name of each team member here and what role they are filling. Depending on the time, you want to have everybody do like a quick intro so then the client can know who each person on the team is. It is very important at this time because all of us are remote so that will also give a bit of familiarity that you wouldn’t have without those intros.

Client POCs

The next slide would be the client’s team and this is where you can ask them, “Hey, who is going to be part of your team?” You just would list all the people who will be actively participating in this project or anybody that you’ll be reaching out to have meetings with

Project Scope/Deliverables

Next, is the project scope and deliverables that match up to what was agreed upon in the contract.

Project Timeline

I then have the project timeline. Everyone can discuss the schedule and start doing some negotiating on the different dates you have listed. You want to make sure that everybody’s on the same page on what is expected and when it’s expected.

Risks and Issues

List early risks and issues, so that everyone can work together to clear them before the work starts.

Project Next Steps

List the next steps to get started. What is the start date the work will start, what needs to be in place beforehand like tools that need to be installed and configured, what deep-dive sessions need to happen.

Questions and Discussion

During your internal kickoff, if you’ve, if your team has come up with a list of questions, you want to have them listed here. Every project kickoff I have been a part of has had at least two or more questions that have been asked.

I hope that this was helpful and this helps you kick off a project. Please download the free project kickoff template to get you started on kicking off your project.

A successful project kickoff will make the rest of the project more manageable.
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