How to Create a Project Kickoff Meeting Agenda?
Did you attend a kickoff meeting before while starting a new project? Did you talk about the vision and the scope of the project during the kickoff meeting? If you are working in the field of project management, most probably the answer starts with “yes”. Most of the projects begin with the kindness of both parties. However, as time passed and the project progressed, the project team members find themselves in the middle of confusion if the project did not start in the right way. We have written about the project kickoff meeting in one of our previous articles but today we are going to discuss how to create a project kickoff meeting agenda and what should be included in it.
What is a Project Kickoff Meeting?
Actually, a kickoff meeting is the first meeting between the client and the project team after the contract award. But what makes it special and why is it important? One of the most important aspects of this meeting is that it is held at the beginning of the project before starting the execution. Typically, it begins with introducing team members so that everybody knows each other from both parties. It provides the opportunity to discuss the role of key project positions.
Basically, the project team and the client make discussions on the base elements, key deliverables, and milestones as well as the deadline of the project. Therefore, using a project kickoff meeting agenda helps to guide the meeting. In large and multiphased projects, a kickoff meeting is held at the beginning of each phase. From this aspect, a project kickoff meeting provides a chance for each party to gain a different point of view before starting the project. The stakeholders who attend the meeting may be either internal or external to the organization.
Why Do You Need to Assemble a Kickoff Meeting?
The main purpose of assembling a project kickoff meeting is to start the project in the right way. Because it guides both parties to realize key project milestones, scope, goals, budget, timeline, and everything in between.
Although assembling a meeting may seem quite simple, it requires substantial preparation in the background. It is not something to just sending and receiving emails. Since the kickoff meetings are face-to-face communication tools, the project team and the client should prepare for it well in order to avoid misunderstandings unnecessary conversations. To that end, using a kickoff meeting agenda will be helpful to plan and manage critical discussions.
From this aspect, a kickoff meeting will help both parties to work together and build a clear roadmap to achieve the project objectives. Thus, you can eliminate many risks and surprises with proper preparation.
How to Prepare for the Meeting?
No matter what kind of project you are going to perform, you need to prepare for the meeting to demonstrate your enthusiasm and understanding of the project to the client. From the client’s point of view, it provides a chance to understand if they’ve made a good decision to select this contractor. Below tips that may help you while preparing for the kickoff meeting.
Keep the Meeting Duration at an Optimum Level
Inform everybody regarding the duration of the meeting to enable them to prepare for the meeting. The meeting date should be reasonable for each party to make internal decisions before attending. The duration of the meeting should also be kept at an optimum level considering the complexity of the project. If the project is too complex, half an hour-long meeting will not be enough.
Invite the Right Attendees
Make sure you invited the right attendees who play a role in the success of the project. If the key project stakeholders or the right attendees are not invited, you can not discuss the critical items with the right people. Also, the meeting should be accessible through video conferencing software such as Skype.
Create a Kickoff Meeting Meeting Agenda
Creating a kickoff meeting agenda is one of the most important steps for meeting preparation. Because it includes critical items to be discussed during the meeting. Agreeing on an agenda for the meeting with the participants helps to prioritize the content.
Assign Someone to Write the Minutes of Meeting
It is essential for everybody to take their own notes. However, assigning a notetaker will help participants to remember everything discussed during the meeting. We recommend you to read the following article; How to Take Notes Effectively?
How to Create a Project Kickoff Meeting Agenda?
As a project management professional candidate, you will attend dozens of meetings throughout your career, if you haven’t already attended. In order to optimize the efforts, you need to create a flexible agenda considering the important topics, project deliverables, priorities, and objectives. Although every meeting requires its own agenda, you need to create a specific kickoff meeting agenda template to cover off the fundamentals of project management.
A templated project kickoff meeting agenda will provide everybody a shared understanding and consistency. Since a template is applicable to many projects with some modifications, it will prevent you to create a new one all the time.
What Should Be Included in a Project Kickoff Meeting Agenda?
Here below you can find the sections of a project kickoff meeting agenda.
A general introduction section for both the project and the team. First of all, introduce the project itself and inform attendees regarding key objectives. Then, each attendee will introduce themselves by informing others related to their roles. After that, provide a general overview of the meeting agenda to make sure everyone will understand the objective of the meeting.
A project background provides a brief summary of the business case, project scope, objectives, and outcomes. It is a high-level summary that answers why the project has been undertaken. At this section, underline the statement of work of the project by answering: What, When, and How will be produced?
The roles and responsibilities section of the project kickoff meeting agenda reviews the key roles and informs who is responsible for which activity. If you describe all the key project roles and responsibilities clearly with the stakeholders, everybody will understand the owner of each task.
Share the proposed organizational chart to demonstrate reporting lines between the project team and the stakeholders.
It is difficult to create a schedule before to hold a meeting. However, you should discuss the key project milestones, project timeline, and the project management methodologies to create the project schedule. Beyond these, you need to decide how to measure project performance and track key deliverables with your stakeholders.
Discuss with participants how to dentify and respond to major project risks together.
A shared document system may help you to improve communication and collaboration. Team members and key project stakeholders can access to a centralized database to share processes, document versions, and updates. For that purpose, you can use Microsoft docs, Google docs, and other document management tools.
Set a timeframe for questions. This section is especially important for clarifying any misunderstandings. Therefore, you need to encourage the participants to ask questions to make sure everything is well understood.
A project kickoff meeting provides a chance to get the team and the stakeholders on the same page. The kickoff meeting agenda guides the project team and the client through each stage of a project. In other words, it guides the conversation of the participants to discuss the important topics at the beginning. At the end of the meeting, everybody should leave the meeting room with a clear understanding of what is required to start the project in the right way. Finally, document and share your project kickoff meeting with key stakeholders.
Since 2004 I work for ICT Management which provides worldwide quality management service. Passionate about new technologies, i have the privilege to implement many new systems and applications for different departements of my company. I have Six Sigma Green Belt.