Did you attend a kickoff meeting before while starting a new project? Did you talk about vision and the scope of a project with the client 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 start 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 articles but today we are going to discuss how to write a project kickoff meeting agenda and what should be included.
What is a Project Kickoff Meeting?
Actually, a kickoff meeting is a meeting with the client and the project team. 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 to start the execution. Typically, it starts 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 discuss the base elements of the project, 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 for 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 to start 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. It provides an opportunity for both parties to understand the key project milestones, scope, goals, budget, timeline, and everything in between.
Although assembling a meeting may seem quite simple, it requires substantial preparation. 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 before to attend in order to avoid misunderstandings unnecessary conversations. Therefore, you need a kickoff meeting agenda to plan important discussions.
From this aspect, a kickoff meeting will help both parties to work and build a clear roadmap together to achieve the project objectives if done in the right way. Therefore 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 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 to attend. 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.
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’s deliverables, priorities, and objectives. Although every meeting requires its own agenda, it is possible to create a 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 for 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.
- Introductions: A general introduction section for both the project and the team.
- Roles: Reviews the key roles and discusses who is responsible for which activity.
- Plan: Discusses the key project milestones, project timeline, and the project management methodologies to create the project schedule.
- The submittal and Approval Process: Discusses the process and who is responsible to submit and who is responsible to approve the deliverables.
- The Statement fo Work: Discusses the statement of work of the project with answering: What, When and How will be produced?
- Risks, Assumptions and Constraints, Issues, Dependencies,Change management, etc. discussions.
- Reporting System, Types of Reports and Communication
- Collaboration: How to Work together?
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.