Project kick off meetings can be an exciting time with a lot of buzz about how things are going to go down and optimism about how successful the project can be. All too often though a boring kick off drones on for far too long and any kind of enthusiasm has been drained from the room by the time everyone’s heading out the door. It’s understandably vital therefore to try and set the tone for the rest of the project by having a super-efficient project kick off.
As the saying goes “a good start is half the battle”, so we’ve put together some tips to make your next kick off meeting as effective as possible:
Be open and genial but take control
It’s a kick-off meeting so no heated discussions or conflict resolution should be necessary. Be relaxed and make participants feel comfortable and welcome, the meeting is an introduction to both the project and other team-members. However, make sure to keep things professional and assure everyone present that they can trust in your authority and confidence.
Have a clear agenda
A simple and direct agenda makes it clear to everyone what’s going to be talked about. Circulate it via email before the meeting and provide printed copies at the meeting itself. Inform everyone there will be time for a Q&A once the agenda has been gone through to prevent interruptions.
Describe what you want from the meeting
Before beginning the kick off meeting, tell the participants what you are looking to achieve so that they know its scope. This could include approving of task assignments, the clarification of roles or the recognition of project outline errors.
Define project goals and deliverables
Outline the objectives of the project in broad terms and the more specific deliverables that are expected. Explain the terms of the project outline and that you will be seeking greater clarification on how teams or specific members will achieve their goals on an ongoing basis.
Introduce team members and their roles
Take the time to introduce each participant to the rest of the team and briefly describe what their role is. Limit most of the talking to yourself to control the timing and direction of the meeting.
The timelines for deliverables can be clarified and amended outside of the kick off meeting with relevant parties. They should be mentioned briefly at project kick off however so that all other members are at least aware of them. However, as all members and stakeholders are usually present at the project kick off it is the best time to coordinate the best slot for weekly progress meetings in the future.
Keep the meeting relevant
For the Q&A make sure that if you are answering questions they are relevant for a significant part of the group. You can maintain engagement and make your kickoff a lot more efficient by identifying queries that can be resolved outside of the meeting and scheduling times for answering them.
End with clarity
Finish by ensuring that everyone knows how to access a relevant contact list and reminding them of your availability. Reinforce the message that you are now all a cohesive team and that this is your collective project together. Thank everyone for participating and let them know you are looking forward to working with them and making a success of the project.
By following some simple ideas, you can make your project kick off meetings as clear and concise as possible. A lot of a project’s success can depend on how well it starts off, so to give yourself and your team the best chance possible make sure your first meeting sets the right tone for the rest of the project.