The Project Kick Off Meeting
The project kick off meeting provides an opportunity to directly engage all members of the project team, including stakeholders and the project sponsor. The kick off meeting is important for several reasons:
- Meet team members —Every member of the project team will, at some point during the course of the project, be required to work with other project team members. Members of one functional area will require input from other team members or groups. In introducing everyone, the “anonymous” factor is eliminated, and the project team will have more of a personal stake in successfully accomplishing their responsibilities.
- Clarify objectives–Project team members do not always read email or formal project documents. One of the primary objectives of the kick off meeting is to review the project objectives.
- Define responsibilities–Each member of the project team needs to understand their role and responsibilities, as well as the roles and responsibilities of other team members. The kcik off meeting should provide insight into the various project phases and deliverable.
- Highlight key project challenges–High impact project risks and opportunities should be discussed with the team. The project manager should use the kick off meeting to review the full extent of the project plan, including risk and contingency planning, as well as project opportunities. Should, for example, the project be delivered ahead of schedule, then the positive impacts on corporate revenue or market share should be addressed.
- Review of the project plan — A key element of the kick off meeting is a review of the project plan, including project deliverables, milestones, project schedule, project risk, budget, and key communication management elements, such as regularly scheduled meetings.
If the project deliverable is a new product or service, I have the Sales manager discuss how the market need has driven the project deployment strategy. By sharing customer needs and how the project will fulfill these requirements, the project team members will understand the real value of their project contributions.
Finally, the kick off meeting must be well planned. This will require sending meeting invitations at least one week prior to the meeting, arranging for off site team members to participate, creating an agenda and distributing project documents to all team members before the meeting.