What makes a project successful? There are a number of things that could determine the success of a project, but holding a good kickoff meeting will definitely set the right pace for a successful project. Before you start working on a project, you first need to get the right people together and agree on shared goals and objectives.
A project kick-off meeting is the first meeting with the project team and the client of the project. It involves everyone who contributes to the execution of a project and it is used to establish common project goals and objectives.
Commonly, different stakeholders will need to be involved in this meeting -project managers, project team, product team, sponsors, and management- because the information shared during this event will help to set the vision and scope of team assignments. The kick-off meeting will help to establish proper communication between different parties, to align expectations, establish timelines, and agree on milestones. At the end of the session, everyone should have a clear understanding of what a successful project will look like.
Project managers should get the whole team together and hold kick-off meetings at the beginning of a project. Team members can introduce each other and share their expectations for the project. Kick-off meetings can also take place after the initiation of smaller projects, or when larger projects are about to start. You can hold one meeting prior to project execution (recommended for smaller projects), or schedule different meetings for each phase of larger projects.
Holding kick-off meetings will ensure everyone understands their role, and by setting clear expectations from the get-go, team members can stay on track and motivated about their role in the execution of the project. Kick-off meetings also facilitate communication between project members and enable team collaboration. These are some of the key points your will want to cover and discuss during a kick-off meeting:
Assign a note-taker. Start by assigning a team member as a note-taker. This person should take responsibility for writing down notes, action steps, questions, commitments, and more. At the end of the session, go over each question and make sure everyone is aligned.
Introduce team members. Let everyone introduce each other and get to know one another. Ice breakers are a great way to get team members acquainted with each other, build a connection, and improve collaboration.
Define the project background, scope, and deliverables. During your kick-off meeting, you’re expected to provide context that will help your team navigate a successful project. This means you need to discuss the project background, scope, deliverables, and timeline. Be specific about each topic and answer questions. Make sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to your project’s next steps, and what it needs to be accomplished.
Assign team roles. Discuss everyone’s roles and responsibilities during the entire project life-cycle. Include hand-offs and cross-functional relationships.
Define milestones. Establishing a timeline for your work and defining when to share progress is critical. Take the time to create a baseline for how -and when- you and your team plan on sharing progress and reviewing milestones. This includes when your client will be receiving check-ins, too.
Discuss next steps. Review goals and action items and make sure everyone has access to the necessary resources and tools.
What is our goal? Who needs to be involved? How will we measure success? Why was this project approved? These are all typical questions teams can have prior to project execution. A project kick-off meeting is the perfect place to answer these questions, align your team members, and set the path to project success. Kick-off meetings should be used for every type of project, regardless if they’re small or large. But if you want your kick-off meetings to be truly effective, you need to prepare in advance. The good news is that you can plan, organize and execute your kick-off meetings in one single place by using Instagantt. Instagantt is an online Gantt chart software for project management that helps teams all around the world plan, coordinate, schedule, and execute their projects, from beginning to end. Teams can rely on Instagantt to create professional-looking Gantt charts in a matter of minutes and to manage their work efficiently by being able to visualize relevant project-related information such as deadlines, resources, and budget, and to keep tasks, conversations, and documents in a single, centralized location.