All project meetings should be important, but the project kickoff meeting is the most crucial because it sets the tone and vision of the entire project. You’ll want to get this meeting right so everyone starts out motivated, focused and informed. Craft a project kickoff meeting agenda to help you lead an attention-grabbing meeting that covers all the key points of your project.
Are You Ready To Host a Kickoff Meeting?
Whether you are running a small, large, informal or formal project, you want to start it off right with an informative project kickoff meeting. However, you can’t have a worthwhile project kickoff meeting unless you’ve done the necessary project planning first.
To make sure your project has the tools it needs to succeed, see our tips and resources on project planning before you host a project kickoff meeting. This is part of project planning. A solid project plan ensures that you’ll have all your ducks in a row before you gather everyone together for a meeting.
If you’re not a certified project manager, don’t worry. You can still learn a lot by studying the steps professional project managers take to execute a successful project. This PM project kickoff checklist can provide you with a roadmap of what you may need to include in your project kickoff meeting agenda.
Planning the Kickoff Meeting
As mentioned, a project kickoff meeting marks the start of the project. If your project is informal, you might just be presenting to your team. If you’re running a formal PM project, there are often key stakeholders in attendance, as well as the project team and possibly even clients. Either way, here is where you define the best practices for the project, along with the project vision, plan, processes and expectations.
There are a number of basic questions to consider when planning your project kickoff meeting, such as:
- How long should the meeting be?
- When should it be scheduled?
- Who should attend?
- Where should it be held?
- Should you print out documents?
- Do computers or projectors need to be set up?
- Should you bring treats, like donuts or bagels?
Crafting the Kickoff Meeting Agenda
Now that you’ve considered some of the basics of the meeting, it’s time to make your agenda and plan what you are actually going to say to the attendees. If you are running an informal project, your meeting might be casual and you may only need to touch on a few metrics, depending on your audience. For help addressing those metrics, read on to see what project managers include in their kickoff meeting agenda.
If you are a project manager, then you’re in luck because we have everything you need to consider for your meeting agenda in the following section.
- Basics: Write down the name and/or number of the project being discussed, where that meeting is being held, who the project manager and project owner are, as well as a call-in number if there are members who will be joining remotely. Finally, note the date and time of the meeting.
- Attendance: List the people attending the meeting by name and their role in the project. You want to have a full list of those who were there. New people may come into the project later, and then they can be brought up to speed and added to the list of those who have been briefed.
- Assignments: Assign tasks related specifically to the meeting. One person might be responsible for having all those in attendance sign in, so you can have a record of those who participated in the meeting. Another person could act as note taker and record all action items and issues.
- Introductions: Consider including a meeting icebreaker to get everyone focused and into meeting mode. Then, outline a brief opening statement, noting the purpose of the meeting and then introduce the project team and their roles. Allow time for the project sponsors to introduce themselves and make a brief statement, if they want.
- Project: Write a description of the project and the reason it is being initiated. Tell the group what the benefits of the project are. Detail the goals and what the success criteria is for the project. What you’re doing here is more than disseminating information, you’re rallying the troops to get buy-in and to fully engage and inspire the team.
- Methodology: Explain the methodology you’ve chosen to manage the project. Tell the group the way you’re going to execute the project. Describe the type of methodology or combination of methodologies and how they work in relationship to the project. Explain why you picked this route and provide historical data to back it up, if possible.
- Planning: This will be a more extensive portion of the meeting time, as you start with the project management plan and how it works. Discuss the assumption log, which is how you will track the validation of these assumptions throughout the project. Also, review the scope management plan, as well as change and control procedures. Then there’s the time management plan, which includes the schedule and project milestones. Cost management, such as invoicing, expenses, receipts, timesheets and travel costs are also discussed. With the quality management plan, you’ll outline the process. There’s also a human resource management plan that includes a contact list with roles, responsibilities, training needs and schedule availability. Explain the communications management plan, outlining how and how often communications will be conducted over the course of the project. The risk management plan will be discussed and the procurement management plan, ending with a review of the stakeholder register.
- Regulations: Acknowledge the standards for the project, as well as regulations and/or laws that apply. You can also examine the client requirements at this time, and any other requirements for other organizations related to the project.
- Review: Outline a quick review of everything to remind everyone present of the action items discussed during the meeting. Have the note taker read the action items and review them with the group. Note the date of the first client review meeting and the first project status meeting.
- Q&A: Remind the note taker you assigned to capture the discussion in this part of the meeting. Then open the floor to questions. Answer all questions, so no one leaves the meeting without a clear path forward.
- Documentation: Collect all meeting documents, such as the sign-in sheet, action items and Q&A notes.
- Close: Thank everyone for attending and participating. Note that meeting minutes will be distributed shortly to all.
Now that you know the details of a successful project kickoff meeting agenda, it’s time to make your own!
Once you’ve crafted an agenda for the project kickoff meeting, you’re on your way to executing a successful project. But without the right tools, that project is going to have a hard time reaching the goals you’ve set. ProjectManager.com is a cloud-based project management software that provides you with a real-time dashboard, easy reporting tools and a collaborative platform that gives your team the means to get the job done. Take a free 30-day trial and see how it can help you.