How to kick off a project
by Joana Eltjona Ymeraj
12 January 2022
You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to understand the importance of clearly starting a project. But a bit like heading into space, if your team is slightly astray at the start of a project it can have an enormous impact on where you finish up. A project kickoff meeting is your chance to get your entire team on the same page and moving in the proper direction from the beginning.
The main purpose of a project kickoff meeting is to create consensus and excitement around the core aspects of your project including the main objective, high-level scope, proposed schedule, responsibilities, and all assumptions that happened during the planning. It may be tempting to leap right into the project details you’re excited about, but as we said before, context is king when it involves preparing for your project kickoff.
At the beginning of your project kickoff meeting, you want to make sure that everyone’s coming in with a similar level of information. That means asking a couple of key questions, such as:
- Do introductions need to be made? Is everyone familiar with the project and its scope?
- Is everyone familiar with the project and its scope?
- Does the team understand how this project will fit into the larger company goals?
This is particularly important when working with the clients or stakeholders. But, even in a small company, if a project involves creating a team of people who have never worked together before, you should start the meeting by introducing the team and laying out the rules you’ll be working by.
Every project is unique. And what you discuss thoroughly during your project kickoff meeting will rely upon who’s there and what sort of project you’re running.
However, at a minimum, your kickoff meeting should cover some key aspects like a summary of the project, moving the scope from the high-level to the specifics, roles and responsibilities, timelines, milestones,, and a Q/A session.
Ideally, you should have already shared the project plan in the meeting agenda for team members to have read it over before the meeting. During the project kickoff meeting, you don’t need to go over every detail of the project plan—instead, focus on key information like the project timeline, important milestones, or key deliverables.
Studies have shown that the average worker spends 60% of their time at work trying to find information and searching for documents. All of this work about work means your team has less time to concentrate on their high-impact work.
Make sure to empower your team to be efficient, by having a central source for all key project work. If all of your project information is in one place,then your team can quickly find project documents, get updates, check on relevant project milestones, and stay updated on deliverables.
Once you’ve held your project kickoff meeting, you’re able to start on your project work. The best way to keep clarity after your project has kicked off is to have a work management tool, as a central source of information and collaboration By sharing all of your work, status updates, and messages in one place, you’ll not only get team members on the same page—you can keep them there.