What is the first thing you should do to get off on the right foot with on your new project? Kick if off!
A kick-off meeting is a critical step in establishing a strong foundation for your work. It's a way to guide a project to success from the very start.
Kickoff meetings not only capture the vision and goals of the project. A kickoff meeting can also be a place to break the ice, test the waters and forge relationships with other team members.It also allows you to kick off an action plan for the meeting and follow up to make sure the project is moving forward as planned.
Structuring your kick-off meeting agenda
You should try to have an agenda in place before a meeting like this, and this kick-off meeting agenda template will help. You generally find that having an agenda will help keep the meeting on track and, more importantly, help you get the most out of it (avoiding either getting too far off track or spending too much time on one subject).
Keep in mind that when you first meet with individuals for such a kick-off meeting, it is often helpful for them to get a general sense of what your project will require so they can begin to prepare accordingly.
By having a kick-off meeting agenda, you can walk them through the major points that they will need to know in advance of a subsequent task list. This will help them prepare to discuss their capacity to complete their tasks. Are they tied up with other projects/dead lines or do they have time to work on this project?
You should also expect that these individuals will have questions for you during your kick-off meeting.
Tips for planning the agenda for your kick-off meeting
- Write yourself a list of the topics you will cover during the meeting. Indicate which items are most relevant to who
- Ask yourself if there are any participants who cannot attend, and find out how you can contact them
- Make sure the time period is not too long for all attendees.
- Ask yourself if there are any project materials participants need to prepare ahead of time, or review ahead of time
Other things to keep in mind about your kick-off meeting template
Do not overload the kick-off meeting agenda with too much detail. Keep it simple, short, sweet and get started with minimal confusion. Ideally stick to what is most important. There will be plenty of time for detail as the project progresses.
If possible, the person leading the meeting should incorporate a few question and answer stops into the meeting to allow time for attendees to ask any questions they may have about the project.
Kick-Off Meeting Best Practices
-Always set expectations at the onset of a meeting.
-Keep it real and ensure that everyone is on the same page throughout the meeting. This helps to increase buy-in.
-Set aside enough time for your meeting. Try to schedule meetings within a 1-hour window or less.
-The primary purpose of any kick-off meeting should be to set up the project for success.
-Focus on the main project and don't get sidetracked into minor issues.
-If needed, write up the meeting minutes and summarize important points with participants after the meeting is over.
-Put your "notes" in a format that you can easily get to, like a Hugo doc. This is a great time saver for you so you can clear up your thoughts and observations. You could also use Microsoft OneNote, Google Drive, Word, or any other notes/memo software.
-If you have attendees from more than one firm, include an agenda that sets out the expectations for each participant's role on the project.
-Be sure to give everyone one copy of the agenda and ensure that everyone has received it prior to meeting time.