Used in most organizations to usher the start of a new project, the kick-off meetings have become a key if not a crucial component of any project. How do you know if you are ready to hold that meeting and if it will have the impact that it is intended to? Join me in this article where we review some key areas of consideration for a good kick-off meeting.
I don’t think it would be an over exaggeration to say that all over the world project kick-off meetings are held every day and get a lot of people mobilized around the start of projects. I have personally chaired and been invited to my share of kick-off meeting over the last twenty-five plus years.
Some kick-off meetings are relatively small and held soon after a good portion of the planning is defined while other larger ones are held just before execution starts. They are often catered affairs with a great number of invitees and a lot of eyes on the project to come. In PMI®’s recent 6th edition of the PMBOK® Guide (pg. 86), the kick-off meeting is described as being “associated with the end of planning and the start of executing. Its purpose is to communicate the objectives of the project, gain the commitment of the team for the project, and explain the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder.” 1
Whatever the size, complexity or number of attendees your kick-off meeting has they remain for most part the same in what a project manager is trying to achieve with them. You are trying to let everyone know that the project is official and that some of the people will soon have requirements thrust upon them for completion, delivery or review.
It has been my experience and that of several other PMs that for you to have a good and valuable kick-off meeting you should make certain that several items are in place. Let’s review some of the basics.
1. Having a sponsor designated to the project is essential
I have to admit to having experienced this first hand and trust me it was not an easy lesson to learn. The sponsor should always be assigned to the project being kicked-off and should also be the first person to be invited, the rest of the meeting should be dependent on him/her being able to attend.
You will not have more than one project where you break this rule before you do not go against this rule ever again.
Sylvie Edwards, PMP, MCPM, STDC, CMP, FPMAC has 25 years of project management experience spanning various industries and is the owner of SRE Solutions, catering to clients in need of project management course development, education, project risk management, PMO setup/evaluation or recovery services. She has worked with one of the top five consulting firm, where she led projects in the information technology, banking, government, and securities sectors as well as being a manager in the risk management practice. Sylvie writes about risk management, communication, and PMO.