Project kickoff meetings are a vital part of the success of your project. The groundwork you lay during this critical event will help set the stage for the remainder of the project. Many of the topics we will discuss in this article can be applied to non-remote project managers as well, but we will emphasize specifics that are vital for remote project managers.
In many cases, we may know many of the members on the project team, but this is not always the case especially when your project has hundreds of team members or if team members are located around the globe. The number of team members will dictate how introductions will occur since you won’t have time to introduce everyone if you have a large team. However, with a small team, you will likely have time to make proper introductions. When conducting introductions, we like to make it a little personal and ask the team members to share a few things about themselves. Fun personal topics include their hobbies, the last movie they watched, what is under their bed, and three people they would like to have dinner with and why. If you do ask them to share something personal, to help keep it interesting, you can provide a few topic options and allow the team members to choose what one they may want to answer. Whatever you do, make sure introductions are kept short though. One way to do this is to inform the team members of what should be shared as part of their introductions ahead of the meeting.
Pro Tip: Remote project managers likely use web conferencing tools. If bandwidth allows when someone is introducing themselves ask them to turn on their video. When bandwidth does not allow, you can substitute video with a picture of the team member. Being able to put a face to a name and voice can help team members feel more connected to each other.
Project meeting ground rules
After we complete introductions, it is time to cover the ground rules. Ground rules are an important topic to cover with your team. During the ground rule agenda topic, you will communicate with your team the rules of how meetings will be conducted. The ground rules will cover important meeting etiquette like when it is ok to ask questions, how to ask questions, how and when to respond during a discussion, and how to will handle conflict.