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Conducting Successful Kick-off Meetings

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Conducting Successful Kick-off Meetings

A kick-off meeting is an opportunity to get everyone in the team on the same page. At the same time, it is a challenge for you, the team leader, in that you need to plan well to meet the above objective. You need to plan such that at the end of the meeting, every participant goes out with clarity as to what his or her role in the project is. Each participant should also know for sure how he or she is going to perform his individual part, with whom he or she will work and what the communication channels are.

Here are a few suggestions on preparing for your kick-off meeting.

Prepare a list of Project Objectives and Expectations

Be clear about project objectives and expectations. It would help if you can write them down. Once you decide on the objectives, you will be in a position to decide on other aspects such as a project vision, team selection, resource allocation so on and so forth.

Identify Resources

Selecting the right blend of resources helps you maintain a smooth project flow. You need to select your team depending on the nature, complexity and size of the project. At the same time, you need to delineate your team’s roles, responsibilities and timelines to finish each phase of the project. You need to explain to them what resources they need, where they can find them and when and how much they can use.

Ensure that they have proper communication channels such as e-mails, phone lines, etc. to communicate among themselves and with other support teams. This will help them coordinate well with others and achieve their goals within the timelines.

Develop an Agenda and Circulate it to the Team Members

With the above aspects in view, develop an agenda for the kick-off meeting and communicate it to the participants. This will give them an idea about what you expect of them and they can be prepared to participate in the meeting. They can even have an idea about areas in which they need clarity and prepare a list of questions for the meeting. This will make the meeting interesting with active participation by the members.

Begin the Meeting on a Friendly Note

At the meeting, do not take an “I-am-the-boss” kind of tone while briefing participants about the project. Start by saying that it’s fun to work on the project. A jovial atmosphere encourages better participation. Take questions liberally and clear their doubts promptly.

Encourage the team to speak their minds. Ask them what their assumptions are about the project and what they think its success factors are. Enable them to identify the potential problem areas in the project and their plans to address them. A well-planned kick-off meeting will set a positive tone for the rest of the project completion.

Do share your thoughts on the same.

View the presentation on Ways To Run An Effective Brainstorming Session

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  • The comments provided are great and encourage forethought for planning a kick-off meeting. I use two additional techniques when conducting similar meetings. Building on what Asma wrote on setting objectives and expectations – I attempt to be very ‘precise’ in that step and ensure that all team members contribute their thoughts. The other technique that I find to be very effective is to have each team member verbalize their next immediate steps in the project process. I do this at the end of the meeting just before adjourning. It sounds elementary, but it provides a last chance of clarification or misunderstanding as well as a confirmation of each team member’s commitment.

    Cheers,
    Joe Sommers

  • These articles always help me as I study project management. Thank you.

    Another article has the title, “Storytelling an Effective Training Method!” Do you suggest including a motivational apeech that includes storytelling, as well as using examples to illustrate important points during other parts of the meeting?

  • Hi Rich,

    Yes, storytelling motivates, inspires, and influences other’s opinions, attitudes and actions. Stories transform rational, logical facts into an interesting depiction of information that attracts attention and engages the ‘whole brain’ stimulating individuals both intellectually and emotionally.

    Listeners lower their defensive barriers, open their ears and mind. It’s a simple, natural yet highly effective way to communicate with others.

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  • There are all very good advice. A relaxed atmosphere allow the different attendees to motivate and inspire them for new ideas. They have less pressure and feel comfortable to speak up at the meeting. A key success for a kick-off meeting.