“Bravo! We’ve received a new project from that client we’ve been looking forward to work for. Let’s arrange for a quick project kickoff meeting and begin demonstrating our excellence to them”, says the manager. Every single staff member associated with the project will enter the room with great enthusiasm, as the “I like new beginnings” human tendency pops out. Hours passed by and the team walks out with a sense of achievement as they feel they have figured out the most efficient way to deal with the project. Let’s fast forward this scenario to a few months from now.
The project has been completed successfully, leaving both the client and manager happy and satisfied. One of the associates came across the design plan that was made during the kickoff meeting and tried to compare it with the final product. To his surprise, they appeared to be two totally different products.
This is a very common phenomenon to each of us. We call the reason for this change as ‘evolution of ideas with time’ and ‘increasing clarity on requirements’. But, does that mean the valuable time spent during the kickoff is losing its value?
Here are a few tips to make sure that your kickoff meetings are meaningful.
- Cultivate Responsibility: Your job begins with cultivating responsibility among the members of your team and defining their roles in the course development clearly. Also, that you have ‘substitutes’ who can handle tasks in the absence of ‘regular’ team members. This goes a long way in ensuring that the project stays on track.
- Kickoff team work: The kickoff meeting is your first chance to encourage your team members to perform in their roles actively. Choose eLearning tools and resources in such a way that the needs of both the learners and your team members are accomodated. For instance, the tools that you choose must offer flexibility to both your learners and designers.
- Sketch an outline: Create a rough outline during your kick-off meeting. It’s a best practice to share this outline with the team members. This will enable the team members to go through the outline and voice concerns if any.
- Discuss the essentials of a project: It’s obvious that we will be discussing about the elearning course duration, browsers, technical requirements, ipad compatibility, delivery platforms, etc. during the kickoff meeting. In addition to the above details, it’s a best practice to discuss the ‘assaults’ on the project schedule that may take place during the course development. This enables us to discuss and create alternative solutions to the problems that may arise.
- Specify the role of each member in a project: Once we are done with the objectives and deadlines of the project, the next important step is to assign the wok to the team members based on their efficiency. Break down your project development into small units and then decide which member of your team is going to handle which unit. Also, specify the tasks that each resource has to perform in order to meet the objectives.
- Always give time for questions and feedback: After the meeting, always give a chance to the team members to ask their queries or questions regarding the project. If there are no questions, you can then ask for their feedback on various aspects of your project.
I am sure that if you follow the above mentioned tips, your kick-off meeting is going to be productive and yield results. Please do share your thoughts and opinions on the same.