A project kickoff meeting sets the stage for a successful project
Blog: Monday Project Management Blog
There are times in life (and business) where “just jumping in feet first” is the best approach to taking on a new task or project.
There are times when “building the plane on the way up” — while not ideal — is the only way to do it.
Kicking off a new project is not one of those times.
Project kickoff meetings help:
- Set clear expectations
- Align team around common goals
- Answer open questions
- Establish best practices for communication
- Ensure everyone on the team is on the same page
This article will discuss what to include in a project kickoff meeting, some must-dos to ensure a successful outcome, what to do after the meeting, and how monday.com helps with all of it.
6 things you must include in a project kickoff meeting
The list of things to include in a project kickoff meeting could go on indefinitely, but ensuring these 6 make the list gives you and your team a better chance of executing your project flawlessly.
Need some suggestions on how to manage better meetings? Read this blog post now.
1. Introductions of all project stakeholders: While it may sound obvious, this first step — introducing the team — sets the stage for all the others. It’s essential to know all the stakeholders on the team. However, don’t assume everyone knows each other. Better to err on the side of re-introductions.
If your project team is on the larger side (20+), it may not be reasonable time-wise to have each person give a complete, 2-3 minute introduction. Instead, consider the team lead introducing themselves and listing off the folks on their team who will be contributing to the project.
2. Review of the Project Plan: Ideally, all stakeholders have already seen a version of the project plan. Ideally, they were integral in helping shape the project plan. However, it’s still essential to ensure everyone has a copy of the final plan.
The project kickoff meeting is not the time to solicit feedback on the project plan, nor is it the appropriate time to tick through it line by line. Instead, this is the time to review significant milestones, ensure deadlines are included on all necessary calendars, and check project deliverables.
Need help writing your project plan? Check out these 6 simple steps.
3. Discussion around project roles and responsibilities: Again, at this point, the project roles and responsibilities should be clearly defined. At the project kickoff meeting, it’s essential to review these items, answer any and all questions, and plan for contingencies.
Who is the backup should the lead be out of town for a few days/weeks? Is one part of the project dependent on the other? If yes (and the answer is undoubtedly yes), who is responsible should a task go sideways?
4. Establish communication channels: There is not a shortage of communication channels these days. From email to text to phone to Slack/Teams … it’s important to know which channel to use and when.
Sidenote: if your Work OS is monday.com, we make it pretty easy to communicate within our platform.
Be sure to establish these communication channel norms upfront to reduce redundancy and lost messages.
5. Agreement on what software will be used: For a project to run smoothly, you will need a project management solution — software to help keep the project running on time, within budget, and with (relatively) few bumps along the way.
We recommend (of course) starting with one of the many monday.com templates — specifically from our group of project management ones: Single project, advanced single project, advanced project management, or project requests and approvals.
The advanced project management template serves as a nice starting one for more complex projects.
This template makes it easy to plan, track, and manage complex projects across multiple teams and departments. Teams can streamline project requests and get a high-level view of the entire portfolio.
During the kickoff meeting, be sure to share the various board views available and communicate to the team they can use the view that best suits their needs:
6. Establish automations and integrations: At the project kickoff meeting, establish and/or review the various automations and integrations that are part of your project plan.
At monday.com, our automations mean repetitive work is no more! Customizable automations can be set up within minutes. Teams can instantly send emails when due dates arrive and receive real-time notifications when tasks are completed.
Integrations help to connect monday.com with the tools you already use. From Outlook to Dropbox to Eventbrite to Slack, we have you covered:
Many of our integrations use “no-code” automation recipes to combine the best of both worlds.
Some project kickoff meeting do’s
When setting the project kickoff meeting agenda, there are a few items you want to do:
- Ensure every voice is heard
- Answer all questions
- Review project goals and expectations
- Talk through the high-level project plan
- Lead with a personable and upbeat tone
- Invite all stakeholders
- Share the statement of work, if applicable
- Discuss the scope of the project
You know your project kickoff meeting has been successful when the team leaves energized, motivated, informed, and ready to start working on the project.
But before you officially start working on the project, there is one more thing to do.
After the kickoff meeting …
You knocked it out of the park.
Stakeholders are well-informed, happy, and excited to get started on the project.
After the kickoff meeting, be sure to:
(a) Follow-up on all action items
(b) Send a summary of the meeting: both written and recorded versions
(c) Ensure all stakeholders are included on necessary communications and project boards
(d) Clearly outline next steps
And NOW it’s time to do that work!
Monday.com helps teams with before and after the project kickoff meeting
As mentioned above, monday.com is your Work OS solution — the visual platform that helps your team manage a project from start to finish.
Our Work OS helps teams plan, organize, and track all of your team’s work in one place.
Choose from over 200 templates and then customize your board (or “visual super table”) to fit your specific project news. Create the workflow of your dreams.
Groups, items, sub-items and updates are synced in real-time to keep everything within the context of your actual project, workflow, process, or anything else. Status buttons reflect your team’s actual work, so all your updates are in one place. Notify team members, add files, and link boards together, so it’s easy to keep track of what’s going on.
There is just so much you can do. The options are endless.
When you are ready to start your next project … to plan your project kickoff meeting, we are here for you.
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