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Kick Off Meetings Print
The Kick Off Meeting is probably the most important project meeting to be held. It is the first time the whole project team is assembled in the one place and is the ideal opportunity for the project manager to meet his team and gain commitment from them. The Kick Off Meeting takes place after the Project Sponsor and the Project Steering Committee -
  • have made the decision to enter the execution phase of the project
  • Have approved the Project Plan

Purpose

The purpose of the Kick Off Meeting is that the project team will -

  • Clarify and understand the project goals and objectives
  • Know the individual roles and responsibilities
  • Know the interdependence with other projects
  • Know the points of contact within the project team
  • Commit to the success of the project

The Kick Off Meeting is a team building exercise.

The Kick Off Meeting will also facilitate the smooth running of the project because all team members will understand the 'how' and the 'why' of the project administration and 'housekeeping'.

Participants

The participants of the Kick Off Meeting should include -

  • Project Sponsor
  • Project Manager
  • Sub-project Managers
  • Resource Owners
  • Key Human Resources

The sponsor and the project manager should also consider inviting key personnel from the customer's project team. It is an ideal opportunity to 'break the ice' and gain a common understanding of the objectives and project priorities.

Top executives from the customer and from the performing organisation should also be seen. They can perhaps join late in the morning, make their moral-boosting speeches and meet the project team over lunch.

Preparation

Preparation is the key to success.

The project manager and his admin team are responsible for organising the Kick Off Meeting.

The Kick Off Meeting should be an event. It should be staged as such. The participants should be made to feel important. Spend some money. It's in the budget after all.

A suitable venue should be chosen, away from the normal work place. The event should take the whole day, minimum. The room should be large enough to be comfortable with room to move around. All the facilities should be available, set up and tested (Video, overhead projector, screen, light dimmer etc.).
Don't forget the 'give aways'. Project caps, T-shirts, prizes for the team building fun and games.

Agenda

A suggested agenda looks like this:

1 Introduction Sponsor - Welcoming address.
Project Manager - Describes the day ahead. The agenda. The housekeeping rules (mobile phones off, when/where refreshments, location of bathrooms etc.).
2 Presentation of participants Participants introduce themselves, describes their concerns and expectations. 3 minutes each.
3 Project Overview Sponsor - Backgound to the project, who the customer is, why it's important to be successful, future opportunities. Customer's needs and expectations. High level Project Scope.
4 Project Goals and Objectives Project Manager - presents the project goals, objectives, key milestones, critical success factors.
5 Project Organisation Project Manager - presents the organisation chart along with the roles and responsibilities of each member of the team.
6 Project Plan Project Manager - presents the Project Plan. This is usually a bar chart showing major activities and milestones. However the Project Plan document should also be distributed and discussed.
7 Project methods and tools Project Manager - describes the project management model, the documentation, the processes and highlights the way progress is monitored, risk is managed and change requests controlled.
8 Work methods and tools Operations Manager (or equivalent) - describes how the work will be carried out. By direct labour, subcontractors, the need for special equipment. How quality is managed.
9 Communications management Project Manager - describes the contractual reporting routines then describes the needs of the project and how this data is to be collected.
10 Risk analysis Project Manager/External Facilitator - A group risk assessment is then carried out. This can take many forms and is usually choreographed by an outside facilitator.
11 Summing up Project Manager - Summarizes the day and reminds everybody of the action points with target completion dates.
12 Team building activity Human Resource Dept Representative - The Kick Off Meeting should end with some form of team building activity. This is best managed by an experienced facilitator and is usually a combination of physical and mental agility with the emphasis on team working.

Notes:

  • Include time for the guest speaker.
  • If the customer's project manager is participating then he/she should be encouraged to present critical issues from the customers perspective.

 

These practical guidelines are a good introduction on the how and why and the importance of a successful Kick Off Meeting. Each Kick Off Meeting, like the project itself, is a unique event, treat it as such and have fun.

Jeb Riordan (c) 2000

About the Author:
Jeb Riordan. contributing editor,
Jeb is a working project manager. He is a member of the Project Management Institute and has gained the qualification of Project Management professional (PMP). 

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