The kickoff meeting of your project is the start of an exciting adventure. As a project manager, you will be leading your team forward with the vision of achieving the goals you have set for the project.
To help you get started with your project’s kickoff meeting, here are some tips that you can consider and apply to ensure that the event will be a success:
1. Plan the Setting
If this kickoff meeting will be the first chance for everyone in the team to meet each other, see to it that the space where you are going to have the meeting can be accessed easily and where people can settle in and be comfortable before the formalities begin.
If the team members already know each other, let them warm up by giving them a chance to have some small talk and catch up with other team members before the start of the meeting proper.
Be ready on the perception that you will set for the team members in this meeting because it will set the tone for the duration of your collaboration together as a team.
Pro Tip: get snacks, drinks and whatever needs to make everyone happy and comfortable.
2. Present the Big Picture
When you will be setting the agenda, present the big picture and less about the little details. The kickoff meeting is about building up the momentum and excitement. Discussions about specific assignments and tasks can be done on the following meetings. What is important for the kickoff meeting is establishing excitement and clarity among the team members.
Remember that the main goal of the meeting is to get started and set the expectations. It is also a time when you will encourage openness in communication and build your credibility as the project manager.
Pro Tip: shared purpose is most important for creating team spirit and motivation, focus on that.
3. Setting the Agenda
The project’s kickoff meeting is your first chance to lead the team and establish a common culture among everyone involved. It is best if you can build good communication, preparation, transparency, as well as momentum-building. If you can do all these, then you will have had a successful first meeting. For your agenda, don’t forget to include these important parts:
- Welcome and introductions
- Project overview, purpose, goals, vision, and deliverables
- Roles of each of the team members
- Tools for project management collaboration
- What the next steps are after the kickoff meeting
- Questions and clarifications
- Gratitude for everyone’s participation and commitment
4. Empower Your Team
Apart from the opportunity of getting to know each of the team members as well as understanding the vision of the project, empower them by providing clear directions on what the next steps are going to be. Get everyone involved to be excited about the project that will be built through everybody’s efforts and hard work. Remember to keep this enthusiasm alive as the project moves forward from being just an idea into something that is tangible and concrete.
Pro Tip: everyone wants to be a winner, you need to make them feel like that no matter what is the project status
Wrapping It Up
It may be nerve-racking to lead the kickoff meeting as a project manager, especially if it is your first time doing so. However, you have to be confident in your skills and ability to lead the team. They should feel that they have a strong leader who can lead and inspire everyone to push forward from one level to the next until the goals of the project have been achieved successfully.