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Kick off Meeting

Kick off Meeting

Author: Jeff Carroll

This lesson provides methods for successfully orienting a project team

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Developing Effective Teams

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Source: Image of bullseye, hand playing chess, Creative Commons, Kelly Eddington; Image of meeting people, project manager at whiteboard, arrow, clock, gears, callout box, three people talking, images by Video Scribe, License held by Jeff Carroll.

Video Transcription

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Hi, I'm Jeff. And in this lesson, we'll discuss how a project manager organizes and conducts a project kick off meeting. It's important at the beginning of a project to make sure everyone has the same foundational knowledge. And one method to accomplish this is a kick off meeting. So let's learn about one.

The project kick off meeting can occur any time after a project team has been assembled. Sometimes this occurs as early as phase 1, the project scoping phase. But it can also occur as late as phase 3 when the management of the actual project begins. Each organization might do this differently.

No matter when it is held, the goal of the kickoff meeting will be to orient team members to the goals of the project. And to introduce everyone to the ways in which the project will be managed. It will also be the time to introduce individual and team accountabilities, which we cover in detail in another lesson.

The components of a kick off meeting are as follows: orient team members to the project. For any project phases that have already occurred, the project manager should walk the team through the materials developed and the information discovered during those phases. This could include scope, risks, governance, schedule, and budget. Establish team meeting rules. Discuss when team meanings will be held and what will be expected from members during those meanings.

Review processes. Each project has specific processes that each team member should understand. For example, the criterion methods used to make decisions, the way documentation is created and stored, and the methods used to report on progress, schedule, or risks.

Set expectations. The roles and responsibilities for key team members should be discussed with the entire team. And the expectations for those roles should be shared. Expectations can be set using the RACI method. And this was covered in another lesson. But, remember that RACI helps indicate for each high level activity whether a team member is responsible, accountable, consulted, or informed about the activity.

Expectations can vary by project, but for every project, there are expectations that must be established. Team members should be expected to collaborate on work. Each team member is expected to work with others to create the project deliverables. Issues should be shared and solutions should be worked on as groups.

Participate in team meetings. Each team members should be expected to attend and participate in team meetings. Report on progress. Each team member must report on their time, effort, and percent complete for their assigned tasks. Each members should be aware how they should record this progress.

For time reporting, each team member should know how to report their time spent during the day, whether it is by time sheets, or other methods used by the organization. For effort reporting, a team member should expect to report the actual effort in hours or days that they have spent on task. They should be aware how this impacts the project budget.

And when team members need to spend more effort than estimated on a task, they should know how the project manager expects to be notified, and the process involved to receive approval for the extra effort. Finally, one aspect that should not be forgotten about the kickoff meeting is the opportunity for team building. Clear communication is always the key to team motivation, so the project manager should be prepared for the meeting, and ready to answer any questions from the team.

Team building exercises might be used during the meeting. For example, to help orient team members about the responsibility of team leader's, role playing activities could demonstrate how issues might be handled. A team member might pretend to be concerned about the estimate for a deliverable.

So they could walk through the process to address this issue with their team lead, the project manager, and other members of the team. The project manager should also note those members with specific areas of expertise, and how they might assist others. As always, the team should understand that open lines of communication and the free flow of information are expected.

All right, excellent work. We've learned the goal of a project kick off meeting, what key components are part of any kick off meeting, and how the meeting might be used for team building. Thanks. And have a great day.

Terms to Know
Project Kickoff

A meeting to acquaint team members with one another, inform team members about the project and project plan and establish overall accountabilities.