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The Perfect Kickoff

Tips for Holding a Great Project Kickoff

Do you hold Project Kickoffs in your organization?

What do they usually look like? Who runs them? What's the agenda? Here are some tips to help you, your team, and your projects, get started on the right foot during a great kickoff!



1) Set the Tone for the Duration of the Project


multiracial-group-five-friends-having-coffee-togetherThe Project Kickoff is a huge moment in the lifecycle of your project. In many cases, this is the first time your team will meet each other and assemble in one shared space (physical or virtual). You have a greater advantage, but also a greater challenge, in a physical meeting space because you can begin to get to know your team as people--how will they interact with each other? Who's getting along, who knows each other, and who's avoiding whom?

Take some time to help your team get to know each other--take five minutes to incorporate something fun if you can, even if it's something simple like sharing a favorite restaurant or the last vacation everyone took.


2) Paint the Big Picture

This is a critical chance to be purely strategic during the course of this project--from here on out, the team's focus will be primarily tactical. So take advantage of this moment and inspire the team with the big picture end goal of this project. Who will it help? What will the organization or the customers' world look like once it's finished? Think of this as an opportunity to lay out a roadmap with the team--you're essentially gathering around a table and looking at the journey you're about to embark on together, and thinking about how you'll get there.


3) Establish Group Norms

6322This is the chance to set expectations for how you'll interact with each other going forward. If you miss this chance, you'll have a harder time responding effectively later. How will you interact with each other? What are everyone's communication preferences? Will you have a shared work space or a War Room? Where are finished documents going? What are expectations when an unplanned obstacle pops up?


4) This Is a Communication that Matters

We don't all put the same amount of effort into every task or every communication. This is one of those moments when any extra effort will pay off. Anything you can do to help rally the team and get to know everyone can help you down the road when you need to tap into how that person thinks, works, and communicates. Our 4 Things to Know for a Communication that Matters can help you prepare for your kickoff so you can lead your team to victory!

a) Your Purpose - Why are you here as a team? Why is your organization investing money and people-hours into this endeavor? If you're not sure about your purpose, figure out what problem you're trying to solve by leveraging tips from our proven problem solving process.

b) Your Preference - What's your natural communication style? How do you respond to stress? What feedback have you received in the past that you can take into account as you prepare for this meeting?

c) Your Audience - How will you introduce everyone? What specific things can you do during this meeting to prepare your team for the journey ahead?

d) Your plan - Plan it, practice it, and Do What You Said You Would Do!


How do you handle your project kickoffs? How do you do virtual kickoff meetings? Let us know on social media!

Topics: Sinikka Waugh, Project Management & Business Analysis

Sinikka Waugh

About the Author

Sinikka Waugh

Sinikka Waugh is a recognized leader in understanding people and in adapting tools, techniques, and processes to meet the demands of the situation at hand. Since 2006, Sinikka has provided compassionate leadership in transformation initiatives. When she isn’t in front of a class, she enjoys putting her background in English and French Literature to work, by writing blogs about the subjects she teaches every day. Are you ready? If you are, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us!


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