The project kickoff is the “official” start of the project, after contracts have been signed, a development environment provisioned, team training is completed and everyone is ready to go. It is a great opportunity for the entire team to come together, in person whenever possible, and have a chance to meet and get to know each other. Building rapport right from the start gives your team a chance to build trust and confidence that together, this team can lead the project to successful completion.
Before the actual kickoff, preparation is needed to put together an agenda to cover:
- Scope for the MLP and initial release.
- Key stakeholders.
- Roles and responsibilities.
- Key risks, assumptions, constraints.
- The governance plan.
- Other project level information which the team should be aware of.
The project kickoff meeting can contribute enormously to the success of the project. It provides the team with a broader understanding of the background, business drivers that led to the project being initiated, a detailed project briefing and discussions about how to make the project successful.
During the project kickoff, the agenda topics listed above should be covered, at a minimum.
For the project delivery team, the project kickoff meeting is an opportunity to learn about the project vision in relationship to the work they are about to start, and provide the team with the sense of organization, stability and personal and team accomplishment plans. It helps commit the team members to a common goal and key information needed to succeed.
A project is usually delivered by many people who join the project at this stage. These new people need to understand what has already been agreed, and how the teams will work together. Setting the right tone and expectations from the start can make or break your project. When the project kick off is well executed, the team hits the ground motivated, focused, and energized.
Prepare for the project kickoff by defining the project kickoff agenda and developing the presentation to be reviewed. A key element of planning the kickoff is to make sure you identify and invite the right individuals who will participate and present at the kickoff, and others who may be needed to answer any questions the team may raise. Plan ahead for any logistics for remote team members and any adjustments you may have to make to accommodate time zone differences. Video conferencing and other tools to help the team members with a virtual “meet and greet” to see each other in real time is also helpful for establishing rapport from the first day.
You should also brief any people joining the project about what has already been agreed, whether those people are from Client, Partner or Pega.
A good kickoff takes planning and preparation. Communicating the shared vision and goals, roles and responsibilities, reviewing the scope for the initial MLP release and establishing the logistics around tools, methodology and other processes are the key attributes for a successful and productive kickoff.