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Kickoff Meeting in Project Management: Purpose & Agenda

Kickoff Meeting in Project Management: Purpose & Agenda
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  • 0:00 Example of a Kick-Off Meeting
  • 2:00 Definition, Purpose, &…
  • 3:08 Assembling the Agenda
  • 4:16 Tips for Effective…
  • 4:59 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Hector Bird

Hector teaches Project and Program Management courses and has master degrees in Management, Information Systems and Education

Learn about a meeting that can help you perform a successful project - the kick-off meeting. Discover its purpose, the importance of an agenda and some tips you can use to conduct an effective meeting.

Example of a Kick-Off Meeting

Meet Pat, an energetic project manager in the Flags-For-All company. A month ago, Jordan, the company's chief executive officer, assigned Pat a very important and complex project: expanding Flags-For-All's manufacturing operations to produce flags for all the Olympic sports. In assigning the project to Pat, Jordan provided her with some information about its expected results and initial funding. He also gave Pat a list of the company's departments that could be affected by the project (for example, marketing, manufacturing, procurement and distribution).

Pat quickly assembled a team and proceeded to plan the project. In just three weeks, team members put together a plan that included a description of the project's scope, as well as a schedule and an estimated budget. After gaining Jordan's approval, Pat's team began the execution phase of the project by working on the first major item: a design of the manufacturing line used to produce sports flags. At this point, Pat was feeling very pleased. Then things started to fall apart.

Pat started to receive phone calls, text messages and e-mails from other company executives, who began asking questions and raising issues about the Olympic flags project. For example, the Director of Marketing asked, 'How come I was not told about a project that directly impacts my responsibilities?' The Senior Manager of Manufacturing wanted to know, 'How will your project affect our manufacturing facility and warehouse?' The Vice President of Procurement wondered, 'How will your project affect the agreements we have with our suppliers?'

Pat realized that most Flags-For-All managers did not know about the Olympic sports project and how it would affect them. As a result, they may not support the project, mainly because they had not been involved in its planning. And without the managers' support, Pat's project will probably fail. How could Pat have prevented these issues from happening? Well, conducting a kick-off meeting prior to starting the execution of the project could have helped Pat avoid these problems.

Definition, Purpose & Benefits

A project kick-off meeting is an event, which you, the project manager, conduct prior to the end of planning phase and before the start of the execution phase. The participants in the meeting typically include:

  • The people who are planning the project
  • The people who will perform work on the project during the execution phase
  • Representatives whose departments or organizations may be affected by the project
  • Representatives of the organizations that will provide items or information to the project

The main purpose of the kick-off meeting is to ensure that everyone has a good understanding of the project, its plan and its direction. The meeting also has the following benefits:

  • It gives the participants the opportunity to ask questions and clarify assumptions.
  • It helps you and the participants identify current and potential problems.
  • It generates support for your project by involving everyone in the planning phase.

Ideally, you should hold the kick-off meeting at a time and place where all the participants can attend in person. However, it is acceptable for people to attend via a conference call or a Web-based meeting if the people involved in the project do not work in the same location.

Assembling the Agenda

The agenda for a kick-off meeting typically focuses on the following:

  • Sharing information about the project
  • Clarifying roles and responsibilities
  • Identifying and assigning issues

You should develop the agenda and the content of the kick-off meeting with the assistance of your immediate project team. The agenda usually includes the following items:

I. Welcome statements from the project manager

II. Purpose of the meeting

III. Project information:

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