By Laura Bamberg – Global Sales Administrator
How do you use a project management kickoff meeting to ensure your team effectively communicates during your project? Michael Sisco wrote that this is the single best occasion to give common goals to the team and to motivate them.
When I think back to all the meetings I sat through at previous companies, mostly I remember how useless many of them seemed. It made me think about what all those facilitators could have done to better engage us for the duration of the work ahead. A great kickoff meeting is simply a start to making this happen, but it is very important to set the right tone of this meeting and to cover as much of the “big” stuff as quickly but clearly as possible.
The more I learn about project management, the more I realize how important two things are – planning and documentation. Sisco recommends using a clear-cut agenda, and I would advise that you have it distributed before the meeting (but not more than a day or two so that it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle). Let everyone know that if they have something to add it will be addressed at your next meeting.
The length of the meeting depends on the magnitude of the project. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- If the team is newly put together, doesn’t know each other well, or if there are several new members to an existing team, explain everyone’s roles. If there is a high level of distrust, work on it now before it blows up in your face mid-project. Also identify stakeholders and brief the team on any necessary information regarding the stakeholders.
- If this is a new team, or there are several new faces, it's also a good idea to discuss your change request policies, and if you don’t use a change control board, explain what methods will be used to avoid deviating from these policies down the line.
- Review significant expectations, and let everyone know there will be time to discuss these in greater depth when the need arises so that you don’t slow down the meeting pace.