If you have recently become appointed as Project Manager, it can get pretty stressful if you are briefed to work on a new project from scratch. Don't worry. It will turn out fine, if you prepare for it, and if you organize a good project kick off meeting. This sets the tone for the overall success of the project. Preparing this internal and external meeting will help you attain your objective in briefing your team and organizing the general aspects of the project. It will also provide you with the opportunity to set goals and expectations, as well as to lay down the ground rules for your project. It is important that you successfully implement a project kick off meeting, as this will make or break your team's enthusiasm when working on the project. Below are tips on how to prepare a successful project kick off meeting.
- Set up your agenda. Before anything, you have to create goals and objectives for your project. You should also figure out all the elements that need to be discussed during your kick off meeting. These will usually include the timetable for the project, your budget, the risks you may encounter, and the solutions for them, the primary persons to contact, and the ground rules for the project. You need to list these down so you will make sure that you do not miss out on anything.
- Schedule the meeting. To show your team that you respect their time, schedule the meeting with your team a couple of days before your target date. Make sure that you have the venue for it, and that your team will comfortably fit inside the meeting venue. Inviting them a few days in advance will also give them a chance to prepare for the meeting.
- Brief the team clearly. Once the meeting is underway, you should give your team an idea of what you hope to accomplish with your meeting. State your agenda and list them down on a white board or via a presentation, so they can refer to this how the meeting is progressing. Ask your team for any suggestions or ideas on the agenda you have presented. Once done, you must be able to brief them concisely about the project. Make sure that they understand the purpose of the project so you will be sure that you are on the same page.
- Distribute the necessary documents. It is best to provide your team with documents they can refer to throughout the course of the meeting. Give them a copy of the agenda, as well as the project brief. You may prepare extra pens and sheets of paper for them to write on during the course of the meeting.
The secret to a good meeting is to make your team feel that their opinion matters. It is best to let them know that their input is extremely helpful. Get a good discussion going so more ideas will come out, coming up with a collaborative plan. Though a rich discussion is important, you must also be able to recognize when you are going off-track. Make sure that you steer the topics toward the tasks at hand so you do not lose track of time.