The Ultimate Guide to How to Run Project Kickoff Meetings

The Ultimate Guide to How to Run Project Kickoff Meetings

September 30, 2022 Off By Elma

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Every project starts somewhere. How you start them can have a major impact on how the rest of the project and client relationship will go. A client project kickoff meeting should be conducted well to ensure success. If you do it wrong, you could find your project or relationship in a rut before you even start.
This guide will show you how to properly lead a project kickoff meeting. It will help you and your team get the answers you need to make your project a success. I will explain the purpose of a kickoff, the reasons for having a “pre-kickoff”, what you should cover in the meeting and tips for leading it.
This article:
What is a Project Kickoff Meeting?
The Pre-Kickoff Meeting
What is the purpose of the Client Kickoff Meeting?
What to Cover in the Meeting (+ Agenda Template).
You can also read more about this topic here:
Complete Guide to Project Kickoffs + Starting projects Right
What is the purpose of a Project Kickoff Meeting?
What should be covered at a Project Kickoff Meeting
Project Kickoff Meeting Agenda (Download)
Presentation at Project Kickoff Meeting: What to Include
How To Run Internal Project Kickoffs (+ Agenda Template)
But first, what is a Project Kickoff Meeting?
The first meeting between a project team member and the client/sponsor of a project is called a “project kickoff meeting”. It is used to kick off a new project.
It will take place after contracts are signed and agreement has been reached on the statement of work (SoW), cost estimates, costs, and timeline. However, this paperwork can sometimes be delayed by new clients. You will likely have begun the project planning phase of your project lifecycle.
The kickoff meeting for client projects is a chance to hear from the client, their project team, and other key stakeholders about the project. It gives them a better understanding of the business drivers and project background that led to the project being started, reviews the project brief, then discusses how to make it a success.
A Note on Scope:
The kickoff meeting should not be about the project scope. It’s a chance to meet with project stakeholders and discuss expectations about milestones, review cycles, and how the process can be simplified.
You should steer the conversation away from project management. There are many people in the room and you want to avoid any discussions that could pressure you into expanding the scope of the project.
Before you think about the client project kickoff meetings, make sure you have an internal project kickoff meeting. Before you meet with the client, it’s important to have an initial pre-kickoff meeting.
The Pre-Kickoff Meeting
If possible, make an excuse to meet with the client prior to the kickoff meeting to catch-up. This is a simple way of increasing the chances that the kickoff meeting goes well and to make sure that the kickoff meeting with the stakeholders and team is as productive and efficient as possible.
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This meeting would be ideal if you could meet in person over lunch or coffee, but in the event of an emergency, it can be done via Skype or phone. It is important to meet with the client before the real’ kickoff meeting. This is done to set expectations and not be bound by the political context of the’real’ kickoff meetings. It’s also a chance to:
Establish a rapport with your client
Communicate important information to your team and project leaders
To refine the agenda, gather as much information as possible before the kickoff meeting.
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