Define the Project Team
Next we introduce the project team. Of course, for some of the roles there will be no name yet. Depending on the size of the project and the size of your organization, many of the resources will not have been officially assigned yet, but the roles and responsibilities for each role will be known at this point and can be shared in detail with the customer. At a minimum, the PM and the BA (Business Analyst) have been assigned and both are or should be part of this Kickoff session.
Discuss Risk, Issue and Change Management
At this point, discussions of risks, issues and change management is likely to be brief. Risks and issues will flesh themselves out more during the exploration and design phases of the project. However, how risks and issues will be handled as well as how change and change orders will be handled and executed on the project should be discussed in detail and will be of great interest to the paying customer.
High-Level Project Plan Review
Finally, a quick review of the project plan – at least at a high level – needs to happen. If this is the first time the customer is seeing a project plan, then it probably should not be too quick. Both sides need to discuss each phase, the milestones, deliverables, and overall timeframe as well as all tasks that will be taking place over the next 1-2 months.
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1/3/2009 7:46 AM
The agenda items in your Kick-off meeting are certainly impressive and must contribute to a great project start.
How soon do you hold the meeting after being appointed the PM and how much preparation time do you need for your meeting?
1/3/2009 9:07 AM
Brad, I've seen lots of research into composing the right project team for the right task.
I was curious, you propose that "At a minimum, the PM and the BA (Business Analyst) have been assigned and both are or should be part of this Kickoff session."
Who else do you think comprises the other people who need to be there for a successful kick-off session?
1/3/2009 9:42 AM
Ghani - very good question. Assuming Sales worked the deal and set the initial project timeline for the project at the close of the purchase portion, then the Kickoff date may already be set in stone. If it's not set in stone already, then when you Kickoff the project can depend on a few things: the size of the project, availability of team members on both sides of the project, and whether the project is an internal project or an external project. If it is a large, external project that will last 6 months to a year or more, then it is reasonable to expect to Kickoff in 2-4 weeks. 1-2 weeks of prep time as the PM to review the SOW and put together an agenda, revise or create the initial project schedule and create a presentation should usually be enough. Of course for shorter engagements, internal projects, or projects where the customer's need is critical the Kickoff may be expedited and the prep time could be shorter.
1/3/2009 9:51 AM
Alek - This is a very good question and one I probably should have discussed in more detail. On small, internal projects I have often taken a developer with me for an informal Kickoff designed to confirm high-level requirements and hit the ground running in a meeting with the primary sponsors on the internal business unit/customer side.
However, my post was mainly directed at larger, external projects so I'll address that scenario. Depending on the visibility of the project and the makeup of your organization, from the PM's side the PMO Director may be in attendance as well as a regional VP. In terms of actual delivery personnel, the PM and the BA should be sufficient. Involving a developer or architect at this early stage is probably overkill as there will be detailed project phases to handle the technical design and plenty of involvement on the part of one or more developers at that point.
From the customer side, it's up for grabs. It depends on the project and the business units involved on the customer side. If the project is for an enterprise application, your customer team could - involve at least one individual from every department or business unit that will eventually be involved in design and UAT (user acceptance testing) and ultimate usage of the system. Personally, I feel that for a project Kickoff, that is overkill. The customer should limit attendance to 4-5 individuals and those should include the main project sponsor, possibly someone from IT, and 2-3 SMEs (subject matter experts) who are probably individuals who were intially involved in defining the customer requirements during the sales process.
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1/10/2009 3:41 AM
Great post - thanks. You mention sharing the project schedule with the client during the kick-off. Are you just referring to the tasks and milestones withOUT dates? I'm assuming that even a draft schedule with dates would be impossible to create until the requirements were further fleshed out in the kick-off and following requirement analysis?
1/10/2009 6:03 AM
Lou - a very good question. Actually, I'm referring to a scenario here where this is actually the true kickoff of work on the project. Either Sales has handed it off to the delivery team and work has started or the delivery team has - in a dream world - participated with Sales in getting to this point. Either way, the project is beginning so dates are set, though not likely 'set in stone' and will have to be subject to shifting as requirement changes and new requirements rise to the surface during Exploration and beyond.
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8/9/2014 5:09 AM
Great tips Brad! Here is a project kickoff template I created. Please let me know if you have any feedback. http://www.hitdocs.com/project-kickoff-presentation-pptx/
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