A project kickoff meeting’s main purpose is to inform employees about a new project on which your company is about to embark, such as the creation or launch of a new product or creation of a new website for an existing product. A kickoff meeting is not a typical staff meeting; when you plan one, ensure that the meeting focuses on the project and presents employees with detailed information that they need to start and finish the project efficiently and effectively.
Invite employees, consultants and clients who are involved in the project to the project kickoff meeting. Include only those who are relevant to the project, as others may throw the meeting off-track. Send an email invitation and include an agenda for the meeting.
Reserve a meeting space large enough to accommodate all meeting attendees. Because kickoff meetings can last for hours, select an environment with comfortable seating and tables for guests to take notes. You can hold the meeting offsite at a local hotel or banquet conference room.
Arrange for any audio or visual equipment that may be needed to display presentations or other information. You may need a television, a projector, a projector screen, a laptop, speakers, an MP3 player or a microphone, depending on the size of your meeting and the material to be presented.
Start the meeting by outlining the project and by providing attendees with its purpose. For example, your project might be to create an interactive website for the launch of a new sports drink targets active, fit women.
Detail the goals of the project. In the example, goals may include capturing 10 percent of the female sports-drinker market or building product awareness by attracting 3,000 unique views on the website each day.
Reveal background information on the current market situation, including details on the competition. Let the team sample the product and examine the packaging; provide your team with feedback from people who have already tried the product as a part of the company’s research. Determine you company’s strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities, and identify how they positively and negatively affect the project.
Delegate responsibilities to individuals on the project team. If you are building a website, the team might include a website designer, a programmer, a project manager, a copywriter, a marketing manager, a copyeditor, the legal team and a traffic coordinator. Detail what each individual’s responsibility by giving a broad overview.
Outline specific tasks for each team member and assign deadlines to complete each task. Identify which tasks are critical to the overall execution and completion of the project; ensure that they are listed in a logical, sequential order. For each task to be completed, detail any deliverables that the point person should present to the project team.
Review what was discussed during the meeting and remind the project team of the first deadline to be met. Inform them that you will send a summary of what was discussed during the project kickoff meeting. Motivate the team by ending the meeting on a positive, encouraging note.