Project Kickoff Meeting Agenda and Guidelines


Quick Summary
Screenshot An example agenda for holding a kickoff meeting for a new project and detailed guidelines for preparing for and running this intense team session. Sure, you might prefer to "just get to work." But if a team member gets off track, or a cross-functional team member wasn't even aware of what was needed, the entire project can end up in the weeds.


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What this is

An example agenda for holding a kickoff meeting for a new project and detailed guidelines for preparing for and running this intense team session.

The purpose of such a kickoff meeting is not just to officially start up project team activities, but specifically to orient a new project team to the business reasons for the project, and jump-start team work with a common understanding of goals and near term work. The meeting can run anywhere from 2 hours to a full day depending on the size of the project and how much group time you want to spend on several project kickoff discussions and related deliverables.

The agenda template identifies who should attend, objectives of the meeting, and agenda items with owners/facilitator and timeslots.

The agenda first provides time for the group to cover the business rationale for the project and create a project charter or vision document together. Then the group discusses other key project areas such as scope¬óincluding requirements and implementation alternatives¬órisks, costs, resources needed, and desired schedule. The team captures that information and kick-starts the teamwork by translating it into draft team roles and responsibilities lists, budgets, risk lists, and project timeline.


Why it's useful

This kind of kickoff meeting accomplishes the following:

  • gets a team aligned very quickly the business objectives for a project, so all subsequent team work is firmly grounded on a common understanding.
  • creates team energy around the common goal and an initial understanding of how each team member fits.
  • ensures that any issues and misunderstandings regarding project objectives get aired right away
  • ensures that the team "gets to work" and makes real progress together quickly

Team members leave with a solid group understanding of what the project must accomplish and how it will proceed immediately after the meeting.


How to use it

  1. Use the agenda on the following page to plan your kickoff meeting.

  2. Determine what materials to bring to the meeting to support the discussion, and which project documents will be drafted together in the meeting.

  3. Work with your executive sponsor to set meeting goals and expectations regarding their role.

  4. Determine who should be invited to ensure team-wide understanding of the project's goals and constraints, so the team can hit the ground running after the meeting.

  5. Publish an agenda ahead of time.

  6. Follow up immediately after the meeting by publishing drafts of any project documents (such as risk lists) created during the meeting.

  7. Publish action items and schedule the next team meeting to keep momentum going.
See the guideline content starting on the next page for more detailed tips for how to prepare for and run a kickoff meeting.

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