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How to Run a Kickass Kickoff Meeting

July 01, 2020 in Guides

A project, like any good story, needs a compelling beginning. Characters, action scenes and a plot will follow suit, but first you need to grab people’s attention. If you don’t, well, the story might not get finished.

When it comes to digital project management, your kickoff meeting is the ideal time to grab people’s attention, set the scene, and prepare them for how the plot will unfold. In fact, it sets the mood for the entire project.

As you can imagine, a weak kickoff meeting puts your team at risk for losing interest, so it’s a pretty crucial step. Here’s how to make sure you hit all the high points.

Make introductions

Project management for agencies means getting all the players comfortable with each other. If you’re a small business and your team works together regularly, allow time for them to chat before you start the meeting. If you – like many agencies – are working with freelancers or remote employees, arrange for them to either be on-site or partake digitally. If members aren’t familiar with each other, introduce them and talk a bit about their roles and how various roles might relate to each other.

If you’re working with team members in different locations, be as mindful of time zones as you can. Also? A little free food or coffee at a kickoff meeting never hurt anyone either.

Outline the project

Set the stage. Explain the overall objective of the project, define the KPIs, and describe the deliverables. It’s best to stick to a high-level approach, and it’s perfectly acceptable to outline everyone’s roles and how they will contribute to the end result.

Identify communication channels

In the realm of digital project management, chances are that some – or all – of your team will be communicating using some kind of digital platform. Whether that’s a project management app (hint: TaskBranch) or email, this is a great time to outline how you expect your team to communicate and how often you require updates or reports. Identify how someone will let you know if there’s a conflict or if something needs a re-evaluation.

The time to identify these things is before they become an issue, not as they happen. For more information about optimal communication during digital project management here, read our post here.

Outline next steps

Now it’s time for some action. Your team has been introduced, they understand the project at its highest level and they know how communication is expected. To get your team into action mode, explain what their next steps will be immediately after the meeting. Will they log in to the project management app and see their tasks outlined? Await further instructions from their immediate supervisors? Outline what’s next for the project.

Question period

A good kickoff meeting leaves time for feedback and questions. Questions can lead to points you might not even have thought of, and they give meetings a sense of interactivity that engages everyone. If your team seems reticent to speak up, try reframing your request. Instead of, “does anyone have any questions?” try “I’d like everyone to ask one question.” This is more likely to elicit a response from everyone while promoting a collaborative atmosphere.

When it comes to project management for agencies, the delivery and setup of your kickoff meeting can set the tone for your entire client project. Be vague about your expectations and you risk your team not hitting their milestones. Seem unenthused and you risk your team getting off to a lackluster start too. Follow these key components and your meeting has a much better chance of having its intended results. After all, the first chapter is just the beginning.

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Team TaskBranch

TaskBranch is a cloud-based project management suite that makes it easy for digital teams to manage multi-phase projects in one place.