Project Kickoff Meeting: Purpose, Benefits

Project kick off meeting

Although there were questions asked on the concept of Project Kick-off meeting in the PMP exam, the previous versions of PMBOK’s has no mention of it. However, the Project Kick-off concept is explained clearly in the PMBOK 6th edition.

First, What is a Kickoff Meeting ?

In football, a match starts with a player kicking the ball from the centre spot. Here, kick-off signifies the start of a match. In Project Management, Kick-off meeting is something similar. It signifies the start of a Project.

Project Kick-off meeting is one of the first meetings of all the important stakeholders of the project such as Customer, Project Sponsor, Project Manager, Senior Management, and all the team members.

Purpose of Project Kick-off Meeting

  • To announce the start of the project.
  • To ensure that everyone is familiar with their team members working on the project.
  • To ensure that all the stakeholders are familiar with the details of the project by communicating them the objectives of the project.
  • To clearly explain the roles and responsibilities of each and every stakeholder
  • To gain the commitment of the project team.
  • To establish positive relationship between the client and the project team.

When Does Project Kick-off Meeting take place ?

It may occur at different points depending on the project characteristics such as size, complexity etc.

Small Project – Kick-off occurs shortly after initiation (during the planning process). For Small projects, usually a single team performs both planning and execution. So, the earlier the kick-off meeting the better, as the team has to work together in planning.

Large Projects – Kick-off meeting takes place after the completion of planning and before the start of project execution. In many cases it is done after the project management plan is approved and the project execution is about to start. In large projects, there will be separate project management teams to do the project planning, and the rest of the team is brought in after the planning is complete, and at the start of execution. We can say that, in large projects Kick-off happens during Execution phase.

Complex Multi-phase Projects – Typically there will be kick-off meeting at the start of each phase.

Benefits of Project Kick-off Meeting

  • Helps team members to know each other.
  • Helps client to know the team.
  • Helps team members to understand the project objectives
  • Helps team members and other stakeholders to know what is expected of them.
  • Allows all important stakeholders to know about the key milestones, expectations, risks and other summary aspects of the project.
  • It is a opportunity for the project manager to demonstrate his authority, organizational and leadership skills.
  • It is a good opportunity to set the stakeholder expectations.
  • It is a great opportunity to get the entire team, client, and other stakeholders on the same page and start on a positive note.

Summary

To sum up, The purpose of a project kickoff meeting is to introduce the client, introduce the team, understand the project background, understand what needs to be done, understand what success looks like, clearly explain who does what, and agree on how to work together effectively.

Conducting kick-off meeting entails enormous benefits from getting the team members familiar with each other to getting all project stakeholders on the same page. There’s no doubt a project kickoff meeting can set the course and tone for the rest of the project. So, if done right, the project kickoff meeting can contribute enormously to the success of the project.

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