3+ Best Tips How to Turn Kickoff Meeting Into a Great Business Cooperation
What do we actually know about a kickoff meeting? First of all, it is a ground zero for the further work on a project. And it is quite important to be prepared for this meeting properly and reach the necessary agreements in business issues.
Our today’s topic contains a very cognitive view of a typical kick meeting and its main purpose and value for the whole workflow. Also we will be glad to share with you our useful advice on the proper holding of such meetings in order to achieve the desired goals of your project.
Kickoff meeting basic concept
Well, it is critical to know what is the essence of kickoff meeting – it is the first meeting between development team members and their customer. As usual, this meeting considers the discussions of the matters related to the fundamental principles of the project. However, it is not as easy as it can look.
Kickoff meetings play the pivotal role in the project planning: this event sets the tone of the entire further workflow. Both parties, the team and the customer, are interested in identifying the main elements in the project structure, allocating the mutual efforts and resources needed for the development process and determining the initial and desired results in the future.
Yes, this is not just a meeting – it is a strategic social that helps all the persons involved in the project work to discuss and confirm the following important moments:
- establishment of the project objectives: first the customer tells about his desiderates and requirements for the project, then the team, usually in the person of a project manager, puts forward their proposals. And where wishes and opportunities intersect, it is the beginning of a solid agreement between the parties.
- roles and responsibilities distribution: all the attendees meet with each other and decide who is more responsible for a specific part of work. This practice is very convenient for a proper development planning.
- coordination of operating schedule: the parties determine the preliminary timetable of the work execution and the types of reporting and presenting some finished parts of the projects.
- risk management issues: the members try to predict all the possible risks and work out a strategy of solving the problems that may occur during any part of the project development.
The value of kickoff meetings for business
We have already mentioned before that kickoff meeting is a highly sensitive event that may become a crucial moment for the all continued collaborative work of a development team with a customer. Why is it worth paying so much attention to this meeting? It is obvious that all high level meetings are equally important for the business, but why is the first meeting so notional?
Well, all the above questions are quite reasonable and should be answered – there are some significant points about the kickoff meetings’ value for the whole business cooperation.
- Kickoff meeting is a possibility for a customer to get to know the professional team better. Usually, communication before the first official meeting takes place in the format of emails or phone calls, and therefore this personal meeting, face to face, is important and has its own special value. Customer is given the opportunity to see those people who will be working on his project and make sure that he made the right decision in choosing a team. The development team, in their turn, gets acquainted with the customer to see what kind of persons they will cooperate with, and feel his needs and requirements for the project better.
- Kickoff meeting makes it clear to understand the character of relationship between team and customer. This value is aligned with the above point – during the kickoff meeting the parties are discussing such aspects as the suitable types and regularity of the communication with each other, the preferred forms for reporting about the releases, updates or other states of the development process. According to the negotiated arrangements, the workflow goes in a more appropriate way: development team receives the feedback and some additions on time, and the customer is sure that he can get the results on time too – what a perfect way of working it is!
- Kickoff meeting allows all the members to determine a legal background of their agreement. There is one special moment associated with this point: in case of any controversial issues, related to certain innovations that were not envisaged by the previous working plan and budget earlier, or the issues that are in total disregard of the current conditions, it becomes possible to adjust the dispute by means of a certain official agreement that was executed in a written form at the date of the first meeting, same as a kickoff meeting. In such document the parties are able to insert all the key aspects and provisions that every party is ready to execute.
Tips how to make the kickoff meeting impeccable
Generally speaking, kickoff meeting is a kind of the assurance for every person who is involved in the project development work. And that’s why it is necessary to organize this meeting adequately – on this occasion we have collected some working tips how to get prepared to the kickoff meeting and what to do in order to give birth to the further successful collaboration.
Tip 1 – Prepare your presentation to the last detail
This advice is suitable both for development teams and customers – it is important to have a good picture of your coming kickoff meeting, so try to prepare yourself as well as it should be:
- the customer should have a clear vision of the future project, a list of requirements that will be useful for further user stories, and also the customer is responsible for a good conversation, timely questions and recommendations in accordance with the project;
- the development team should be able to visualize the whole project, feel its real needs and nuances and also provide a clear picture of the planned workflow with necessary resources, time frames and effords.
Tip 2 – Don’t be shy to verify your partner’s reputation
It is one more piece of advice that matches both sides. Actually, it is okay if one of the parties wants to confirm everything said or written earlier. That is, the point is not even about the project itself – often it is critical to make sure of the personal plain dealing of each of the parties, as follows:
- the customer has the right to be convinced of the competence of the team. For example, the customer may request the portfolio of the team or its individual specialists. It should be noted that if the portfolio was provided earlier, during the kickoff meeting it will be appropriate to ask some technical questions in order to be sure in the team’s skills;
- the development team members have the right to assure themselves of the reliability of the customer and sponsors. It won’t go amiss to ask the stakeholders about their interest in the project, how they see the perspectives and how many similar projects they supported.
Tip 3 – After the kickoff meeting everybody should know what to do further
Indeed, after all the discussions at the beginning of the work, there should be a clear understanding of the further steps on the way to the successful implementation of the project. The point is that there should not be any ambiguities after the kickoff meeting – everything should be understandable and logical.
At the same time, all the discussions should not go too far in detail – remember that it is only the first meeting, and you will have many other meetings in future. The main thing is the harmony in every way!
To sum up all the above, we would like to remind you of one simple truth: it is impossible to have two chances to make the first impression. It means that the first meeting, the kickoff meeting, has a key role in the whole business cooperation. So do not minimize its value and hold it in a top-class level.
Besides, we would really appreciate your contribution to this article – tell us your personal experience in kickoff meetings, how it was, and what impact it had on your further project development work. Feel free to share your stories with us in the comments below!