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Tips for Running Better Kick-Off Meetings

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Ah, the project kick-off meeting. Where you and your team gather to discuss the scope of an upcoming project, outline everyone’s responsibilities, and determine the deliverables for this specific project. When done well, project kick-off meetings leave your team feeling energized and excited.

But all too often, these meetings are scattered and ultimately ineffective. But fear not! Today we’re going to share our top tips for running better kick-off meetings to ensure you and your whole team leave feeling more motivated and excited than ever. 

Before we get to that, let’s start with the basics.

What is a Project Kick-Off Meetings?

Like its name implies, a project kick-off meeting kicks off a project! As Atlassian defines it: “A project kick-off meeting is the first meeting with the project team and the client of the project where applicable. This meeting is the time to establish common goals and the purpose of the project.”

More specifically, these meetings are meant to accomplish a number of goals and objectives for your next project.

These include:

  • Setting expectations for the outcome of the project and each team member’s responsibilities
  • Identifying any risks or potential threats relating to the project
  • Getting clear about the goals and objectives of the project
  • Allowing team members/clients to meet if they haven’t yet
  • Setting a timeline for each stage of the project
  • Defining the specific deliverables of the project
  • Boost team morale and engagement
  • Determining your next steps
  • Answer any questions or concerns your team members or clients might have

Tips for Running Better Kick-Off Meetings

With the basics out of the way, let’s move onto our tips for ensuring your project kick-off meetings are a success!

Use an icebreaker

These meetings often involve many team members joining together who may not have interacted much in the past. The same goes for introducing clients to team members and any other players involved in a project. The same way you would with any group, using an icebreaker for these meetings is a perfect way to ease any tension and get everyone more comfortable around one another. 

We cover specific icebreaker examples in this post. But what we’ll tell you right here is that they’re easier than ever to run with Swift Polling. You can quickly launch a game, quiz, poll, Q&A, or other interactive tools to break the ice between team members or clients. 

Call on everyone for their input

It’s a good idea to involve everyone in actively giving their opinions and input at the start of a project. During your project kick-off meetings, you can poll participants or ask open-ended questions where they can voice their opinions. Rather than having them simply listen to one person talk about the project, this interactive element engages and excites them.

Set expectations

We mentioned that an important objective for project kick-off meetings is setting expectations for the outcome of the project and each team member’s responsibilities. You want to be very sure everyone is clear about their own responsibilities, as well as the overarching goal of the project. While you could simply present this information to the team, it’s even better if you can hear from them about how they define their responsibilities and the project scope.

If you notice any discrepancies with these responses, you’ll know it’s time to address them before the project gets off track!

Use a word cloud for brainstorming during project kick-off meetings

Word clouds are a helpful tool to visualize key phrases and popular ideas from your team members or clients. When it comes to project kick-off meetings, you can also use them to brainstorm any potential risks that might come with the project. 

Remind participants that there are no right or wrong answers when you invite them to submit what they think might be a potential risk throughout the project. The beauty of this tool is that by simply seeing the potential risks laid out in front of them, it helps prepare your team and remind them anything is possible.

Let team members submit anonymous questions or feedback

No one wants to be the squeaky wheel on a project. Team members might be reluctant to ask certain questions or share their true opinions when they’re asked. Luckily, Swift Polling offers anonymity with live polling, Q&As, and more. This way, all participants can ask questions or share feedback without the fear of repercussion if their opinions are unpopular. 

 

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