How to run a Project Kickoff Meeting

How do ideas turn into actions? We often believe when people have brilliant ideas, it is as if a lightning bolt struck them somehow. This romanticized image of innovation couldn’t be farther from the truth.

The reality is that innovative ideas come from collaboration, a key factor to manage any project successfully.

Think about how Steve Jobs started Apple, now one of the biggest tech companies globally, with Steve Wozniak as a partner. Or, moving away from tech, how two scientists, Dr. Ugur Sahin and Dr. Özlem Türeci, successfully led a team to create one of the most-used vaccines to fight Covid-19. Collaboration drives innovation, and it changes our world.

And if you want to innovate in your organization, be it a small family business or a big corporation, it’s essential to show people your vision and get them excited to work with you. To get your idea off the ground, running a project kickoff meeting is fundamental to getting stakeholders’ buy-in — and it’s an excellent opportunity for you to present your project to your team and get everyone curious about what comes next.

In this article, we prepared a guide on how to run a project kickoff meeting, and we made sure that your next project kickoff won’t be a boring one.

Keep reading to know more about running a successful project kickoff meeting with Miro.

Before your project kickoff meeting

We all know how exhaustive it can be to have endless meetings throughout the day. Your project kickoff meeting shouldn’t fall into this “category.”

The project kickoff is a great opportunity for you to create a space where creative ideas flow, where people feel they can work on their next big thing, and where everyone can have a say and feel excited about what comes next.

First things first, for you to have a productive kickoff, it’s important to have the following in place:

  • A list of people who will be involved in your project. Be sure to include the right stakeholders and contact the right teams or individuals. You don’t want to either forget or invite people that shouldn’t be there.
  • Clearly defined project’s goal and purpose. People have to understand the primary goal of your project, even if the planning and execution are still not clear. If you don’t know where you are heading, not even the wind will help you.
  • All support material for your team’s reference and understanding. Gather any information you think will be helpful for people to visualize your idea. Additional resources and research or insights are also very welcomed at this stage.

After you’ve done your prep work, this is when the project kickoff meeting should happen. Now, let’s deep dive into the details on how to run your project kickoff.

How to run a project kickoff meeting

It’s showtime! Remember, this is your opportunity to make your project shine to stakeholders and excite your team to join you. And, you can use this how-to guide for any project, no matter the size or how many teams or stakeholders you will need to invite to your kickoff.

Here are seven steps for you to run a creative (and successful) project kickoff meeting:

1. Introduce yourself, connect people

It seems to be an obvious step, but if you work with people from multiple teams and functions, it’s likely that not everyone knows you or what you do. It’s also possible that people don’t know each other either, so set some time to make intros. If your team is small, take this time to say how people can reach you and explain your area of expertise and how you manage the project.

Tip: share your contact information and channels where people can easily reach you.

2. Get everyone in the mood with an Icebreaker

The ‘One Word’ Icebreaker helps you start conversations with your team, giving a chance to people to not only present themselves but also share how they’d like to communicate, collaborate, and, very importantly, how they’d like to receive feedback. It’s a fun exercise, and it can be handy to align expectations and collaboration frameworks.

Tip: add music to your timer to get everyone grooving ‍♀️.

3. Be visual and show your project’s goals and purpose

It’s time to sell your project. On the whiteboard, add anything you find necessary so that people can understand and visualize your idea. Make sure you have your project’s goal clearly defined and why it’s important, so people get excited to join you.

Tip: use analogies and visual examples to show what you mean.

4. A deal is a deal: define roles and responsibilities

It’s a crucial step when running your kickoff meeting. Specifying roles and responsibilities right at the start will save you time and avoid misunderstandings and a silo mentality.

Tip: use the RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consultant, and Informed) method for each team involved.

5. Create a safe space for questions and answers

Give some time for people to ask questions. Practice active listening and try to understand your team’s concerns and doubts. You do half of the work by ensuring clear communication, and everyone understands their role and tasks.

Tip: be an active listener and address issues with empathy.

6. Co-create a project plan

Time to get the creative juices flowing! Co-create your project plan and ask everyone to participate and bring ideas. Your team is a source of knowledge as well, so give them a little breathing room. That’s often when the best ideas arise. Miro’s infinite canvas is up to the task, offering teams the space and tools they need for blue-sky thinking.

Tip: make breakout rooms and let people brainstorm freely.

7. Look into the future, what comes next

To end your project kickoff meeting, turn your meeting’s observations into actionable points and define the following steps and deliverables next time you meet. Add any extra resource you find helpful so people can consult it at any time. And remember, the project kickoff meeting template is a source of truth, where everyone can go back to it and consult it.

Tip: send a follow-up email with all that has been discussed, with links, and actionable points.

Your project is up and running. What happens next?

You should be feeling awesome that you kick-started your project, but this is only the beginning! As the project manager, make sure you do the following after your project kickoff meeting:

  • Ask yourself, does everyone know what they have to do? Does everyone have everything they need to complete their tasks? Are there impediments or bottlenecks?
  • Organize a timeline and create any necessary alignment meetings.
  • Track progress and begin to share results as soon as they come in. People feel more motivated when they see their achievements.
  • Send follow-up emails and keep everyone in the loop regarding the project’s progress.

Run meetings like a pro

It doesn’t matter if you are a project manager, team lead, or even an individual contributor inside of your organization. Miro Smart Meetings helps you run engaging and effective meetings without online fatigue and boredom. Try using our Project’s Kickoff Meeting Template and see for yourself. Let’s make meetings more human, productive, and fun, whether you’re huddling in person or dialing in from different parts of the world.

Ready to get your project off the ground?

Use our Project Kickoff Meeting Template

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