Last week I wrote a post on the 7 agenda items for a successful project kickoff. In this blog post I plan to explain how after learning a couple of lessons after publishing the post how I would slightly change this approach to a project kickoff.
1st Lesson Learnt
After publishing the post I had a project kickoff meeting for a new project and encountered something I had not seen for a long time. It became apparent early on in the meeting that there was uncertainty on what the project was trying to achieve. After spending 45 minutes discussing the project vision it was finally agreed what the purpose of the project was. Given that the meeting was on scheduled to take place for 1 hour this left very little time to discuss the remaining 6 agenda items.
2nd Lesson Learnt
After publication I also had an interesting discussion with Tony Adams (Tony is a great project manager with a ton of experience who posts some great insight both on his site and the social networks. Make sure you go and connect with him).
Tony recommended splitting the vision part of the agenda into two parts. One part about the vision and the second part about the measures. The measures is how you will know if the project has successfully achieved the vision.
Based on the experience I had with the project kick off last week where the vision took over the meeting I do agree with Tony. In this meeting if it had just had 2 agenda items, the vision and the measures, then there would not have been the desire to rush the meeting to try and squeeze everything else in. In addition if you spend a long time on the vision you can always have a second meeting to come back and talk about the measures. By having natural breaks between points as the project manager you have a better chance of controlling the meeting and ensuring everyone remains engaged.
How I Plan To Apply These Learnt Lessons
Upon reflection and applying these two lessons, to ensure the project gets off to a really great start people need to be free to focus and ensure that they get the project vision right. Therefore in future I am going to split the project kickoff into 2 separate meetings.
The first meeting will be just about the project vision. This should be a quite an upbeat session and should hopefully show the passion for the project. The second agenda item for this meeting will be the measures. This could be a separate meeting if we run out of time discussing the vision.
The second meeting will then be more of a traditional project kickoff meeting where the agenda is made up of the remaining items:
- Review start up documents
- Other projects
- Who is doing what next
I have also created a presentation on the 8 Agenda Items for a Successful Project Kickoff Meeting which you can check out here. I would love your feedback about it.
Do you agree that this is an even better approach to the project kickoff meeting? Would you do it differently by adding or removing elements of the agenda.