Project Kickoff Meeting

September 21, 2011 in Blog, Tools

The Situation

Your sales team has successfully bid and won a contract.  The signed contract was dropped off on your desk a few minutes ago.  As almost always happens, the negotiations on the price of the contract went on longer than planned but the end delivery date did not change.  Your team will  have to hit the ground running.  How do you bring everybody on the same page and communicate the plan forward?  One tool that I use in this situation is the Project Kick Off Meeting.  In fact, I like it so much that I usually have two of them.  One internal to my organization and one with the customer.  

Internal Kickoff Meeting

The internal kick off meeting should include the following parties:
  • Contracts 
    • Double check that you are not missing anything
    • Discuss any sub-Contracts that need to be placed under contract
    • Talk about the deliverables, including any Financial Reporting Requirements
  • Accounting & Finance
    • Make sure that the program is setup correctly in the companies financial program. 
    • Talk about what CLIN structures there need to be
    • Discuss charge numbers and when they will be turned on and who can use them.  
    • Discuss Reports that you will need to generate or receive from Finance
  • Your Team and the Functional Heads that you will be pulling resources from
    • Show the proposed Organization chart and the key personal who be in it.
    • The Roles of your team Talk about when the rest of the resources will be available 
    • Talk about the next couple weeks and what has to happen to start the project off right
    • Talk through Risk items that are identified and ask for feedback on any more that were not identified.  
  • Operations
    • Make sure that you have the desks, software, IT resources, computers, conference room, manufacturing space that you need.  
  • Sub-Contracts
    • Any critical vendors or subcontractors should be contacted if they were part of the bid process and roles , responsibilities, contracts and timelines should be communicated. 
The end result of the meeting is that everyone knows all the things that must happen to start the project.  Action Items should be assigned and recorded and sent out after the meeting to make sure everyone knows what they need to do. 

External Kickoff Meeting

The meeting with the customer is very important.  Make sure that you have the sales people who worked to bring in the account at the meeting as well as the key people on your team.  This meeting has the following purposes: 
  1. Talk about the purpose of the project ( this is one of the most crucial things that happens you have to understand why they are implementing this project)  
  2. Ask them to describe what success of the project means to them and how they see the benefits of a successful project working.  Listen carefully for things that are not in your requirements that may need to be discussed. 
  3. Tell them how you are going to meet their need or purpose.  
  4. Explain to them your projected timeline and talk about roles and responsibilities
  5. Make sure they understand any dependencies and what the effect of late deliveries will have on the project
  6. Introduce your team and the key players
  7. Talk about the risks that have been identified and how you plan to deal with them.
  8. Start working hard now to show you and your teams professionalism and build trust.   First impressions are very important.

The end result of this page is that you verify that what the customer is asking for is what you are planning to deliver.  You also go over your delivery process and introduce the team.  Deliverables and milestones should be tied down in this process or re-confirmed if agreed upon during the proposal process.