Projects, big or small, should not be kicked off with internal team members via a service ticket, an email thread or a 5 minute conversation in the hallway. An internal kickoff meeting is critical for setting the tone for the entire project no matter its size. This key event ensures that all members of the project team have a common understanding of the project's objectives. Every team member must hear what is expected of them. It creates a forum that holds them accountable for their part in the project. It also helps them develop an understanding on how to work together as a team. This event is critical for the project's success no matter the size of the initiative. Even if the meeting is very brief, it will still increase chance of the project's success.


Projects create a burden on each project member. Many of these people are also juggling multiple responsibilities such as troubleshooting in order to provide resolutions for production incidents. Sometimes one person can be a member of many projects. It is not uncommon that the loudest or most recent fire directs these people's attention especially if a person is swamped. If a internal project kick off meeting has not occurred, the resource will most likely not make those his or her tasks a priority. Project kick off meetings set the stage and reminds each member the importance of their participation.


The best internal project kick off meetings have tight agendas and tighter time limits. Being unprepared for an internal kick off meeting immediately puts the project at risk. If the project manager does not deem it important enough to prepare for the call, why should anyone else make any of the other tasks a priority? Being prepared is key!

Information Repository:  It is important to store all of the project information in one spot so all of the team members can access it when needed. Keeping documents buried in email threads does not add any value to the project. At Allari, we use O365 Teams. We setup a channel and store the information in one spot for all team members to access. This also allows them to store any important or relevant information that they may come across during the project in a central location for all to see. Refrain from emailing documents. Instead, email links to documents.

Draft a Project Plan:  Don’t start from scratch. Leverage prior project plans. Experienced project managers leverage past projects. Make the necessary adjustments that are unique to the current project. Store the project plan in a centralized location so there are not individual attachments being shared among the team. Simple share the link and allow all to view and add input should you deem it to be necessary. This should be completed prior to the kick off meeting.

Handling the Introduction:  Be prepared to introduce yourself, discuss the project, touch on some highlights of the project schedule you've putting together. The goal is to get to know them, give them a comfortable, confident feeling about your knowledge and competence to lead their project, and discuss dates and locations for the project kickoff meeting. Also, discuss who should attend.

Putting it All Together:  Next, put together presentation materials for the kickoff session. PowerPoint is a great tool to explain the goals of the project, general target dates and milestones, a high-level resource plan, the change control methodology that will be utilized, the overall project management processes that will be followed and what happens next after the kickoff meeting. The goal is to leave the kickoff session with expectations properly set for the engagement and have everyone on the same page. You can save these materials till the meeting or provide them to the the team members in advance. 

Sample Kick Off Agenda

Every project is unique, but there’s value in ensuring that some of these basics are covered in order to get the team on the same page:

  1. Introductions:  Who are you and why are you leading this?
  2. Client:  What’s the client's background?
  3. Project:  Why are we doing this project? Share internal link to draft & review
  4. Scope:  What are we doing?
  5. Due Date:  What date do we need to be completed by?
  6. Approach:  How are we going to make this happen?
  7. Repository:  Where will information be centrally located?
  8. Roles:  Who is doing what? How doe each of you fit into this?
  9. VPN Access:  Does everyone have the access they need to do their tasks?
  10. Teamwork:  How are we going to work together?
  11. Communication:  What is the communication plan?
  12. Kickoff:  What’s the agenda for the client kickoff?
  13. Next:  How do we keep momentum going? Be very clear about next steps, make sure everyone is clear what they need to do next, w when they need to do it by and any review milestones along the way.
  14. Q&A:  What haven’t we told you? Get feedback from others to ensure you did not miss anything.

Other Info About Kicking Off A Project

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Carlos Corral Allari, Inc.

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