I was asked during a meeting with a client what is the point of a project kick off meeting? Apparently, the sponsor (who I was meeting with) was being pressurised by a project manager to hold such a workshop. The sponsor felt it was a waste of time.
I explained that the workshop could be two people meeting for 30 minutes to the whole team going away for the week. I went on to suggest that they were essential for the modern day project where speed seems to be of the essence.
This may seem strange; the workshop slows down the project initiation process while at the same time helping to deliver the overall project a lot quicker! How so? Rather than rush in and start to plan the project you have the opportunity of ensuring that you:
- understand the background to the project
- check out that what you are discussing is a project that fits with overall company objectives
- develop a business case
- clarify project roles
Of course, the workshop can be used in many different ways:
- identifying the deliverables for the project
- developing a clear governance process for the project
- identifying key risks and stakeholders for the project
- developing overall plans – high level or detail – whichever is appropriate
The list is endless and will be specific to a project or group who will deliver it.
For those of you who are involved in a project that has a number of clear stages why not have start up workshops for each stage?
Back to my client. When I explained all of this the project manager and he arranged a date to hold a meeting, and they decided which of the key stakeholders should be invited.
The feedback I received was that they had a really positive start up. The project manager and sponsor were clear what they needed to achieve. They started the stakeholders engagement and had identified a number of risks that needed urgent attention
Yes, start up meetings take time to arrange, time to hold but if run successfully make a really significant impact on the project.
Good luck with your next meeting!