At Impact Development Management, leadership presents a series of fundamental development, design, and construction principles to our internal project management group. Through these conversations, we are learning, growing, and changing how we look at projects. We want to share our journey with you.
It’s GO TIME! The project kickoff meeting is scheduled, and your team is ready to work. Now it’s time to get in a room and hash out the details. But where do you start? Kickoff can be a daunting task. While there are many elements to consider, we have identified 7 essential topics to discuss in every project kickoff meeting. Getting consensus in these critical areas is proven to influence overall project success:
- COMMUNICATION PROTOCOL: Set expectations early for communication and always err on the side of overcommunicating. Understand who is essential to the process and what tools you will use. Share templates that work and agree to simple and consistent formats. Set a tempo that keeps the right people informed with straightforward plans for cascading messages and project updates.
- DECISION MAKERS: Decision-making is one area that most often causes delays. It’s essential to understand how decisions are made and identify a person with the authority to make the final call. Who should your project team look to for the final say if getting consensus is challenging? Having a plan helps to define lines of authority, creating more accountability.
- MEETING FREQUENCY AND ATTENDEES: Projects are fraught with meetings. Defining who should attend and how often will help avoid overlap and wasted time and effort. Where possible, use meetings as a tool to review open items, maintain forward progress and leverage your communication protocols to cascade information across the job functions.
- CURRENT DOCUMENTATION: Know where to look for the latest and greatest information. Digital has made this much easier to keep current and see markups and changes. Leverage software and tools to make updates readily available, so the team knows they are working from the most recent documents. Creating team cohesion and breaking down silos means communicating and cross-checking work, starting with singing from the same sheet of music!
- AUTHORITIES WITH JURISDICTION: Outline a list of jurisdictional authorities, existing relationships, and other contacts that may help you overcome any stumbling blocks that present themselves through the development and construction process. Think utilities and permitting and land agreements. Share work completed and existing agreements.
- TEAM MEMBER AND ROLES: Creating a list of team members and defining roles clarifies team structure and directly correlates to the decision-making process. Focus on the person’s role within the project versus their title within the organization they serve.
- PROJECT VISION AND OBJECTIVES: So often, teams forget to articulate their vision of success. Capturing the project vision and objectives and connecting the team with the project helps with engagement. Aside from the typical budget and schedule conversation, you may also choose to include operations, community outreach, sustainability, and diversity and inclusion goals.
Closing: Stress the importance of each step with your team. Reviewing these key areas will help your project teams align directly with project goals, further define scope, identify critical activities, establish project controls, and minimize risks to schedule and budget. In addition, the time invested in this stage will be reflected throughout the project’s lifetime.
To obtain a sample kickoff agenda or discuss setting up your next project for success, reach out to Jason Hughes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author: Jason Hughes is President of Impact Development Management and has managed billions of dollars of work – he knows the right formula to make projects successful. Jason understands the importance of using time wisely and getting the answers to essential questions early in the process, making him a go-to resource for many owners seeking to secure funding and begin the development, design, and construction process. For more information on Jason, click here.