Proper Project Kickoff

Brad Egeland is an IT/project management consultant and author with over 25 years of software development, management and project management experience leading initiatives in manufacturing, government contracting, gaming and hospitality, retail operations, aviation and airline, pharmaceutical, start-ups, healthcare, higher education, not-for-profit, high-tech, engineering and general IT.

The project manager has many responsibilities throughout the engagements he or she manages. The PM wears many hats and manages many different resources and entities--and must be an expert communicator, a detailed taskmaster and a change agent with an eye toward sales.

But none of these mean anything if the project manager can’t get the project started off on the right foot. If a project is slow to get out of the gates--or if it begins with many missteps--it may already be too far behind the eight ball to really rebound. Slow starts and early problems quickly translate into missed deadlines, budget problems and low customer satisfaction.

Nothing helps a project get headed down the right path than a well-planned and professionally organized project kickoff. The level of effort that goes into preparing and executing a formal project kickoff with the project customer likely depends somewhat on the size and importance of the project. But no matter what the project size is, the basic steps to get you are there are generally the same.

Nearly every project that I’ve led for external customers has necessitated a formal project kickoff meeting or meetings. And I’ve always found that by following the five-step process I’ve outlined below, I was able to make sure that the customer and my delivery organization were of the same understanding and we were…

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