Professional project management for your long-term growth and success

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Many factors contribute to project success—having a business case, executive support, proper resourcing and others. But what happens when individual teams or departments begin working on a project based on minimal or vague information? They could waste time working on the wrong tasks or worse, not communicate outside their team because they don’t understand how their work or timeline may impact others.

According to the Project Management Institute: “Communications is a core competency that, when properly executed, connects every member of a project team to a common set of strategies, goals and actions. Unless these components are effectively shared by project leads and understood by stakeholders, project outcomes are jeopardized and budgets incur unnecessary risk.” [1]

So what’s the best way to mitigate this risk before it’s too late? Ensure that every project—no matter how large or small—includes a kickoff meeting.  Here’s why:

Provides Clarity on Project Purpose

Why is the project being initiated and how does it affect me? These are just some of the questions that the team will ask themselves. Not only is it important to communicate the value to the business, it is important for them to understand how their hard work will make an impact. Discussing how the project aligns with company goals and objectives, along with priority, helps the team to understand the big picture.

Prevents Unnecessary Schedule or Cost Overruns

On average, two in five projects do not meet their original goals and business intent, and one-half of those unsuccessful projects relate to ineffective communications, says the Project Management Institute. [1] ​How can you ensure that the team delivers what is expected? Effectively communicate the project scope. Projects that start without everyone fully understanding the scope will most likely end in failure. Making assumptions can lead teams down the wrong path and wastes valuable time and effort.

Promotes Team Collaboration

Clearly outlining team roles and responsibilities is just as important as having a defined scope, especially if there are cross-functional teams and/or third-party vendors involved. If all parties understand “who’s doing what”—as well as any dependencies or impacts that their work may have on others—it will help reduce confusion and keep teams from working in silos. 

At the end of the day, spending just 30 minutes in a kickoff meeting can save everyone an enormous amount of time and frustration. When teams are on the same page and working toward a well-defined common goal—your project is sure to be a success!

[1] - Project Management Institute:  The High Cost of Low Performance:  The Essential Role of Communications

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Why All Successful Projects Start with a Kickoff Meeting

By Veronica Thraen / October 3, 2016