The project kickoff meeting should set the tone and expectations for the entire project. Here are four things you, the project manager, should do at every kickoff meeting.
1. Take Responsibility – Introduce yourself and advertise your “ownership” of the project. You’re the fall guy! Your client needs to know where the buck stops, your team needs to know that you’ve got their backs, and you need to be confident that whatever problems come up, with technology or staffing or whatever, you’ll solve them.
2. Show Off Your Team – Don’t just introduce your team. Show them off. Make sure your client knows not only what each member of your group will be responsible for, but also what their background is and why you’ve selected them for the project. This will boost the confidence of both the client and your team members.
3. Clarify the Formalities – While you have everyone in the same room, clarify the rules and administrative requirements of the project. Determine the points-of-contact (POCs), the approvals process, the steps for submitting change orders, the proper formatting of invoices, agenda requirements, etc.
4. Define the Finish Line – All stakeholders, from your team and the client group, must have the same expectations for project completion. Clarify the major goals, such as the deadline/opening date and the project budget; but also make sure that everyone understands things like the punch list process, permitting requirements, and the need for as-builts and final documentation.