July 22, 2022
20 min read

Project KickOff Meeting Agenda Template

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Did you ever find yourself standing in disbelief as an initially good running project kick off meeting turned into a cacophony of scope creep, scheduling conflicts and finally meeting failure? Probably so, if you forgot about one key feature – the project kickoff meeting agenda. 

Regardless of how small the project scope may be, having a project kick off meeting is a guarantee that everyone involved in the project is on the same page.

To prepare for this process, you should work off a project kickoff meeting agenda. It will help you ensure that no stone is left unturned, especially when assigning roles and responsibilities to team members.

What is a project kickoff meeting?

The purpose of a kickoff meeting is to get the operational team members, key stakeholders and clients to huddle up, discuss the project plan and set expectations. It’s likely the only time a project manager will manage to gather everyone in the same room before the project rolls out.

During a project kickoff meeting, project managers present all the aspects of the project:

  • Project background information
  • Project purpose
  • Project scope
  • Project timeline
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Next steps

Even though all aspects are important, you should pay extra attention to presenting the project's purpose and scope as they can make or break the deadline.

Communicating the project’s purpose to the shareholders and clients is equally important as communicating it to the operative project team.

Clients and C-suite executives will get the bigger picture and other team members will better understand their role in the project and the company, which should lead to them taking ownership of their work. This is supported by a study by Trade Press Services that shows how effective internal communications lead to an 85% higher employee engagement.

When it comes to the project scope, it is important as an outline of the dos and don’ts of a project. Not every project scope outlines what tasks don’t belong in a project, giving space to scope creep. This later affects your project schedule, which brings delays that nobody wants.

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Two types of project kick off meetings

For a project to run as smoothly as possible, project managers should carry out both internal and client kick off meetings.

Internal or project team kickoff meetings

The internal project kick off meeting is your opportunity as a project manager to get the team up to speed with their role in the project as well as to hear their input. This is the time to get any operational hiccups out of the way early. The usual participants of this meeting are project managers and operational team members – the ones responsible for keeping up with the schedule. This meeting always takes time before the client kick off meeting.

External or client kick off meeting

During a client kick off meeting, your job is to show clients the clear path to project completion and what failsafes you’ve put in place to mitigate risks. You should also discuss goals and key milestones. Remember that clients are there to understand how their investment will benefit them. 

If you are to moderate any of the two project meetings properly, you’ll need a project kick off agenda. Since project management can often be a race against the clock, a time-saving feature like a project kick off agenda template is something we highly recommend you get your hands on.

To further increase project success, send the kickoff meeting agenda to each team member weeks or even months before the meeting date. 


The kickoff meeting agenda template

Even though no two projects are the same, they’re all wired similarly. That’s why a kickoff meeting agenda template will help you save time during the preparation stages.

In addition to saving you time, this template is great because:

  • It’s suitable for any project management method (waterfall, agile, Scrum and Kanban just to name a few)
  • It’s structured in a way that helps junior project managers stay on top of all important kick  off meeting elements and not get overwhelmed
  • It lets you focus on the content of the kickoff meeting rather than its form.
  • It’s interactive, meaning it will log any changes that you or the rest of the project team make.

Here are the main steps in the kickoff meeting agenda template you can use:

  1. Introduce the key team members
  2. Present the key project information
  3. Assign project roles and responsibilities
  4. Give the project timeline
  5. Describe the next steps in the project
  6. Host a Q&A section

How to use a kickoff meeting template

We’ll go through each of the six key elements and see what information is vital for each of them.

  1. Introduce the key team members

For most projects, key team members would consist of a project manager, operational team members, stakeholders (C-suite executives, HR) and clients. In this section, you want to describe everyone as briefly as possible.

  1. Present the key project information

The key information to include here is:

  • Project background
  • Project purpose and scope
  • Objectives
  • Project success criteria

Try to be as succinct as possible when you explain why and how the company initiated the project. The goal is to bring everyone up to speed with the big picture.

Expand on that with the project purpose presentation. This is the time to delve deeper into the specifics:

  • How does the project align with the company mission statement?
  • Does it expand the company’s share of the market?
  • How does it tap into the current trends of your target audience?
  • How soon will it pay dividends to the investors?

From here, transition to defining what work is considered part of the project’s scope and what isn’t. Once you present specific success metrics, it will be much easier to follow the progress over time.

  1. Assign project roles and responsibilities

At this point, everybody knows the project goals, so it’s prime time for project managers to assign duties.

It’s best to include the RACI matrix in this template part. RACI is an acronym for Responsible Accountable Consult Inform and a great visual aid that adds clarity to every task. It denotes the responsibility structure across the project timeline.

  1. Project timeline

The project kick off meeting is the last chance to discuss the project schedule and due dates for milestones, so set aside at least 20 minutes to discuss it. This is probably the most critical element of an agenda template for internal project kickoffs.

It is here where you identify important milestones and deliverables, split the work into smaller tasks and most importantly, give a chance to the team to share valuable input regarding deliverability. 

  1. Next steps

In this section, you’ll outline how the project execution will start, and you’ll schedule the first follow-up meeting. You want to build on the momentum you’ve set during the kickoff meeting, so make sure that the next step follows the meeting as soon as tomorrow, when possible.

  1. Q&A section

The Q&A section gives everyone a chance to share their dilemmas or challenges.

However, people often forget to ask specific questions, so do some extra work and write a brief FAQ. Once the room gets quiet, end the meeting by introducing and answering the FAQs.

To facilitate post-meeting questions, you should send meeting notes to every team member as soon as possible. That way, they might find answers before asking or they might get inspiration from the meeting notes for new constructive questions.


Conclusion: Project Kick Off Meeting Template

By now, you know that a successful project kick off meeting is the one you’ve meticulously planned with the help of an agenda template.

Also, since you’re aware of the must-haves for a project kick off meeting agenda template, we hope that you’ll use your newly-found knowledge to start your next project on the right foot.

Even if you’re on top of your project management game, we strongly advise you to use a kickoff meeting agenda template. It is a friendly reminder of all the key elements you should use when you plan the next project kick off meeting.

Sign up to get the Effy project kickoff meeting template now.


What should you include in a kickoff meeting agenda?

The kickoff meeting agenda should include aspects like project background information, project purpose, project scope, project timeline, roles, responsibilities, and the next steps. You deconstruct the project into its key constituents and discuss each in detail with team members. 

When should the project kickoff meeting happen?

The rule of thumb dictates that the project kickoff meeting should occur before starting the project. You notify the team about the project and show them how it will unravel. It is a good rule to have a project kickoff meeting any time you want to guarantee everyone involved in the project is on the same page. 

What is a kickoff meeting in project management?

In project management, a kickoff meeting is the initial meeting with the project team. Sometimes, the project's client can also be a part of a kickoff meeting. Besides, it is the moment you establish shared objectives within the project and explore its scope. Simply put, a kickoff meeting is like planning before setting off on a trip. 

Who should attend the project kickoff meeting?

In most cases, project managers and project team members are the ones attending a project kickoff meeting. However, the project's client can also participate in the meeting when applicable. It depends on the project and pre-established arrangements between a vendor and a client. 

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