Love’em or hate’em, meetings are a big part of project management. A lot of times you can sit there thinking, “This could have been an email,” and you’d be right. They probably didn’t need to align the schedules of six different people for
yet another meeting
But there are some meetings that you just can’t avoid, especially as a project manager. Sitting pretty close to the top of the list is the project kick-off meeting.
This meeting is a critical part of starting (and running a project). It helps your project team understand what they’re doing, why they’re doing it, and what the desired outcome should be. Not having a project management kick-off meeting would be like trying to win
The Amazing Race
without a map (trying to simply walk into Mordor). You might get there, but it’ll take you longer and you’ll struggle the entire way.
Of course, we want to try and make your life easier, so we put together a project management kick-off meeting template to help you along.
What is a project management kick-off meeting template?
A project management kick-off meeting template is a template that helps you navigate all the important details of a new project in the kick-off meeting. It gives you a guide to follow, so you don’t miss anything critical when you’re planning your project.
These templates give you a clear path to follow as you set up your next project, ensure that you don’t forget anyone or any of the key tasks, and also act as a way to bring team members together to make sure any questions are answered.
What is included in the project kick-off meeting agenda template?
Since the whole point of this meeting is to cover all the important details of your project, the agenda for this meeting should be to cover all the important details of your project. This includes things like deliverables, timelines, milestones, who’s responsible for what, and what your budget looks like. Don’t be afraid to include as much information as you need about the project. Those people who’ve worked with you before may not need to hear it, but if you’ve got anyone on your team who is either new to the company or at least new to working with you, they’re going to appreciate the extra detail (in fact, it might save you a world of trouble down the road).
Ultimately, what you end up with is pretty similar to a
, only in meeting format (you can create a physical plan using
Project background and project purpose
It can help to provide context on why you’re doing a project and what the point of it is. This is a good way to help people who are sitting there and wondering, “Why I am here for this?” because the explanation often provides that information. You should also include information about the key stakeholders for the project.
If you’re not sure what to include here, we’ve got a project summary template that can help you capture all the information you need to get started (you can find it
Statement of work
The statement of work is a document that defines the key points of a project. These key points are things like scope, timelines, deliverables, budget, and any other relevant information about the actual work that needs to be done. The goal of the statement of work is to make sure that everyone is on the same page and that people have a reference guide to follow and refer back to should they have any questions.
Since we never miss an opportunity to use a template, we’ve got just the thing to help make sure that you include everything you need to in the statement of it (check it out
Scope of the project
The scope of a project is basically everything that needs to be done for a project, as agreed upon by those running the project (usually the project manager and the client). One of the main reasons for having this clearly outlined is to prevent projects from growing too far beyond what was originally agreed upon (the dreaded scope creep). It’s fine to adapt the scope of a project (
can help with that), but you don’t want things to get out of hand and the scope helps with that.
To help properly define the scope of a project, try
Project milestones and deliverables
What are the important moments in the project and what do the deliverables look like at each step? These need to be as crystal clear as possible to avoid confusion and missed deadlines. If you can include who’s responsible for the various deliverables at each milestone, even better. As always, provide more information than you think is necessary because it eliminates the risk of issues when you’re mid-project.
And, if you need a template to help define the milestones, we can help (it’s right
Project timeline and action items
Similar to milestones and deliverables, the timeline and action items helps the team get a clear understanding of what the workflow should look like for the project. The difference between the two, though, is that this is a more high-level look at everything. It contains specific points and action items, but it goes beyond the milestones to include everything.
Roles and responsibilities
In the meeting, be sure to outline project roles so that everyone knows who’s responsible for what. Again, it’s important to be clear here, so you don’t have people waiting on someone else to complete a task they’re responsible for. You should take this one step further in the meeting and highlight the first few steps for each person on your team to really eliminate the confusion. Even if someone isn’t involved until the first two milestones have been met, say that out loud so that everyone is on the same page.
List of collaboration and project management tools
This list likely isn’t going to change much from project to project, but you need to include it anyway. The last thing you want is for someone to spend even a small amount of time working with the wrong tools (say they’re using Illustrator when they should be using Figma or they’re trying to ask questions in Slack when you’re using Microsoft Teams). It can also help to list who’s supposed to be using which tools in the document to really avoid confusion.
👉 Get started with this project management kick-off meeting template.
After you copy this template, you can start utilizing this free project management kick-off meeting template for your projects and business.
Start on the right foot with Coda's project management kick-off meeting template
Step 1: Send pre-work to meeting attendees
To ensure meeting attendees come to the project kick-off meeting prepared, they should go through the
page. After you copy and share this template with your teammates, direct them to this page in the template. You should add any pre-reading material (documents, presentations, designs) in the
table. Send out the pre-work a day or week before the actual date of the kick-off meeting.
Meeting attendees can also add potential agenda topics to the
table. As your teammates add agenda topics, other people can upvote their favorite topics so that when the project kick-off meeting occurs, only the most important topics are discussed.
Step 2: Conduct the kick-off meeting
contains all main parts of the meeting you should go through sequentially. The meeting starts with a “pulse check” to get everyone’s sentiment about the project. The meeting leader or project manager then goes through main aspects of the project and the project timeline. The fourth header on the template is all the extra agenda topics that meeting attendees upvoted in the
page. It’s important to save time for these extra agenda topics as these are questions and issues the team has about the project ranked by importance.
Step 3: Follow up on action items
As the meeting progresses, you can add action items to the
table on the
page. After the meeting, you can send out this template and direct meeting attendees to the
table to follow up on action items.
The last part of the
is an open-ended Q&A. These are questions that popped up during the kick-off meeting that were not addressed during the meeting and weren’t brought up during the extra agenda topics.
Project management kick-off meeting FAQs
What is a project kick-off meeting?
A project kick-off meeting is the first meeting you have about a project with as much of the team present as possible. The point is to set expectations and discuss the project, the deliverables, the timelines, stakeholders, desired outcomes, and all that fun stuff. This meeting is important because it brings everyone together to ask questions, understand their role in the project, and learn what project success looks like.
What are the benefits of a project kick-off meeting?
The big benefit here is that it makes sure that everyone is on the same page. The last thing you need in a project is people wandering off in different directions and doing the project as they think it should be done. Without these meetings, you’ll probably run a successful project (especially if you have a project plan), but you increase the chances of something going wrong.
Kick-off meetings remove any doubt from your team’s minds about their role in the project, help reduce confusion, and give people a chance to say “Hi” to each other before going off to do their work.
What should be included in a project kick-off meeting?
We’ve touched on this a little bit already, but you want to include as much information about the project as you have. Ideally, you don’t want there to be any unanswered questions at the end of the meeting. Start with an icebreaker to help everyone relax, then get into the project details.
Roles and responsibilities
You should leave time to answer questions from the team and have a designated note taker to make sure you capture everything that was said at the meeting.
How do you lead a project kick-off meeting?
Walk through the template thoroughly. It might seem like a boring way to run a meeting, but you have to be careful you don’t miss anything. There are a lot of little details that can be missed if you don’t run a thorough meeting. If you work with a certain team enough, you’ll probably find that you don’t have to include some details. But, for the most part, you should cover everything related to the project.