How you begin a project is very important. You might be tempted to take the fact that you have been assigned to do some work as the starting point of the project. While the initial assignment might be where the change begins, you must have a distinct initiation or kick-off meeting. There are a couple of reasons for an initiation meeting.
The Event To Remember
Having an initiation meeting gives everyone who is involved in the project an event to remember as the beginning of the project. An initiation meeting lines up all of the project contributors up a the starting line. When you say, ‘the project starts now,’ everyone has the same starting point and knows where they are going moving forward. It doesn’t matter what conversations or assignments happened prior to the initiation meeting; after the meeting, everyone has a shared point of reference regarding where the project started.
The Place Where You Define Roles
The project initiation meeting is the place where the roles are defined and assigned. One of the biggest project-killers is people who are unclear about their roles. If people don’t know what they are responsible for, they probably won’t deliver what they need to. The initiation meeting gives you a chance to make sure that everyone knows, at least initially, what is expected of them within this project.
Finally, holding a project initiation meeting gives you a chance to talk about what baseline of current activity you want to improve on. This conversation is usually surprising. Even when you think that you know what people expect of within the project, the conversation about the change you are trying to bring about often brings out nuances and priorities within the project that you didn’t expect. Your discussions in the initiation meeting help you make sure that everyone is on the same page.
Don’t skip initiation meetings for your project. It is a step that is well worth the minimal investment that it takes.