202201060954 project kickoffs
From https://lennysnewsletter.slack.com/archives/C019D7EALRY/p1641471221004300 Does anybody do some kind of kick-off meetings for new projects/features? How do these work? Who is involved? What’s discussed?Context: I’m trying to bring more structure to our development process. We didn’t do any kind of kick-off meetings before and I have the hope that along with PRDs and retros, these would help increase alignment and motivation (compared to just a doc or loom).
I just finished doing a kick-off a few minutes ago. I don't know how other people do it, but that's how I do it.Prepare:
- Collect all relevant quant+qual data after talking to customers
- Get buy in from leadership on the problem
- Scope the problem/solution with 1 engineering and 1 design colleague and a relevant colleague
- Follow up with more research and user interviews if needed
- Put everything on a miro board
- Write a doc that covers context, problem, scope, success criteria, risks, solution overview, rollout plan
- Share the doc and miro board with my team and ask them to add their questions and comments
- Invite them + any relevant people to a one hour meeting (the kick-off)
- Give a 5 minute intro about the problem and what we want to do about it
- Confirm that everyone had a chance to read the doc
- Start going through the questions/comments that have been added to the doc one by one
- Ask again if there are any new questions or comments that people have in mind
- Discuss those and update the doc in real time (I’m sharing my screen showing the doc to them all the time)
- If we have open questions and decisions that need to be made, I add them to the doc too (we book another time for those bigger discussions or I delegate to someone to research and present a proposal)
- I ask: What do you think could make us fail to meet our goals? Where things could go wrong?
- I document these points too and flag the ones that we should act on
- I ask again if there are any other questions or comments
- I conclude the meeting by sharing our next steps, share my excitement about what we will do next, and then thank everyone for being part of this.
For me it depends on the context (e.g. is it a new team or a stable one? Do we need to make any decisions, or is it more about information and alignment? etc) - once I understand what I want out of it, whether it’s alignment, decision-making, team kick-off, process kick-off, or anything else, I prepare a facilitation for it.There are many resources out there you that can be used as building blocks. Just to name a few:
- Liftoff by Diana Larsen - the “original book” about team/project kick-offs in an agile environment. May be a bit dated but the structure of the kick-off arc is quite solid.
- Turning People Into Teams by The Sherwins - I love this book, it’s full of small little templates you can take and use as they are or reshape, it covers a lot of different situations
- High-Impact Tools for Teams by Stefano Mastrogiacomo - this is pretty new but I have been recommending it. It’s from Strategyzer, so expect some canvas tools in it. The one they have for team alignment provides a good facilitation for risk managing a project.
There is more out there, but I hope this helps!
I like to do kick-off meetings for bigger projects.
It allows you to really gauge the reactions of the team to your plans (and adjust where needed).
In my experience it indeed increases motivation and alignment.
Most of the time, I prepare a short presentation about why we do this project and how we plan to tackle it (broad strokes).I make sure to send this presentation well in advance, so everyone can come prepared.