How To Run A SPOT Project Kickoff Meeting

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How do I run a project kick off meeting?
  • What do I need to cover in a kick off meeting?
  • What is the purpose of a kick off meeting?

This guidance describes how to run the first meeting you have with your team about a new project your team will be doing.

A manager we know got assigned a project for he and his team a couple of years ago, and he asked us to critique his email that he was sending out to announce the project, both big picture and early assignments. We knew this manager, and knew his team were collocated with him. Why, we thought, would a manager send out a LOOOOOOONG email to his team with LOTS of details about a not unimportant project?

He told us, well, that's just the way I've always done it.

Well, there's a better way. It's MUCH more effective to have a brief meeting. It's called a SPOT meeting, and even though it's yet another meeting, it's totally worth it. Here's how to run one.

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what if my project is already running?

As a project manager, I rarely have the opportunity to kick off a project.  More often, I join at a new phase of development, or I'm asked to "help manage" (aka "fix") an initiative that is in danger of crashing and burning.  I feel like all eyes are on me to save the day, yet I know less about the project scope, plan, operations and tasks than my team. 

I'd love to see a podcast on how to take control of a runaway project, without running it into the ground or slowing the team down while I come up to speed. 

Being in the same room

Hey guys

I have listened to you for a long time and you have helped me a lot in rough situations. Lots of inspiration and useful stuff coming from your podcasts. 

I'm not always up to speed with your casts, but getting there eventually.


In response to this cast:

I love it when you're in the same room doing your recordings. A little bit more flexible, a little bit more wittier. Always high quality, but you know, an inch better.

Ooho. Is thas a theme for the cast, beeing in the same room to start a project? Is there something to it?

Keep up the excellent work, heroes! SPOT on!


Visby, Gotland, Sweden

What if my project is already running?

I have re-kicked-off a project several times. This once was my project I allowed to get away from me and later on some projects that were handed to me mid-way. It doesn't really matter when you step in. People are often grateful that someone has come in to organize and make everyone more effective/effiicient.

When stepping in, I observe for at least a month before making changes. No matter how painful it is, that month of me learning will pay for itself in long-term shortened schedules. This allows me to learn the dymanics between the players, components, or whatever. I often ask the key players what they'd like to see and how the group should behave to be more effective. This also allows me to make changes that were suggested by the team and be seen as a facilitator and not an enforcer. There are other tid-bits, but holler if you want to take this offline. Your mileage will vary depending on the situation.

Good luck with your projects!

Yup, the conference is

Yup, the conference is really educational to managers. Do I begin to sound angry with my manager? - Missed Fortune