How to Have Project Kick-off Meeting


Kick-off meeting is the first meeting of the project where you give all the team members good news that project is ‘go ahead’ from the sponsors and also set the tone of your project – is it going to be a success or a failure.  Many hours and days have gone into preparation before you have kick-off meeting. You have worked very hard and now have project charter and project plan is in your hands.Primarily kick-off meeting has following goals-

  1. energize the project team
  2. communicate project goals and expectations
  3. introduce team members and stake-holders
  4. highlight opportunities plus challenges and reiterate importance of project for organization
  5. provide information of processes, methodology, project plan, key milestones, etc.
  6. handout team’s contact phone numbers and email addresses
  7. present communication plan
  8. give time to attendees to ask questions and express views

I would do following extra things to make sure kick-off meeting sets positive tone –

  1. print the hand-out material a day before, also check for meeting room projector etc.
  2. have some project related posters and famous positive quotes posted on the wall
  3. invite one or two senior managment  people to talk about project’s importance
  4. have kick-off meeting around 9 AM (start of the day is better)
  5. block enough time for this meeting (time for refreshments, presentations, questions and answers)
  6. set date of kick-off  meeting and notify all members at-least a week ago
  7. offer light refreshments at the beginning of the kick-off meeting
  8. do not sit and just talk, look and feel energetic
  9. have your project plan and other documents (that you plan to hand out) reviewed well in advance by subject matter experts for accuracy
  10. make sure meeting conveys the message and people walk out with motivation

Are there other key things? I will be interested to hear.  Hope this helps and good luck with your kick-off meeting. 

Keeping in touch with direct reports?

Workplaces have transformed a lot in last few years from people working in same office building to team members scattered over different continents.  This poses some benefits and challenges.  As we all know that we are all connected via communication and our communication skills and capabilities play a major role in our success.

Keeping the communication channel open and alive is the responsibility of the manager.  As a manager you just can not assume that if no one is complaining, all is well.  There are some employees who get chance to meet and talk to boss on performance review day.  I know there might be some employees who always say “everything is good” and prefer least interference as all the routine work is being done on time.

Does not matter what kind of work you are in, keeping in touch with your direct reports does the following –

  1.  Boosts the employee morale (you value the employee by calling or listening).

  2.  Employee feels connected with the organization/department.

  3.  Employee is encouraged to give and receive suggestion/feedback.

  4.  You can coach employee in the right direction as per his objectives.

  5.  Your objectives and expectations are clearly communicated and aligned.

  6.  You, employee and organization, all benefit from this interaction.

  7.  You make the real difference by managing talent.

Employee is a talent.  We know that when we are managing talent in this innovation age, we got to ensure that talent thrives and stays innovative. 

Thank you for reading and have a great day.


Conflict Matters!

Managers face many situations where he has to sort out two opposing actions or ideas. Situation may be very tense as people with conflicting ideas become very much involved and passionate about their stand. 

 As a manager, a positive and constructive conflict between team members may be a good thing (such as some team members in favor of Microsoft based technology and others for Linux based), but how you handle it matters the most. Conflict can be between individuals, teams, groups or organizations.  How you approach the situation tells who you really are.  Does it make you uncomfortable when you face such situation and just pretend it does not exist? Do you just avoid completely being in any conflict and do not share your insights/thoughts?  

I think conflict pushes oneself to test own mental and physical boundaries.  Some people get agitated and quickly loose control over thought process when someone is in conflict and try to trump the other in any way; some may feel nervous and just shut up and opt to get out; while other may listen to opposing views with cool head and try to work out some solution.

When managing a general conflict situation, try following (there might be situations where professional help is needed) –

  1. Stay calm; listen to other views with open mind.  Both sides may be right from own perspective.
  2. Find the real reason of conflict, not the one that is perceived. Observe.
  3. Believe that positive solution will come out at the end.
  4. Acknowledge the concerns and fears.  Find out what are the choices.
  5. Think win-win solution.  Attack the issue not the people.
  6. Make it known what is expected out of situation resolution.  Stay on the issue.
  7. Select the best solution and implement it.

Any other suggestions?  Have a good day!


The Dip – When to Quit and When to Stick

It was my first book from Seth Godin, and he talks about strategic quitting in this book.  Here is my own interpretation of

What is a dip – its a temporary situation when you feel like stuck, the results are not convincing and success seems impossible.  Dip can also be considered as  a situation similar to a dead-end assignment with no progress and feel like wasting time and energy.

Strategic quitting is good – when we know things won’t work out in our favor or input exceeds far beyond the value of output; quitting can be right choice. Its similar to cancelling the project or closing a business when things are not working out the way expected (no profit).

When to stick– is this goal worth pursuing or not?  Are you having fun doing this work, learning some new skills and also extracting some future benefits?  Can you treat it as sharpening your saw (skill) for the next move? Can you treat it as launch pad?  Yes, then sticking is good.

Is it possible to know if its right time to quit – personally, I do not think so.  One has to take chances.  The point is, if you quit- quit without guilt.  If you plan to stick and later find out that you are going nowhere; do not make it an issue of pride; if quitting is the right thing; just do it.  If you have some clue that you can get out of the dip and it will be great reward at the end – hang in there.

My Take – Strategic quitting is just like a well thought out Exit Plan.  Every opportunity has at least some risks involved and an exit plan is always needed.  Dip is a risk if we are not equipped and inspired to get out of it.  Risk planning tells us that we should have some contingency plan in place and build plans to avoid and react to the risk.  One size does not fit all in this case and Seth Godin does not claim to offer any formula; but gives a perspective, another option to consider.

What you think?  Did I get it right?  I am open for your suggestions.  You can find more info on Phil Windley’s Technometrial page on The Dip here.

 Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!

Who is Planning Your Career?

I am satisfied with my career and I know where I am going.  I hope that you are also doing the right things for your career growth.  In case, if you are doing the same job for last 10 years and now frustrated that your boss (or human resources department) is not doing enough for you to get to next level; you need to do serious thinking where are you stuck.  Why you are not getting the next role?

Very first thing is to know where you are going in terms of career.  Do you have any specific position or a career track in mind?  I know you are doing excellent job year after year and then expecting some else will realize your contribution to your big corporation and will promote you; it can happen but it’s very rare thing.  You got to prove that you are the right kind of material for next role.  Here are some key points I would like to share with my net community –

Continue reading “Who is Planning Your Career?”

Quotes for Sunday

  1. The talented employee may join a company because of its charismatic leaders, its generous benefits, and its world-class training programs, but how long that employee stays and how productive they are while they are there is determined by their relationship with their immediate supervisor. – Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman (First, Break All the Rules)
  2. The primary goal is to satisfy the customer.  If you don’t know what the customer needs, go and find out.  As soon as you become customer-focused, all of the static in the teams just subsides.  It’s amazing, like magic. – Karen Gideon (VP, Amex Life Insurance)
  3. Trust your people, that’s the thing.  Trust your people until they let you down.  And you’ll be quite surprised that they don’t let you down…. I haven’t been let down yet. – Alan Campbell (Production Supervisor, Kenworth Trucks)
  4. Save yourself for the big decisions.  Most of the running of the organization will be done by your direct reports. – Kent Kresa (CEO, Northrop Grumman Corp.)

Have a good day!