Working with an overseas software company – project kickoff meeting

 

Project kickoff meeting

 

In the “Working with an overseas software company” series we’re talking about all the challenges and struggles that companies that use outsourcing software development face and how Sensinum, an expert web application development company, goes about addressing those issues to make sure its customers feel secure and confident about the future of their project.

In a previous offshore web development article, we talked about the planning stage of the offshore web development process. This time, we’re tackling the kickoff meeting.

 

What is the project kickoff meeting?

The planning stage we wrote about previously is meant to result in a detailed project specification and a final decision by the client as to whether they are going through with the project. In Sensinum’s case, it takes the form of a technical workshop, during which we help the client develop the specification (which they can keep regardless of their decision to contract us) and hold detailed conversations about the project subject matter. If the customer makes a decision to continue with Sensinum, we offer and eagerly participate in a project kickoff meeting. It’s a 2-4 hour meeting that may take place either online or, as we prefer, at the client’s site. It has two basic objectives:

  • to get everyone involved in the project on the same page – so that they understand their roles and the common goals and final deliverables of the project
  • to energize (kick off!) everyone involved so that they could work motivated and with full understanding of what success means with regard to the project

A well-conducted project kickoff meeting is a project manager’s dream – not only does it greatly improve communication and efficiency throughout the entire project, but it also makes the customer convinced that everything is going in the right direction and that they can control what’s happening despite the geographical distance between them and the contractor.

 

Project kickoff meeting in practice – what should the kick off meeting agenda include?

The project kickoff meeting is supposed to be both thorough – so that everyone understands their role and the entire project – and concise – so that no one gets bored. Therefore, it’s a challenge for a project manager and the representatives of the software house to get the most out of these few hours spent talking either online or in-house.

The kick off meeting agenda should include:

  • a short list of common project objectives/deliverables (the same for every single team member) as a “nice and easy” introduction to more detailed matters
  • a flexible project plan that includes all the details that can possibly be known at this stage (should be prepared before the kickoff meeting begins and only discussed during the meeting itself)
  • a clear definition of how success should be measured – it can be anything from the number of days to complete the task to the speed or efficiency of the product to the ability to stay within the constraints of a fixed budget
  • review of potential risks combined with ideas on how everyone in the team can be involved in making sure they won’t impede the project
  • establishing common ways of communicating and managing the project. Not every single software house does it during the kickoff meeting, but Sensinum believes that full agreement regarding the tools that will be used throughout the project does wonders for both efficiency and the customer’s confidence that everything is under their control. We always make the first step to establish the tools. We often prefer to use JIRA for Agile-driven project management. Learn more about why we consider that a great help in delivering even the most complex of projects
  • an optional short presentation of best practices from some of our previous projects that can make other team members confident about our methods and ability to deliver results

It’s essential for you to know that without a solid preparation, that is the planning stage, a kickoff meeting is not likely to succeed. We encourage you again to read the previous article and learn how Sensinum helps your company develop a strong project specification and assess the time and tools required to get the job done efficiently.

During the project kickoff meeting, you should also decide when subsequent meetings will be hold. We always emphasize the need for everyone included in the project to participate in the regular meetings. Sometime by the end of the kickoff meeting a Questions & Answers section should take place so that everyone involved can ask any question to relieve their doubts.

 

Project kickoff meeting’s main takeaways

By the time the project kickoff meeting is over, you should have accomplished the following:

  • You made sure that everyone involved has the same vision of what success means in the case of the project
  • Everyone knows what their role is
  • No one has doubts or worries that they shouldn’t have at this stage of the project
  • Everyone feels empowered to make decisions within the scope of the project that belongs to them
  • Everyone feels motivated

Sensinum takes great care so that the kickoff meeting proves successful. The meeting is always attended by a head specialist that will be taking care of the bulk of the project. We ask all the important questions to make sure that everyone understands the specification on both technical and business level and knows their role. We do all this not only to deliver a great product, but also so that the customer could be sure that the product would turn out great from the very start.

Sensinum is a Polish software house supplying companies, marketing agencies and teams with software development solutions of the highest quality. If you need a subcontractor or a software house to team up on your own project, choose Sensinum. We give you smooth communication and highly skilled developers with experience in many advanced projects. See for yourself what you can get, contact us and consult your software idea for free.

Also, learn more about a topic that has a lot to do with project kickoff meeting – the proof of concept in software development. It’s the best way to make sure that your software ideas is feasible on a technological level.

Tom
Tom Data Engineer / CEO