Purpose of a Program Kick-Off
Program kickoff meetings are more than just a feel good, meet and greet. It is the program manager’s first opportunity to set expectations across the entire team, crack the ice that can inhibit team communication and ensure that your sponsor and stakeholders understand the program vision, objectives, benefits, deliverables and schedule milestones, thereby helping the team be successful. The program kick off is part of the Portfolio Management Group’s program benefit delivery phase of the life cycle and is required for all programs.
This Program Kickoff Presentation is intended to be used at a program kickoff meeting with relevant stakeholders, sponsors, and team members present. The meeting is typically led by the program manager. The tone of the meeting should be motivating to encourage interest and commitment to the program. The meeting can be between one and two hours, including time for questions. The kickoff meeting provides high level information about the program and does not get into granular details of the program implementation.
- Invitees should include people assigned to the program and/or functional managers who will have staff involved in the program or who are responsible of a functional area the program will be impacting, the sponsor, and any other important stakeholders. (Note: some attendees may be external to the university, such as vendor.)
- Most of this information presented at the kick off meeting will come from the Program Charter and Business Case. It is common to involve key team members in the creation of the kickoff presentation content to ensure accuracy and that a wide variety of perspectives have been accounted for. It is also wise to discuss some of the information with key sponsors and stakeholders prior to the kickoff meeting to avoid any major disapproval in the meeting.
- Time should be allotted throughout the presentation or at the end for questions and discussion.
- The kickoff is intended to bring everyone up to speed, not to discuss every item in detail.
- Every participant needs to see you taking charge of the meeting agenda.
- Summarize the meeting with a call for action and list outstanding items that require immediate follow-up. Provide direction on any follow-up communication needed and what you expect from everyone at the first status meeting.
- This kickoff presentation can also be used later if new team members are brought on board and components (initiatives and projects) of the program are initiated. The presentation can be shared with them to help them get up to speed quickly on the details of the program, especially by providing them with the understanding of the program’s vision and benefits.