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Template: Project Kickoff Meeting Invitation (with Agenda)

concepts May 17, 2024

Have an upcoming kickoff meeting, and want to write a clear invitation and meeting agenda that send your project in the right direction?

You’ll find a template at the end of this blog for a kickoff meeting invitation with an agenda built-in. Feel free to copy and paste it into your digital meeting invitation and replace the parts in [brackets] with information about your project.

Before you send your kickoff meeting invitation, here are a few additional preparation steps that will help your kickoff—and project—be successful.

Define major project components prior to the kickoff.

The idea of a kickoff meeting is to kick off project work. That means enough planning must happen prior to the kickoff meeting so that work—or the “execution phase”—can begin shortly after the meeting is over. This will likely involve meetings or other discussions with those who authorized the project and other major stakeholders.

It’s okay to leave a few smaller details and decisions for the kickoff meeting. But assuming everyone who will work on the project is in the kickoff meeting, you don’t want to give them the impression that they have more input on major project elements than they do. You can prevent confusion and hurt feelings by having these elements defined in advance.

Invite all project team members.

It will prevent a great deal of confusion later in the project if everybody who has project tasks, even small ones, has heard a presentation of the overall project purpose and pieces at the kickoff. Team members make many little decisions in the course of doing their tasks, and those decisions might be in line with project goals or they might not. When misaligned deliverables are discovered later, rework will need to happen. You can make this problem rare by getting all task owners in the room from the beginning.

It will also do a lot for team motivation if you emphasize in both the meeting invitation and the meeting itself WHY the project matters. Many people will be more motivated to do their tasks if they understand the positive impact those tasks will have.

Break the meeting into logical subtopics.

You can break the meeting down by almost anything, but making sure you break it down by SOMETHING in a clear way to keep things organized. Meetings without a clear progression are less likely to stay on topic or achieve their purpose.

You might consider breaking your meeting into subtopics by:

  1. Deliverables
  2. Deliverable types (if there are many individual deliverables)
  3. Team functions (discuss each team’s contribution one at a time)
  4. Project phases
  5. Major project milestones

Kickoff Meeting Invitation/Agenda Template

Here’s a template for your digital meeting invitation that’s very similar to one I’d write for my projects. Good luck! And if you’d like a deeper dive on why project kickoffs matter and how to make them successful, check out my blog posts “The Value of a Kickoff” and “How to Kick Off a Project: A Practical Starter Guide.”

Hi everyone!

In this meeting, we’ll kick off the [project name] project. The purpose of this project is to [create project outcome], which is important because [why the project matters – to the company, to customers, etc].

We’ll discuss the major components of the project to get everyone on the same page, as follows:

  1. Subtopic 1
  2. Subtopic 2
  3. Subtopic 3 etc.

[For anybody whose role in the meeting is unclear, note what you’re looking for from each of those people in the meeting. Also note if any attendees are optional.]

[Add notes related to options or expectations of virtual or in-person attendance]

Thanks!

 

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