It is always exciting to start a new project, but even if you did your homework and assessed your vendor thoroughly, it’s time to cross-check your project startup gages. It is part of your project itinerary, and if there were many touchpoints with your vendor, you might have already talked through some of the project details. Now, when you’re at the kick-off call, you should ensure all is set in the right direction.
At the kick-off meeting, you’ll meet the project team. The project team may not include all the team members, but the rest of the team will join later down the line. For example, if you’re building an MVP, you may only need a project manager and a designer at the start. There is nothing to do for engineers yet, and they will join the project later. Indeed, the team may present in full for more complex projects at the very beginning.
The project startup checklist would vary depending on the project, but all checklists share common details about the successful execution. All professional teams have their checklists at the project start, but those may be executed from the perspective of a vendor, not a client.
Here is what you need to do at the project start:
- Team introductions, roles, and responsibilities. It helps to get to know the team better and sets a good tone for the conversation. A great trust level helps raise the project’s success rate.
- Project initials and goals. Ensure the team is aligned on the project goals and that everyone is familiar with the project requirements. By that time, you may already have MVP Scope of Work [by Jobresponse], but this step ensures the team is aligned on the project’s next step and the roadmap.
- Does the project have milestones set and a high-level weekly plan? There should be a bigger picture set as milestones and a high-level plan to track the project progress while completing small iterations.
- Project work order. Discuss how the project iterations will go. Are those weekly or bi-weekly? How does the team plan their tasks, and when are those going to be updated? When would you have team sync-ups and hear updates?
- Tech environment. Discuss what the tech environment will look like. What tools are needed? Anything that you need to set up and provide access to? For example, on which accounts would the code be stored? Whether are there going to be staging, testing, and production environments? How will the software release and code reviews go?
- Set up project tracking software. Ensure that your project has tasks management software and the progress dashboard. The team utilizes time tracking and reporting software.
- Project wiki. Set up a project wiki and document all important information in one place. This helps speed up the information search and onboarding of new team members.
- What stages should you plan for the project? What would the acceptance testing look like?
- Roadblocks. Are there any roadblocks that keep the project from achieving its goals?
- How does the project billing and report look, and who is responsible for the account management?
- Emergency contacts in case something goes not as planned or extra support is needed. For example, if the team ships the update but something breaks, who should you contact in case of that kind of emergency, and how to handle it if the team is in a different timezone?
In fact, the checklist may include more questions depending on the project, teams involved, legacy software, type of engagement, and whether you or the team is responsible for the project’s outcome. Most professional teams have those processes in place, and it should not take you long hours to go through the checklist and set it all up.