Kick-off meeting of a project

Torresburriel Estudio
4 min readApr 17, 2024

The kick-off meeting is the birth of the product, the moment when the product definition process begins.

Kick-off meetings set the tone, precedent, and relationships for a project, whether it lasts a few weeks or many months. In these meetings, it is necessary to identify the team’s strengths and weaknesses and define the way of working. Additionally, it will be necessary to properly delimit the problem to be addressed and its possible solutions.

Photo by Mapbox on Unsplash

What is defined in this launch meeting?

  • The main purpose of the product
  • Who will be involved in its design and development
  • How they will work together
  • How they will stay updated on their progress
  • What the expected outcomes or success metrics (indicators) are.

It is a start-up process and can be reduced as teams become more skilled… and projects lighter. It is important to bear in mind that each team and each project is different and has its own needs.

Good practice tips for kick-off meetings

  • A good practice regarding kick-off meetings is to talk to the stakeholders before the meeting, as it helps to break the ice and paves a direct path to thorny issues. Read also: Identifying key stakeholders.
  • Establishing a project’s red lines from the start is always crucial in order to avoid future frictions.
  • Ensuring that certain questions can be “off the record” to understand specific expectations and fears about the product.

These interviews with stakeholders help accumulate a list of high-level needs. These questions and their answers are usually reflected in a pre-launch document.

Principles for kick-off meetings

  • Inclusivity: it’s better to err on the side of inviting too many people than to realize that we forgot to invite a stakeholder who had something to contribute.
  • Safe environment: work on activities that do not pose “risks” among participants. The launch should serve to explore all the ideas and alternatives possible, better to leave egos at the door.
  • Agenda control: do not deviate from the agenda. The ideas gathered during the pre-launch in interviews with stakeholders (off-the-record conversations) are what should guide the agenda of the launch meeting. Additional topics that arise can be saved for a second meeting.
  • Creativity and fun: don’t be afraid to do something out of the box, especially when it comes to presentations (a kick-off project board presentation based on superheroes, for example), stepping out of the comfort zone can be a catalyst that helps eliminate frictions. It’s important to break the ice during the meeting.

Steps to follow for successful kick-off meetings

Once all the preparations have been made, it’s time to bring all the stakeholders together. Ideally, the kick-off meeting should be full of energy and enthusiasm, and team members should leave brimming with ideas and eager to explore solutions. In practice, however, kick-off meetings tend to be dreary.

The kick-off meeting brings all the key players together at one time to share information and a common purpose. In addition to the tips already mentioned, there are three factors that should always guide the conduct during a kick-off meeting to stay on course and move closer to the goals:

  • Motivate the group.
  • Maintain the right expectations.
  • Define guidelines that help complete the project on time and within budget.

To avoid surprises, leave nothing to chance. It’s preferable to have a detailed plan for the success of that kick-off meeting. Therefore, we recommend following these steps in your meeting preparation:

  1. Define the meeting’s objectives: it’s important to consider what you want to achieve from the meeting. The objectives can serve as the meeting’s agenda. Generally, the objectives will be the points we list below.
  2. Define the project’s goals and deliverables: it’s advisable to identify these elements so they can help decide on resources and plan. Some questions that can help in this process are: Why does each stakeholder’s opinion matter? And what is the reason for building the product at this time?
  3. Identify the team members and their responsibilities: resources may vary depending on the size of the product and its complexity. We need to ensure we consider what we need from the different departments involved: design, marketing, development, support, and operations.
  4. Develop a rough product plan: clarify the risks and opportunities. This will help us validate if we have the right resources and timelines for our tasks and milestones.
  5. Define the key success factors: why is the product valuable to the company, and how will you know you’ve been successful? Define our specific success criteria and validate them with all stakeholders.

In conclusion, the project kick-off meeting focuses on what and how users can purchase your product. It’s the birth of the product, the moment when the product definition process begins.



Torresburriel Estudio

User Experience & User Research agency focused on services and digital products. Proud member of @UXalliance