The initial meetings that are held before a project is finally given the green light t go ahead can set the tone for everything that follows so, as a business analyst, make sure you understand what constitutes a successful kick-off meeting for your next project. And make sure you are well-prepared by following these tips so that you do have a successful kick-off meeting on your next project.
Establish The Goals and Objectives
The very first thing that everyone needs to understand are the goals and objectives – the vision if you like. And the business analyst is perfectly placed to help everyone appreciate what needs to be achieved and to help establish a common goal that everyone will want to work towards by laying out the benefits of completing this particular project. When people truly understand the benefits then they will be happy to come along for the ride.
Team Roles & Responsibilities
A business analyst may not be directly responsible for defining team roles and responsibilities but a BA can help identify the most appropriate team members and influence who is assigned to what role. The BA can also ensure communication is easy by ensuring everyone is absolutely clear about responsibilities, that it is documented and individuals contact details are readily available.
Define Success Criteria
All projects should have expectations clearly laid out from the start so that there is no doubt whether it is a success or not come the final day. Success needs to be measurable and to be measurable it needs to have success criteria defined from the start and, importantly, agreed by all from the start.
Most, if not all, projects will experience problems of one sort or another throughout their lifecycle so identifying potential problems at the outset can ensure that you are well-prepared to take any mitigating action if they do occur. Business analysts can provide essential input into identifying risks and proposing solutions or alternatives in difficult situations.
Ensuring Effective Communication
Effective communication does not come about by chance; communication procedures need to be specifically documented and formally put in place. There might be particular issues to overcome such as team members based in different locations or in different timezones but by establishing a consistent process these issues can be overcome, For instance, this could be as simple as scheduling a weekly conference call and using a simple real-time app like Basecamp, Freedcamp or Asana. The decision on which tools to use should be agreed with everyone, the tools must be made available to everyone and everyone should be committed to use them, especially if they are tools that show real-time status. It is essential that statuses are updated if these tools are to be relied on and to be useful.
If there are additional data that will be useful in presenting the benefits of the project to everyone at the kick-off meeting, or visual aids that could be useful in helping people understand difficult concepts then make sure you have this information readily available as a presentation or slide show prior to the meeting.