Takeaways from Full-Immersion Kickoff Workshops

A few months ago, Bret wrote about the value of full-immersion kickoff meetings. The format of our kickoff workshops is always evolving, and we learn different things from each meeting.

Here are the four most important things I took away from my latest kickoff workshop:

1. Being well prepared is the key to an efficient and productive kickoff. For our most recent kickoff meeting, we were lucky to have had over a month’s advance notice before the beginning of the project. This gave us time to prepare material that we normally might not have time to put together, such as wireframes, rough prototypes, user flows, and most importantly, a thorough kickoff document. From the pre-planning, we went into the kickoff meeting knowing exactly what we needed from the client and what questions needed to be addressed.

2. The scope of a project can change drastically within a few days. Before we begin a project, we usually have a sense of what the client is looking for. We base our pre-kickoff preparations off of these assumptions, but it is important to keep an open mind to the project scope changing. For this project, we used the Lean Canvas Model, which is traditionally used to help startups and entrepreneurs define a focused business model. However, it is also very useful to use at the beginning of a new project to define the goals. It helps both the client and the project team understand and agree upon what the scope really is, and defines in detail what the project is about.

3. Initial in-person contact makes for a better client relationship. At Tivix, we require full-immersion kickoff workshops at the beginning of every new client engagement, which means a few full days of meeting in-person. Being able to see everything and everyone at once makes for more efficient communication. When everyone who is involved in the project is together in the same room, conversations start where they might otherwise not. It allows the team to get to really know and understand where each person is coming from.

4. A post-kickoff workshop summary ties everything together. About a week or two after our kickoff had ended, I put together a document that included a summarized version of our completed Lean Canvas Model, updated wireframes, finalized user flows and data models, and a timeline. It helps confirm that everyone is on the same page when we begin development and is a good tool to reference. 

Kickoff meetings take time and money, but when well-prepared, the project begins with a strong start.