Project Kick-Off Meeting Agenda: Banish Scope Creep Template

project kick off meeting

Picture this: You’ve onboarded a fantastic client. You’re psyched to get started and it’s time to hand the project off to the account manager.

The next step is easy: everyone can just jump right in and start cracking on those deliverables! Time to pour yourself a cold one.

* record scratch *

Eh, not so fast there, Kemosabe.

Shut the fridge door! Before you get started, you need to hold a project kick-off meeting.

Okay, what is this and why do you need it?

A project kickoff meeting is a critical step in any successful project. It gets your whole team on the same page, aligns the sales team, account manager, and deliverables team, and helps avoid unnecessary (and time-consuming) bottlenecks.

Sound good? Yeah, it’s a pretty great tool for scaling. But most importantly, a project kick-off meeting helps you avoid dreaded, costly, frustrating scope creep.

Nobody got time for that.

During a project kickoff meeting, you’ll cover topics like:

  • What exactly did sales promise the client?
  • Are there any special considerations for the client or project?
  • What’s the expected turnaround time?

Think about it: how can your team run a successful project that leaves the client happy without a project kickoff meeting? Skip that step, and you’re missing a crucial part of the delivery process.

Fortunately, it’s easy to run a successful project kick-off meeting that leaves every member of your team informed, aligned, and ready to dive in and get things done. The result is promises delivered and happy clients for your agency.

Ready to learn more about how you can master the project kickoff meeting process? Get the scoop below.

Table of Contents

What’s a Project Kickoff Meeting?
Why do you need a project kickoff meeting agenda anyway?
Sample Kickoff Meeting Agenda
No leaving the room without a clear-cut action plan.

What is a Project Kickoff Meeting?

A project kickoff meeting is the first meeting between the client and the team working on the project.

Wondering when to hold a kick off meeting? Great question.

Typically, it takes place after the agency has officially onboarded a client. Your team and the client have already agreed on details like the scope of work and the budget.

So where does a kick off meeting fit into the equation? The kick off meeting is your time to learn as much as you can about the client, their expectations, and their goals.

A well-organized kick off meeting agenda covers topics like:

  • The project’s main objectives
  • Team members’ primary responsibilities
  • The high-level scope of the project
  • Assumptions that went into the planning process
  • The proposed schedule for delivery and review

In a lot of cases, there’ll be more topics covered in a project kickoff meeting. But apart from defining the whats and whys, a project kick off meeting should also cover the hows, providing a clear direction and strategy for the project in question.

Who Should Attend the Meeting?

Put your dancing shoes on ‘cause it’s a kickoff meeting partay! Who should get an invite?

As a general rule, project kick off meetings should include everyone involved in the project. Or anyone who has a (direct or indirect) interest in it.

This list isn’t exhaustive, but the following people should probably get an invite:

  • The Project Team: The project team is your group of full-time and part-time team members who are working on the deliverables associated with the project. Depending on the type and scope of the project, this might include copywriters, designers, and project and account managers.
  • Project Sponsor: The project sponsor is the person (typically an executive) responsible for managing, administering, funding, and monitoring the project. To put it another way: the project sponsor is the person who makes sure work is getting done and that the project is on-track for delivery.
  • Project Stakeholders: The project stakeholders are the specific group of people who have an internal or external interest in the project’s successful outcome. These people may be your project team members or members of the client’s creative team.

While this is a general outline of the people who should be included in a project kick off meeting, it’s important to remember that each meeting and project is different. Include anyone who is important to the project and its successful completion.

Why do You Need a Meeting Agenda?

The start of a new project can feel a little overwhelming. There’s a lot of information flying around. You’re dealing with a new client, a new project, a new set of goals, and a lot of metrics and KPIs in-between.

Is chaos inevitable? No way.

It’s processes that bridle the chaos, and turn it into an organized system so creativity can flow.

The best way to keep that information organized and make sure you don’t miss anything during the project kick off meeting is to create a project kick off meeting agenda.

Here are a few benefits of flexing a meeting agenda:

  • Increased clarity about the project, goals, and deliverables
  • A second (and third, and fourth) set of eyes on the project to make sure all questions are answered and details covered
  • The development of important next steps — including a project execution plan and direction

Good news, Amigo. You don’t have to start your kickoff meeting agenda from scratch. Let’s take a look at a few kickoff meeting use cases and sample agendas you can adapt for your agency.

Sample Kickoff Meeting Agenda: 5 Key Steps to Follow

While every project is different, it pays to have a well-defined structure before starting any kickoff meeting.

Here’s the project kick off meeting template I swear by:

Step #1: Introduce the Team and Client

The kickoff meeting is a great time to make introductions. With that in mind, begin the meeting by congratulating everyone on the new project and thanking them for their time.

To ensure everyone is on the same page at the start of the meeting, ask a few key questions:

  • Has everyone been introduced?
  • Does everyone understand everyone else’s role in the project?
  • Is everyone familiar with the project’s deliverables and scope?
  • Does everyone understand the position of this project in the larger context of the company?

If the project involves people who have never worked together before, take some time to introduce everyone, provide some background, and explain how each team member fits into the project in question.

Step #2: Cover the Project Summary

You issued an intake form during the client onboarding process right? Be sure to do that. Because now’s the time to look over the responses.

This will help put the project in context and ensure everyone on your team understands things like:

  • What the project entails
  • Why it matters
  • Why it’s important to your client and team
  • Who the end-user of the site, product, content, etc. will be
  • Potential risks, constraints, difficulties, or roadblocks involved with the project

If there are any questions regarding the intake form or project summary, this is a great time to address them.

Step #3: Drill Down on the Approach

Typically, your agency will have already hammered out a Scope of Work (SOW) agreement before you sit down at the project kickoff meeting. Still, a successful kickoff meeting should cover the high-level scope of the project and, more importantly, the approach you plan to take to tackle the project.

Because most of the time, by the time they pay you they not only forgot what they paid you for and they want it done yesterday. #TheStrugleIsReal sooo…

Here are a few questions to ask and answer about the project scope:

  • What are the milestones and their delivery dates?
  • What tools, software, or platforms will you use to complete the project?
  • How will you address bottlenecks, time crunches, risks, compliance issues, etc. associated with the project?
  • Which team members or departments need to work together and communicate to get the project done?

Let the client know how your business and services work and agree upon the project scope.

Go through the timelines, estimates, statements of work, and anything else that’s applicable.

Remember your project management checklist? It was born for this. Get it out and start using it.

Step #4: Define Team Roles

project kick off meeting agenda

For a project to run smoothly, everyone needs to understand who’s supposed to be doing what, and when. To this end, acknowledge your team’s unique assortment of skills, and be sure everyone understands their role on the project.

Before you leave the kickoff meeting, attendees should know:

  • What they’re supposed to be working on (including key milestones, the expectations for those milestones, and target delivery dates)
  • The KPIs or metrics that will be used to track success on those deliverables
  • Who else on the team they need to work with

If anyone has questions about their role or position in the project, answer them during this phase.

Step #5: Outline Clear Next Steps

Next, come up with a project management plan to ensure that each attendee knows what comes next and what’s expected of them to drive the project to fruition. Set-up full project clarity before impatience takes over the meeting.

Make a plan for keeping everyone on the same page. This is the part where you talk about the collaboration tools you’ll be using, like Slack and Asana. You’ll also want to address how you’ll handle client questions that will inevitably arise during the project.

Discuss and clear misunderstandings regarding project objectives. Get all the questions out of the way before you start cracking on deliverables.

Bottom line: leave nothing to the imagination.

Wrapping up

To put it plainly: a project kickoff meeting is a must-do any time you start a new job.

In addition to helping you avoid unnecessarily time-consuming and (yikes) embarrassing miscommunications, a kickoff meeting puts every team member on the same page and makes it much easier to hit the ground running.

You can’t just waltz, or rather, stumble, into a kickoff meeting unprepared.

Instead, you need a project kick off meeting agenda. An airtight and scalable kickoff meeting agenda keeps you and your team on track and all bases covered. Oh, and bonus — it makes your team look good, too.

Okay, let’s review your action steps:

  1. Introduce the team and provide background
  2. Review the project summary and client onboarding form responses
  3. Define and align the approach and scope of the project
  4. Specify roles, deliverables, and tools used to get the job done
  5. Plan to collaborate, communicate, and get started on the next steps

While no two project management kick-off meetings are the same, the template above is flexible enough to adapt for any meeting. The idea is that it provides a strong foundation to build from and customize. With this template, you’ve got a decent starting point every time you sit down to meet with a client.

Are you ready to execute your projects like a pro and scale up your business like never before? Check this case study on how a divorced single mom of two turned her side project into a growing business.

Client Onboarding for Agencies

Build an Onboarding Machine. Bring More on Faster. Increase Revenue.

Ahh, the sweet, sweet smell of victory. You just closed that big-name client — time for a nice haircut and a vacation. 

*Record scratch*

Hold up. Victory isn’t yours just yet. And you’ve still got some work to do. 

Have you actually onboarded that client? And have you onboarded them effectively?

If you don’t have an airtight onboarding process, your client will be:

  • Confused
  • Confusing
  • Annoyed
  • And annoying

You need a buttoned-up client onboarding process. Let’s S.C.A.L.E. this beyotch. 

What’s S.C.A.L.E.? 

Our proprietary S.C.A.L.E. framework is a systematic, proven process for helping agencies scale and agency owners delegate confidently. 

The result? 

A business that runs like a smooth and kick as$ 21st century machine. And you get more harmony in your work-life integration. 

That’s the balance thing life coaches and gurus are always talking about. S.C.A.L.E. can do that for you. Here’s how it works for client onboarding. 

S: See what’s happening

Client onboarding for agencies is a frequently overlooked but vital part of project management strategy. You need the right information to be successful. 

An effective, customized client onboarding process from us will:

  • Help you retain good clients you actually want to work with
  • Set proper expectations on both ends of the deal
  • Define success for your projects and deliverables
  • Make new clients feel welcome and happy with their decision to work with you

This step in the process is like seeing your mise en place of client onboarding. 

What ingredients do you have? Which ones do you need to make a gourmet client onboarding process that’s scalable and repeatable? 

Next up, we take the ingredients you have and establish the baseline. 

C. Create a Baseline

This is the temp check. How’s it all going for you? Probably not good if you’re checking out this page. 

Agency owners and project managers, do you keep running up against:

  • You close clients, but you can’t seem to retain them
  • Your project’s keep getting out of scope and out of control
  • Your clients don’t seem to know what it is you’re doing
  • You’re not entirely sure what the client wants
  • Expectations aren’t met, clients are mad, and workers confused

During the C stage of the S.C.A.L.E process, it’s all about that base ‘bout that baseline. 

We pinpoint the process issues, benchmark where you are currently, and set a baseline. From here, we don’t have anywhere to go but up. Next, we take the good things you’re doing, optimize, and amplify. 

A. Amplify how you do it 

You’ve seen commercial buildings continue to operate while undergoing renovations, right? We’ll do the same thing for your digital store. 

It’s hop aboard the moving train here. We get it. Your business can’t just stop and it’s not going to. 

We’ll take the best of what you’re doing right, add what you should be doing, and get you where you want to be while continuing operations and keeping that money tap open. 

And once it’s open? It’s time for you to lead and delegate. 

L. Lead and delegate 

Once you’ve got your client onboarding process benchmarked and amplified with the good stuff, it’s time to delegate and get your team on track. 

Your employees will be so much more relaxed, happy, and productive. They’ll know what needs to be delivered and where they’re succeeding with your clients. 

Okay, now that you’ve got aces in their places, what’s left? Chillaxing and fully enjoying the fruits of your labor. 

E. Exit Stage Right

Time to get the hell out of the way. 

This is what you’ve always wanted as a business owner. A company that scales on autopilot without you needing to constantly roll up your sleeves and play the part of reluctant firefighter. 

Finally, you can enjoy your business’s growth and fully live your life outside of hand holding clients. 

Take Control of Client Onboarding

With S.C.A.L.E. for client onboarding, we’ll help you:

  • Setup client meeting kickoffs to align sales promises with deliverables
  • Define your goals and metrics for success
  • Create, download, and optimize your client onboarding process

Smoother, more efficient processes and an agency that scales are waiting for you. 

With an excellent, professional client onboarding process, you’ll retain more customers, banish the scope creep, and reach your business goals faster.

Get started today. Download our kick a$ client onboarding toolkit. 

Client Onboarding Resources

Treat your clients like kings and queens, and they’ll keep coming back. Once you close the deal, you have to welcome and educate them with client onboarding. 

You can’t scale chaos. If you’re in the weeds with your client onboarding, we’ll get you outta there with the tools, training, and collaboration you need. 

Fix My Client Onboarding Process, ScaleTime!

Why Your Agency Needs a Client Onboarding Process

86% of consumers say they’re more likely to remain loyal to a brand if it invests in onboarding content — welcoming them and educating them after they’ve made a purchase. 

Did you know that more than half of consumers have returned a product/ service, 

simply because they didn’t know how to use it? 

Client onboarding is crucial for retaining customers and increasing brand loyalty. 

So, what does it take to have a supercharged client onboarding process in place

Don’t make it easy for your competitors to steal your hard-won clients. 

We’ll show you how to get started with a client onboarding process that’ll improve your customer retention rates. 

What Is a Client Onboarding Process?

Love it or hate it, client onboarding is the red-headed stepchild of your business. 

You know it’s there.

You know it needs a lot of TLC. 

But you still ignore it and put all your focus on the sales process instead.

And herein lies the problem:

Your customers deserve your attention even after you close the deal. 

That’s why client onboarding exists and is relevant.  

The client onboarding process is your ability to pass the baton from sales to production successfully. 

It’s the experience you give to your client as soon as you, well, onboard them. 

From the customer’s point-of-view, onboarding is the support they expect to get post-sale. 

But why does client onboarding matter?

A recent study by Wyzowl found that over 63% of surveyed customers believed the onboarding process was an essential part of their decision to partner with a brand. 

When customers feel unappreciated during the onboarding process, 

they’re likely to stop doing business with that company and take their dollars elsewhere 

— to someone who gives a damn. 

So, what does that mean for you? 

Those amazing customer acquisition strategies you’ve created won’t give your business a double or triple-digit revenue increase if your customer retention is low. 

To give your clients the confidence that they’ve put their resources in the right team, you need to spend at least half of your business development budget (roughly 10% of your revenue) on the customer experience.

The effects of this investment may not be immediate. 

But investing in customer experience can skyrocket your business revenue by 200%.

It’s that powerful. 

Remember, regardless of what you may have believed so far, client onboarding is your company’s backbone. 

Five Key Parts of An Effective Client Onboarding Process

Establishing an effective client onboarding can be overhauled in a few hours. Use these five simple steps to get started. 

  1. Client Intake  — Begin with the end in mind and make a list of all of the assets, things, or people you’ll need to create a fantastic client journey.
  2. Client Brief — Before your team starts working on a project, ensure they have a detailed understanding of the client’s requirements. A client brief is all the information on a project, from sales to production. The absence of an excellent brief risks failing to deliver what you’ve promised your client. So, make sure the client brief is accurate, detailed, and on-point.
  3. Welcome Kit — Acquiring a new customer may be exhilarating for a business. For a client, though, it may lead to buyer’s remorse. This is where a Welcome Kit, with a positive email, helps build trust in your business right from the start.
  4. Kickoff — Set the stage for the client’s expectations with a good project kickoff meeting. Ensure clear communication while introducing your team to the client and reinforce that the client has made the right decision by choosing you.
  5. Client Results — Client onboarding doesn’t end at the start of production. Map your client’s journey and measure the results against the promises you’ve made — regularly. During this process, cover all the touchpoints of your client’s journey for a seamless experience without chaos.

Supercharge your  Client Onboarding 

A quick reminder here — the moment you onboard a client, kick it into high gear! 

Keep that $$$ – attracting a new client costs five times more than retaining the existing one.

  1. Scope out client intake to get a handle on the people, assets, and steps to take for success.
  2. Give your team a detailed understanding of the project with a client brief.
  3. Build trust with your client with a Welcome Kit.
  4. Ensure clear communication and deliver on promises with a kickoff meeting.
  5. Map your client’s journey and measure the results.

Bonus: 

View our Client Management Checklist to learn what client management systems you should implement after onboarding.