Advice for Junior PMs – #3 – The value of a kick off meeting for a small team

Culture eats Strategy for Breakfast – Peter Drucker

As a junior PM, you’re likely not going to be given a multi-million dollar mega project.  You probably won’t be managing more than 3 or 4 people for your first few projects.  If you have a project that lasts longer than 6 months, you’re the exception, not the rule.

So why, then, even though your small project was more likely to be successful than some of the larger ones, are you not feeling that elation and BFF-ness with your project team once things wrap up?  Quite frankly, it’s because you, as the Project Manager, did not take the lead proactively setting up the culture of your project.  Culture tends to devolve to the lowest common denominator – which isn’t a bad thing when you are surrounded by awesome people, but can really suck when you are assigned a couple of bitter cynics.

As a result of the likely limited time frame allocated for your project, internal kick off meetings get skipped in favor of expediting delivery.   This is a mistake that every junior PM makes because they are not comfortable “wasting time” with a small meeting.  Well, get uncomfortable.

Your kick off meeting is the perfect time to establish the culture that you want on the project.  Talk about your expectations around communication, risk management, and meetings.  Ask for feedback on working style.  Create a safe atmosphere for tough discussions.  Figure out the intangibles that would make you proud to submit your project for project of the year, beyond the usual scope, schedule, and budget successes.

Your kick off meeting will leave an impression for the remainder of your project.  Make it a good one.

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About Jason H Zalmanowitz
I am a nerdy Management Consultant / Project Manager with a MBA, have spent the majority of my career working for consulting firms in Calgary, and I race in triathlons because of (and thanks to) my wife. As a Project Manager, I have managed field implementations, strategy development projects, software development projects, and hardware implementation projects. As a consultant, I have helped companies articulate how and why they are going to implement and interact with sustaining technology to support their business.

One Response to Advice for Junior PMs – #3 – The value of a kick off meeting for a small team

  1. Pingback: Advice for Junior PMs – Introductory Post | Unnatural Leadership

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