How to do: “Kick-off”

Hints and tips for a successful start to any project.

© Jacob Lund / Fotolia

© Jacob Lund / Fotolia

A kick-off signals the official start of a project. Those involved in the project get to know the project and each other. Project objectives are presented and communication channels are agreed upon. In short: a kick-off gets everyone around a table and creates the conditions for a successful project.

How do we achieve a successful project launch?

A kick-off can be as varied and diverse as the projects they launch. But all kick-offs have the same goals:

  • To present the participants and their tasks within the project
  • To provide information about the project, along with a rough outline
  • To announce deadlines and milestones
  • To identify potential risks

Ideally, at the end of the kick-off everyone involved should have the same information and be dying to get started on successfully completing the project. 

Before the kick-off

The story so far: You have developed a device, a machine or a system and are about to launch it on the market or put it into service. We at kothes are to supply the relevant documentation. The “Writing the manual” project is about to start. Upon receiving your order, we have chosen the editors to work on the project. During a brief telephone conversation we have agreed on the date for the kick-off.

During the kick-off – the agenda

If we haven’t met yet, our first step will be to introduce ourselves. As well as my name and position, you would probably like to know what tasks and projects I have been involved with so far and why I was chosen to successfully complete your project. I, on the other hand, am looking forward to meeting my contacts and learning how they are connected to the product that we are to document.

And what is the product? You present it. Maybe we have been able to take a look at the documentation for the product’s predecessors beforehand. Maybe there is a brief presentation or prototype we can look at. These insights and overviews flesh out our image of the project. 

And what about the manual? You may know what content the planned document should contain, or you may want our expert advice on how to develop and structure the manual. We are happy to explain our working methods and workflows. You can then decide what kind of support we need to provide for your project.

What other information is important? It all starts with the deadlines, so that everything is ready in time for you to launch your product on the market or put it into service. Our schedules ensure that there is enough time for correction runs and translation. In addition, unless we have already done so earlier, both sides exchange email addresses and telephone numbers and discuss the document exchange process.

After the kick-off

What happens next: this is also discussed during the kick-off. The documents we need for processing are identified and sent. And then the project begins – ideally with research. Before we start writing, we need to know plenty of detail. But that is another topic ...

So why a kick-off?

A kick-off provides an introduction to everyone involved in the project. They gain an understanding of the task, how it will be handled, and learn what their main focus should be – so that the “Writing the manual” project is a success story for both sides.

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