Agile Project Management Process Grid–Process 3.2 Project Kick-Off Meeting

In the book “PMI-ACP Exam Prep PLUS Desk Reference”, John Stenbeck created an Agile PM Processes Grid, which has 87 Agile PM Processes divided up between the 5 process groups and 7 knowledge areas.

I just got done summarizing the first blocs of processes, those in the first process group (the Initiate process group) and the first two knowledge areas (External Stakeholders Engagement and Value-Driven Delivery).

Now, I am embarking on a description of the third block of processes, those in the first process group (the Initiate process group) and the third knowledge area (Adaptive Planning). Adaptive Planning might be better termed “Juggling the Constraints”.

The first of the four processes in this knowledge area is Process 3.1 Team Acquisition and that was covered in the previous post.  This post will cover the second of the four processes in this knowledge area, namely Process 3.2 Project Kick-Off Meeting.

The kickoff meeting is an important meeting in both traditional and agile PM.   But agile PM emphasizes more of a hands-on approach where group exercises are used to clarify project scope, rather than just a presentation by the PM to the team as happens in more of a traditional kickoff meeting.

Here’s the key objectives of a project kickoff meeting.

  1. Establish ground rules–identification of the agile framework being used and agreeing upon the ground rules for team members to behave with each other and to collaborate
  2. Have the project vision presented by the customer/proxy–group exercises are used to develop the product vision box, the elevator statement (a succinct version of the vision statement), and the product data sheet (see previous blog posts for detailed explanations of all of these)
  3. Review the high-level business case–every team member must understand why the project is being done, both from the customer and from the company’s point of view
  4. Document the one or two dozen key features–every team member must have a clear understanding of what is being developed
  5. Project setup and release and iteration planning–the top four objectives can be accomplished in two hours, after which the senior stakeholder may leave because this fifth objective may take the rest of the day.   Project setup involves identifying proof-of-concept work as well as laying out subsequent iterations.   Release and iteration planning allows the customer/proxy to make planning decisions regarding feature priority.

What happens if some team members will work remotely?   Every effort should be made to bring them in at least for the kickoff meeting.   It’s not enough to just read the meeting minutes, because again agile is not a spectator sport, it’s a hands-on activity (which is one of the reasons why Scrum is such an apt name) which requires team interaction.

The next process is incremental delivery, which is the subject of the next post.


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