Who should I bring to the kick-off meeting?

Recently, a new client asked me who should participate in the kick-off meeting for a project to design a website that would communicate the outcomes of a large research study.

Figuring out who to involve in a project, and when, can be an interesting challenge. In this case, the client had a team of seven content contributors in the UK and several more overseas. One of the team was overall project sponsor and another the project lead. In its approach to research, the team has had a very consensual approach.

The analysis we went through to reach a view was as follows.

Firstly, the decision depended on how the project and website will be run from a content creation and editing point of view. Small teams are always helpful in terms of getting decisions made quickly and getting things done. However, if there’s an important organisational requirement for all team members to have a strong sense of ownership of the project as a whole rather than just their own specialist area that would point to broader participation.

The risk with large groups of people is that editorial and design decisions end up getting made by consensus. Compromises are made all over the place, simplicity and focus get lost, too much energy gets expended contemplating too many issues, and everyone ends up feeling just a bit frustrated that the end product doesn’t quite live up to their expectations.

The risk with large groups of people is that editorial and design decisions end up getting made by consensus. Compromises are made all over the place, simplicity and focus get lost, too much energy gets expended contemplating too many issues, and everyone ends up feeling just a bit frustrated that the end product doesn’t quite live up to their expectations.

The project sponsor and lead recognised a need to establish editorial leadership, standards and processes. The larger the group whose opinions had to be considered and taken into account, the harder it would have been for that leadership and standards to be exercised.

The key test we applied was to ask whether a particular individual was going to be actively involved in the project in the weeks and months following the kick-off meeting. If they were only going to have a peripheral involvement then we decided not to involve them in the kick-off. Our client ultimately involved the sponsor, lead and two of the content contributors in the kick-off.

Author
Chris Scott
Date
17 April 2015
Categories