So you finally selected an e-learning partner and are ready to kick-off your new project! Congratulations! I’d love to tell you the hard work is over, but it’s really only just beginning. Fun stuff, right? A true custom e-learning developer adheres to a very collaborative, iterative development process that requires your attention, input, and ongoing investment. While we know you have full-time jobs, and our team is here to do the heavy lifting of project development, we still need you and your team at key touchpoints along the way.
The first key touchpoint, the initial project kick-off meeting, helps set the tone and expectations for the project, so it’s crucial that this meeting time is used wisely. To help you best prepare for a successful project kick-off, we’ve compiled some common client questions and our answers below.
How long does a kick-off meeting typically take?
As a general rule, kick-off meetings typically run between one to two hours, depending on how much source content and direction we have in advance. If there’s a lot of source material we want to talk through with your team, the meeting can take longer.
Who should I include in the kick-off meeting?
The client side of a project kick-off meeting typically includes a designated project manager, subject matter experts (SMEs), all business stakeholders (this includes anyone with sign-off authority), and an LMS/technical contact. Depending on your company and project, you may also want to include someone from your Marketing team.
Do my Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) really need to be there? They have limited availability.
Yep, we hear you, but they do need to be there. We highly encourage all client-side stakeholders attend the project kick-off. We define a stakeholder as someone that, at any time, could step in and impact the project in any way. If it’s really just truly impossible for you to wrangle all your SMEs into one room for an hour, then perhaps you need to vote some off the island.
Does this meeting need to be face-to-face?
A good majority of our custom e-learning projects are developed entirely virtually. While we love to meet our clients in person (and they are always welcome to visit our offices!) it’s not necessary for successful project development.
What’s the general agenda for a kick-off meeting?
Project kick-offs typically follow this general format: team introductions, summary of project expectations/deliverables, and then a brief review of our development process. The majority of the meeting is then used as an initial design discussion, where we will ask you questions about source content, discuss visual and instructional design likes and dislikes, and review any technical considerations or constraints.
What deliverables should we expect to see at kick-off?
None, because the project hasn’t started yet! The project kick-off marks the official start of project development work. While we may have been reviewing your source content prior to the kick-off, we haven’t begun production quite yet. We use this meeting to introduce you and your team to the internal tools we will use to share future deliverables, including the Project Hub and Bugtracker. We will review the results of the pre-kick-off survey and also often use this time to develop and agree upon an initial project timeline.
Why do we need a formal kick-off? I already sent you source content and learning objectives. Can’t you get started with what you have now?
You would be surprised to know how many times we learn things at kick-off! During the sales process, we’re usually only talking with one or two of your team members or someone in procurement. This is worth noting because typically there are a lot of additional stakeholders or team members that will be involved in the project, and they have important information, opinions, and insights to share. The kick-off is the best way to kickstart the project on the right track, move things from the sales conversation to your official project team, and define and ensure success.