Step 2 - The Kick-off Call
In the first topic of the series, I talked about the critical role that project management plays in the success (and sometimes failure) of a project. In this edition, I am going to talk about the Kick-off Call and what it takes to get a UCaaS project off to a good start, thus setting the tone for the rest of the project. I know some of this is fairly basic, however, teams effectively execute when the basics are done well.
What and who to bring to the call:
- The Project Manager – an obvious one, however the Project managers should come prepared and organized. They should sport a project plan that demonstrates competency to the customer by showing that the Vendor, VAR or MSP understood the projects requirements and timeframe for delivery. This plan should also incorporate the best design and implementation practices.
- The Project Team – This team should be on the call or at the meeting and be able to demonstrate the expertise and experience necessary to speak to all aspects of the project, including answering any questions that may come up over the course of the meeting. Nothing shakes a customer’s confidence like holding the first project meeting and a project team that can’t cover all the bases or answer questions with confidence.
- The Project Plan – This plan must look professional and incorporate all phases and aspects of the project. It should include a reasonable timeline that can be met in a fashion that meets or exceeds the customer’s expectations. Finally, it should be easy to update and send to the customer to reflect progress and status.
- Plans for Future Meetings and Status Updates – Have plans and suggestions in place for regular communication with the customer. This should include a weekly meeting with the customer to discuss progress against the plan, as well as any issues or roadblocks that come about. These meetings should be documented in minutes and communicated to the extended project team. Meeting notes should include action items and any issues and risks, as well as recommended resolutions with deadlines. It should not be a mystery to anyone on either side of the project as to the project’s status and health.
If you have a solid project management methodology in place and know how to have a proper Kick-off Call, then your project should be off to a positive start with a customer that is looking forward to a great implementation experience.
You can now turn your attention to producing a project design that delivers against the requirements and exceeds your customer’s expectations.