I love the word “Done.” Checking something off the list is rewarding. Even better, though, is finishing strong. And the enemy of a strong finish is a terrible start.

Kicking off a project isn’t usually simple, but the way you kick it off is important to ensure the project goes well. As someone who has taken a lot of project management courses and with a lot of PM experience, I am a sucker for a good work breakdown structure. And as marketer, I am focused on goals. This background has me focused on goals. You need to know where you’re going in order to get there, and the project kickoff defines this.

  • The problem statement. What problem do you have? Are there problems tangentially related that could also be addressed with this project?
  • The opportunity statement. In this, you define what can be accomplished by fixing the problem. This also helps you prioritize projects if you have many by allowing you to weigh the anticipated outcomes.
  • The goal statement. This is the one that tells you when you’ve achieved what you set out to do.
  • The initial scope. This defines the basic parameters of the project. Normally, there is more work to be done to establish the work that is going to go into the project, so this part gets reworked a few times before it is finalized.
  • Next steps. What else do you need to know in order to move forward? Have these all spelled out and set a timeline for those items.

After you have this, you have a starting point. Remember that if a project deviates from these initial discussions, you’ve either not asked the right questions, had the right people providing the answers, or something has come up in the research in next steps that provides a more significant opportunity.