Design consultancy Polidea conducts in-person client workshops each time they help a team kick off a new project. It helps them quickly align with a new team, and lays the blueprint for the work to come. While originally created for design workshops, their framework for preparing for the kick off meeting can be used by any team that wants to be in sync before starting on their next big project.
How Polidea Prepares for a Workshop Kick Off
- Know the problem to be solved. This might seem obvious, but make sure you fully understand the breadth of the problem, why you’re solving it, and what the desired outcome is. Any information relating to the problem should be collected ahead of time. Polidea recommends soliciting this type of input using a Lean Canvas; while they work on it with clients, you may find it helpful to reach out to other teams within your organization. If you're short on time, though, try simply filling out this corny advertisement slogan: Try out [product]! You will never [user problem] again. Thanks to [most important feature] you will be able to [goals to achieve]. Feel like [user’s emotions].
- Conduct user research. Find out who the customer is, and why they're the target for the new product or service. If you’re creating a variation on an established product, you may be able to use current user data. But if you're coming up with a new solution, try surveying a sample of ideal users about their current product knowledge and need states.
- Scope the project. Create a timeline, list out key players, and highlight important milestones so that you have realistic expectations and are in agreement before the project officially kicks off.
- Align with the bigger picture. The mission (in Polidea's case, the brand) should guide your decisions throughout the process. Make sure the full team has an understanding of the company's mission, vision, and values, and work to align the project with it.
Takeaway: The beginning of a new project is the perfect time to establish group norms and determine how the team will collaborate. Use the kick off meeting to align around ways of working and understand how it relates to the company's overall mission.