What to expect from a Project Kickoff meeting

December 14, 2022

Your HCM system implementation project is going to begin. There is a kickoff meeting scheduled and your calendar invitation to the kickoff meeting has arrived! So now what? What should we expect from the project kickoff meeting? The project kickoff will be run by your Implementation Project Manager (PM). It is likely the first time you get to meet your PM. Now you can put a face to the name of the person who you will be working closely with from here on out.

What to expect from a Project Kickoff Meeting
Your HCM system implementation project is going to begin. There is a kickoff meeting scheduled. What should you expect?

There is a lot of high-level information that will be reviewed in a kickoff meeting, such as:
• What is the overall scope of the project?
• What modules did you purchase?
• What are the key project dates?

The kickoff meeting reviews the basic who, what, when, and how. As we go along in your project, the PM will also record items that we don’t have answers to now but will need going forward.

At a granular level, the meeting typically commences with introductions. The PM will introduce the project team, including the Executive Sponsor, the client-side Project Manager, and the Subject Matter Experts (SME) for the modules that you are implementing. Do you understand your role and responsibilities for the project? Now is the time to ask questions and make sure you have a clear understanding.

The discussion will continue with the 50,000-foot view of the overall project. Your PM will outline the methodologies that the project managers will use on the client side and the implementation consultant side. We will talk about the launch methodology, which modules will be implemented first, and if there are dependencies the team needs to be aware of. Key success measures, such as data integrity, will be highlighted, as will the all-important communication plans and where to find them. You can expect to hear about weekly status calls and other ways the team will communicate with each other.

Don’t let the size of the project overwhelm you. The project manager and implementation consultants will lead your team through portions of the overall project known as phases. Some phases are standalone while others have dependencies that will be explained during the kickoff meeting. Understanding these phases helps each team member to understand how much effort they will be required to spend on the project during each phase. The planning and discovery phases tend to require less effort for SMEs while the testing and deployment phases will likely take a lot more time and focus. These subsequent phases are when you get into the details and when the training you received becomes indispensable.

Training? Yes, there will be training, and you should hear more about the training schedule and what will be expected of you during the kickoff. Be sure to have your calendar available as getting the training scheduled is often a critical first step. Listen to hear what you need to know to get yourself set up for your training.

You can expect shortly after the kickoff call to receive meeting notices for weekly status meetings. Large projects may be split into different groups which may have separate stakeholder meetings and less frequently a meeting of the larger group.
There is a lot of information shared at the kickoff meeting and it is not meant to scare anyone. In fact, the project kickoff is an exciting event! You get to see and often meet all the experts that will be there to guide you, and you can rest assured that you are not alone. The icing on the cake is getting your first glimpse of the new system that will improve so many of your HR and people processes. Let the project begin!

Need help with your implementation or project management? You can contact HRchitect here to find out how we can assist you with a successful HCM implementation and project management.

Jim Chandler is a Project Manager at HRchitect. Jim brings more than 20 years of experience in payroll & HR to the team. His experience includes 10 years in HCM implementation; 5 of those years supporting UKG in implementation consulting and project management. From the perspective of a client and an implementation project manager, Jim emphasizes transparency with short and long-term goals with clients. This approach ensures a client’s present and future successes with their HCM system. Jim guides his projects by being impeccable with his word, not making assumptions, and by always doing his best.
To learn more about Jim’s experience please connect with Jim on LinkedIn: Jim Chandler