The launch meeting has several purposes. They include the following:
- Expectations for performance and behavior
- Links between tasks and the overall objective (scope) of the project
- How the project success will benefit the team members
- Generating enthusiasm and commitment to the project.
But too often the launch meeting does none of these things. Here are some of the common causes:
- The sponsor makes vague threats about the consequences of failure
- The stakeholders are not supportive of the scope and discuss changes to it
- Department managers discuss pulling their people off the project for higher priorities. Launch Meeting Main Page
To achieve the benefits and avoid the problems, the project sponsor and project manager need to carefully plan and control the project launch meeting. Very often there are issues or concerns that are affecting the team members’ and stakeholders’ attitudes about the project. The project sponsor and project manager should understand these concerns and have a plan for addressing them. The project launch meeting is not the time to “downplay” or try and minimize the concerns. Instead, the project sponsor and project manager should use the launch meeting to directly address people’s concerns about the impact of the project on their departments and their daily work.
Unfortunately, launch meetings often leave team members wondering how they can avoid being blamed if the project fails. They may be concerned about finger-pointing when things don’t go right.
Watch this video as a project sponsor and project manager conduct the worst launch meeting in the history of project management. I’ll point out some of the mistakes the project manager and sponsor make. Then you can listen to the project team members privately describe their reaction to the meeting. Finally, I will analyze what went wrong and suggest how to do it better.