After having dealt with moderation design for the past few weeks now, I actually wanted to show you a few methods (We will get to those, I promise!), but now, I almost denied you a special form of workshop: the project meeting.

Even though much of the previously written, also applies to project meetings, they have their special features. The most important project meetings are the kick-off meeting, the mid-term meeting and the final meeting.

Big Project Picture

Big Project Picture

These project meetings are in a comprehensive context – namely – embedded in a project. Projects are tasks with special characteristics: they are unique, therefore complex, dynamic, temporally limited, usually with a certain risk and goal oriented. In addition, they will be edited in so-called “temporary organisations”, in other words, project teams which are simultaneously “social systems” which cannot act separately from their environments.

This sounds pretty challenging, does it not?

At the beginning of a project it is, therefore, essential that all project team members understand the scope of the project and develop a common vision. Perhaps you know it: in the project development phase many, who later worked on the project, were not or just a little integrated. The main objective of the kick-off meeting is therefore, the so-called “big project picture”. The kick-off meeting is the – by far – main event of any project. You have undoubtedly heard: “As you make your bed, so you have to lie in it!” To lie good in the project, means to plan the kick-off meeting particularly careful, especially in the international arena.

And I do NOT mean prepare a 300 narrowly written slides Power Point battle, on which each individual phase (for EU projects the phases can be called “Work Packages” – WP for short) described in detail which are recited in 1 – 2 days at the kick-off meeting. No, quite the opposite! The common understanding on the future work is important, but even more important is – in my view – the human component. The entails to get to know each other even better, to consider HOW to work with each other, communicate with each other and also to lay down rules.

Projekt Überblick Work Package

Especially in the case of international projects, in which you may have never met, before the start of the project, but only communicated virtually, I can highly recommend, to start with a “social event” the evening before. This also helps to overcome any communication barriers and to chat in a relaxed atmosphere. Especially in this 1st phase of a project, also called the “forming phase” (group dynamics theory by B.W. Tuckman), it’s a lot about safety, the feel the other out a bit, to find its place in the group as well as finding the motivations of the others to participate in this project. Satisfying this need takes time. There is no better time spend! And this happens very rarely in one-way communication, punctuated with ppt! 🙂 And you know: “As you make your bed so you must lie on it!”

Kick-Off Meeting: As you make your bed so you must lie on it!

Kick-Off Meeting: As you make your bed so you must lie on it!

In one of the next contributions I’ll present you with a few methods that you can use in project meetings (e.g. constellation, brain walk, etc). You can also use getting-to-know-each-other-games. Yes, I’ve said it: Games! And by that I also mean exactly that! This is nothing frivolous and childish, but a slightly different, loose and, at the same time educational and emotionally meaningful type of approach.

Moderationsmethode: Sozio-Metrie / Aufstellung

With larger project groups you can e.g. also work in the World Café Setting and organise fish bowls, etc. with these participatory methods you can engage the project team members, get them involved, question their opinions and at the same time gather different perspectives, create an overview of the work packages and, therefore, the big project picture. Conclusion: several birds with one stone! Sounds promising, doesn’t it?

Projekt World CaféWorld Café

Okay, that’s it for now. Next time I will present to you a very concrete example of an (international) kick-off meeting, to make it even more vivid.

If you wanna learn more about project management in general, feel free to check my offers about project management coaching, social skills  and PM methods and PM processes.

All the best meanwhile! Birgit