Client Project Kickoff Tasks
This week you meet your clients for the first time, to kickoff the project.
The kickoff meeting is absolutely critical to the success of any project. Many things have to happen, many unknowns have to be managed. To make it interesting, in this class, you only have an hour!
Your top goals are outlined in these slides.
Preparation and focus is the secret. Below are steps that can make kickoff efficient and effective:
- Create your team slide to share with your client
- Define your internal team roles
- Adapt your infrastructure
Team slides are like a web site for your company. A quick way for the client to see who you are, what you've done, and how to contact you.
Create your team slide in the slide set I created in the shared Google client projects folder. Clients have full access that folder.
- Edit the pictures and text for team member slide
Silos are bad. If just one team member knows Firebase, and just one knows Angular, you have a bus factor of one twice over.
But roles are good. Roles define common non-technical responsibilities all teams have. By defining who should worry about what, fewer things fall between the cracks.
Two roles are particularly important for working with your client.
Contact point: All emails from the team
to the client should go through one person, so that the client
can easily find all project emails. The contact point
- always CCs the entire team and all clients on all emails.
- Do not CC me.
- forwards emails to everyone on both sides if the client forgets and replies to just the contact point
- Note taker: Never never meet with a client without
at least one person in charge of taking notes.
Clients notice when no one is writing things down.
- Note takers must focus on listening, and writing, not talking.
- Note takers circulate the notes with the team immediately after the meeting, for correction.
- Contact point sends the notes to the client for confirmation.
- Because note taking takes time, and reduces participation in client meetings, I recommend you rotate this job from meeting to meeting.
Weekly client meetings
There are two weekly client meetings, very different in type and purpose:
- a 1-hour face to face iteration planning meeting
- a 30-minute midweek checkin -- this is often a conference call
The kickoff meeting is where you get to know the client as a person and what the real goals of the project are. It's where they get to know you as people. It's where first coding tasks have to be defined, in such as way as to maximize value to the client, not the developers.
To define the first iteration deliverable
- Start with the payoff in panel 3 of the 4-panel storyboard
- Slice it to something you are very confident you can build in one or two swarms that can support user testing the payoff proposition
- Collect sketches of the user interface
- Write out a user interface flow
- Define at least one acceptance test example with specific data
- Try to have at least one outline of a user test scenario that the deliverable will support
You won't know until you meet the client exactly what technical infrastructure you will need. Some things are that often done differently in the client team project are:
- Mobile web rather than hybrid app: Web is a lot easier, but limited. Many clients want apps, not mobile web, even when mobile web will work. The client decides.
- Two permanent branches: master and development. These should be merged at least once a week, if not more often, but only when the client is ready, i.e., not in the middle of testing. Create feature branches off of development.
- Shared task board, e.g., Trello or waffle.io or others, that clients can access and modify.