How Long Should A Kick Off Meeting Be?

If you’ve never hosted a project kick off meeting, you probably have a lot of questions. One of the questions is how long your kick off meeting should be.

This is what we’re going to look at here. I suggest you also check out my Ultimate Guide About Project Kick Off Meetings, which covers kickoffs from every angle.

The Right Duration for a Kick Off

As a rule of thumb, kick off meetings usually take between 1-2 hours. Of course it depends on the type and size of your project. A tiny 6 month project probably won’t require a long kick off like a 3 year million dollar project involving hundreds of people.

For my projects — large IT projects with 1 year in duration — I usually blocked two hours. This included 15 minutes at the end for answering attendee questions (very important!).

Actually, this is not a good question. Here's what you should ask instead

Instead of asking ‘How long should it take?’, better focus on what information you want to convey to the audience. Kick offs are a very important event at the beginning of every project. You are communicating to your team how the project is organized and what you expect from everybody.

Here are some better questions to ask:

  • What do I want people to know?
  • What do I want people to understand?
  • What do I want people to be aware of?
  • How do I want people to feel?
  • What are the fears or doubts of my team? How can I address those points?

Try to answer these questions for yourself. Then from the answers, make a plan of topics you need to cover in your kick off. For each topic, estimate the time it will take to go through. Finally, sum up the individual times to get the total duration of your kick off meeting. Bingo!

Pro tip: I try to view my kick off meetings from the perspective of being a coach of a sports team and we are meeting the day before the big game. By taking this perspective, you’ll get better ideas of talking points and how much time you should spend for the meeting.

Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments!

Adrian Neumeyer

Hi! I'm Adrian, founder of Tactical Project Manager. I created the site to help you bring your projects to success. In the past I've worked as an IT project manager for 10 years.

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