I always put a lot of effort into emails I send to my project team.
Because besides our interactions, it’s largely the communication which influences how my team members perceive the project (and I want them to feel good about the project)
The kickoff invitation is usually one of the first emails you send out.
But what should you write in your kickoff invitation?
In this article I’ll show you not just what points to include in your kickoff invitation. You’ll also learn how to communicate with your team and stakeholders in a powerful and empathetic way.
But wait! Before you send out the kickoff email, let’s make sure you are really prepared.
Steps You Need to Do Before Inviting For The Kickoff
There are a few key steps you need to have completed before the kickoff. Among other things, you should have taken care of the following things:
- Your project is fully planned out and approved (got the signature?)
- You have clarified who is going to be on your team (project organization)
- You have identified all stakeholders (they must be joining the kickoff!)
- You have personally met with all project team members to explain their role and your expectations (to avoid later confusion)
- You have thought about what could go wrong (in other words, you have identified the biggest risks and you know how to manage those risks)
- You should have your kickoff slide deck ready (this is my slide deck)
For a complete list of steps to perform for a new project, get my Project Startup Checklist. This is the checklist I follow for every new project.
Also, if you are looking for project templates, I have a set of good and simple project management templates.
As I said, make sure you are really ready for the kickoff, because this is an important milestone in your project. It doesn’t make sense to jump into a project if either some pieces are missing or if you are not feeling confident about the project.
Now let’s go to the actual kickoff email. Here is a sample email which pretty much resembles the kind of kickoff invitation emails I send out.
Kickoff Invitation Email (Example)
Subject line: Project Kickoff: ERP Implementation Project
Over the past weeks, we have worked hard on setting up the ERP Implementation Project. A long awaited project that will help to speed up processes and simplify work in all areas, and ultimately make Walter Tools even more successful!
With the project fully planned out from A-Z, we are now ready to officially start the project. We therefore would like to invite you to the project kickoff meeting where you will be given a full overview of the project.
Here is what we will cover in the kickoff:
- Project overview: What exactly is the goal of the project? What were the reasons for starting it? And what changes will the new system bring about? We’ll give you the background so that you can see the big picture.
- Project schedule: We will walk you through the entire schedule so that you know exactly the steps involved and the timing of activities. This way you are able to plan ahead.
- Project organization: You will get to meet the entire project team. Take this opportunity to meet the amazing people you will be working with for the next few months!
- Roles and responsibilities: We will explain in detail all roles and the specific responsibilities of each team member. This is to ensure all of you have clarity on your part. We will also communicate to you the expectations from the project management team and the CEO.
- Q & A: We want to make sure you have all the information you need to be an effective contributor to the project. Therefore we have set aside some time to answer any questions you might have.
The kickoff is a very important meeting, because it will give you clarity on your role in the project, your responsibilities and the timing of tasks.
Therefore I kindly ask you to participate. I know we are all busy, but you’ll understand we can only make this project a success if everybody is on the same page. Therefore, please join us! In case you absolutely can’t attend, please let me know. I will arrange an alternate meeting for those who cannot attend this meeting.
ADD MEETING ROOM INFO
You can also join the kickoff meeting via Zoom. Here are the details:
ADD ZOOM or TEAMS LINK
I look forward to meeting you all! Let’s make this project a success!
Thank you and best wishes,
Senior Project Manager
Now that you’ve gone through the email example – what did you notice about it?
Let me comment on a few things:
My Tips For Writing Kickoff Invitation Emails
Generally about writing project-related emails:
I always try to keep emails concise and easy to read. I strip out any unnecessary words or details that are not fully relevant to the project team (Did you notice: I just removed the word ‘fully’ as it is not needed)
Regarding the tone, I want my emails to stand out from other emails. The emails should feel friendly (‘you’ instead of ‘I’), and I like some emotion to shine through. Occasionally I will add a funny remark. That’s why my emails get read and people respond to them!
Specific to kickoff emails:
Outline what the attendees are going to ‘get’ out of the meeting. Why should they attend? Give some reasons just as I did in the example.
Make sure you emphasize the importance of the kickoff. It is such an important meeting because you are sharing all the relevant information your team needs to know in order to be successful. Therefore all project participants must attend!!!
As you can see in the kickoff email example, I am asking attendees to attend. And I’m offering to do an ‘alternative’ kickoff meeting for anybody who can’t be at the actual meeting. I always do so, because I want to be sure all project participants and stakeholders are on the same page and have received the same information from me (the initial ‘brainwash’ from the project manager — just kidding).
Finally, you want to give people the possibility to join remotely. Therefore, make sure you add a Zoom or Teams link to your kickoff invite.
Should you include any documents or slides with the invitation email? No you don’t need to. Just send out an email after the kickoff meeting where you include the Powerpoint slides.
So, that’s all I can say about writing good kickoff emails.