What is a feature kickoff?
A feature kickoff is a meeting in which a product manager and other essential stakeholders outline plans, goals, and responsibilities for the team’s new feature development. The product feature kickoff is the event that marks the company’s formal start date for the feature’s development for most businesses.
What Should Be Included In Feature Kickoff
A large chunk of the discussion at a kickoff meeting should center around milestones. By creating milestones with the developers, managers, and clients present, you can set realistic targets that fit the clients’ vision.
You might think of a feature kickoff as the first day of a new project or the beginning of a new phase. It should set the tone for the rest of the project. Therefore managers must enter this meeting with clear objectives. Otherwise, a strong chance could be missed, causing the project to suffer later.
The Advantages Of Setting A Feature Kickoff
The majority of the project’s fundamentals, including development time, budget, needs, and responsibilities, will be laid out in this section. It’s also an excellent opportunity for the development team to meet the client supporting the project.
In most cases, feature kickoffs occur after the project has been confirmed; therefore, this meeting is not intended to be a sales pitch or a chance to close any transactions. This should primarily be a paperless event where all participants discuss and agree on ideas and expectations.
How to Plan a Feature Kickoff
The product owner or designer should create a low-fidelity user path map and have a general concept of what success measurements to utilize before the kickoff meeting. Before the session, share these with the team to prepare.
Choose a location with large walls or whiteboards for your feature kickoff meeting. Arrive a few minutes early and use the extra time to display your planned user path.
When the kickoff feature begins, Greet everyone during the kickoff session, and start by giving a brief explanation of the quality and its context. Please describe the problem or opportunity it will solve and how it will contribute to larger goals or projects. Introduce your target user persona and the benefit this product will bring them, referencing research or background information as needed. Then, write down your ideas for determining success.
Remember, the goal is to accomplish “just enough” and scoping before launching the feature. At this point, there are meant to be holes and gaps; the purpose of this meeting is to bring the team together to begin filling them.
Feature kickoff meetings are primarily held between the project managers and relevant stakeholders. That might be sponsors, clients, investors, or executives. The specific group will vary based on your business, but no matter what, the person directing the project must meet with the person paying for it.
It is also beneficial to have members of the development team present at this meeting, if possible. This accomplishes two critical objectives. First, it allows the stakeholders to get to know the team working on the project personally, and second, it will enable the team to understand what is expected from them.
Having these three parties (managers, stakeholders, and developers) meet before the project begins may significantly lessen the likelihood of miscommunications further down the road. Everyone should ask questions, give suggestions, and confirm what is and isn’t reasonable.
Even though many people may be present at the feature kickoff meeting, the project manager’s responsibility is to guide and prepare the discussion. Managers should follow a few rules when defining the plan to gain the best results.
In the first instance, the project manager should introduce all parties by their names and positions. Mainly, you will be striving to help the stakeholders better grasp the roles that the developers will perform. You may assure clarity by talking about past projects and having the developers speak a little about their work.
Following that, you’ll want to talk about the overall timeline for the project. If this has already been discussed, there will be a brief review. If this is the case, everyone involved should collaborate to develop a practical roadmap or Gantt chart for the weeks or months ahead of time.
Lastly, you’ll want to set goals and evaluate the hazards of each aim. For example, how likely is it that a specific goal would be unsuccessful, or how likely is it that another objective will go over budget? Allow everyone to contribute thoughts and insights unique to their point of view.