Project Kickoff Meeting: Your Secret Weapon for Success11 Jun, 2014 By: Robert Green
Establish ground rules and responsibilities before a project begins to minimize managerial challenges along the way.
Don't conclude the meeting until everyone is in agreement as to how the project will be conducted. At this point, you have a very powerful piece of leverage in your possession: managerial approval! Now anyone who tries to deviate from project procedures is not just making your CAD management job tougher, they are actually trying to rewrite management's approved approach for the project — thus potentially compromising deadlines or causing unforeseen technical issues.
Following are a few examples of how team members might digress from project rules. When dealing with such cases, you'll want to restate the project standards as defined at the kickoff meeting and point out that the team member is deviating from them.
Problem 1. Engineer A wants to use the a new iPad app we'll call CADCloud 1.0 to edit project electrical DWG files, even though the project instructions clearly state that AutoCAD Electrical is the software required for client deliverables.
Explain: We don't know that changes made in CADCloud 1.0 will be compatible with our component databases in AutoCAD Electrical, nor do we know what the filing format is from a version control standpoint.
Problem 2. Architect B wants to use his personal Dropbox folder to share BIM files with other branch offices even though project instructions clearly state that all work files must be stored on secure company servers.
Explain: We should never have project data floating around on unsecured personal accounts — ever! This creates a danger of exposing client information, for which we could be held financially liable.
Problem 3. Project manager C is in a hurry to get something sent to a contractor and instructs the CAD personnel to "forget doing this in BIM — just do it in AutoCAD so we can get it done now," even though other project team members are designing exclusively in BIM tools.
Explain: While the desire to get things done quickly is understandable, bypassing our BIM tools can open the door to coordination problems and simple errors that would otherwise be caught in a coordinated BIM environment.
I think you can see my approach: Use the agreed-upon project standards derived in the kickoff meeting to keep your project on track and your project tools consistent.
As technology and tools change, you might feel powerless to control it all. However, by using a project kickoff meeting framework to agree on tools and methods early on, you'll establish the authority needed to reduce project variables and risks.
So, remember the secret weapon — the project kickoff meeting — and use it for every significant project you start. Until next time.
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