- the project team gets fully enabled to work on the project
- team members get to know each other (who works with me? what are their skills?)
- team members get to know the partner organization and the project task (what is wanted / needed by the NPO?)
- agree on a way of organizing the team
The kickoff workshop marks the start of the project work. Hence, it plays a special role in the course of the project. On one weekend (or an online meeting if an in-person meeting is not possible), the relevant stakeholders of the project come together to discuss the concrete goals of the project and how they can be reached. Participants are:
- the project coordinator
- the project team lead
- the projec team
- representatives from the partner organization
The kickoff also marks the point in the project process where the main responsibility is passed on from the project coordinator to the project team lead and the project team.
The goals of the kickoff are:
- The project team knows the goals and values of CorrelAid, sees itself as part of it and knows the goals and values of the client.
- The project team knows the expectations and goals of the partner organisation and makes them its own.
- The project team identifies with the task and has developed its own vision for the work.
- The project team knows its own strengths and weaknesses and has developed a preliminary distribution of tasks.
- The project team had fun during the kickoff
The project coordinator is responsible for preparing the kickoff together with the project lead. The project coordinator and project lead agree early on who has what responsibilities in the preparation and implementation of the workshop. Whenever this chapter talks about activities that the project coordinator or project lead is responsible for, these are merely suggestions.
Whenever possible, determine date and location for the kickoff as early as possible. You can even fix a date before sending out the call for applications and make it a requirement that applicants can participate in the workshop. The partner organisation is responsible for the financing and logistics on site - especially providing the location and catering. The project coordinator accompanies this process in close consultation with the partner organisation, but without taking on the task!
CorrelAid can provide you with access to a Zoom pro meeting room and other collaborative tools that can be useful in online workshops. Please ask in #infrastructure.
If conducted online, the kickoff workshop should take place on the weekend. It should last 1-3 hours, depending on the needs of the project team.
The members of the project team take care of their own travel arrangements. They can settle the travel costs with the partner organisation after the event. The project coordinator agrees upon the guidelines for the reimbursement of travel expenses with the partner organization in advance. The coordinator then informs the participants of these guidelines. Project team members should travel by public transport (train or bus). Air travel is only permitted in certain circumstances.
does not apply
If the participants are not directly accommodated by the partner organisation, this must also be organised by the project coordinator. Any costs incurred must be borne by the partner organisation. There are various accommodation possibilities available, depending on the location of the kickoff.
Depending on the location, project team members can also be accommodated by their private contacts (friends, family, ...) or other CorrelAid network members.
However, to facilitate team building, a form of shared accommodation is desirable. Youth hostels and hostels are an interesting and inexpensive infrastructure here.
does not apply
Further expenses of the project coordinator for the preparation of the workshop (moderation material, ...) can be reimbursed via CorrelAid e.V. by prior arrangement. The project coordinator will contact the treasurer before the purchase. For the settlement of the invoice, the original invoice is needed. The project coordinator makes a list of which other materials are needed on the location of the kickoff and informs the partner organisation. Always needed: Beamer and power extension cables, moderation material, pens, but also fruit, drinks and snacks for in between.
does not apply
The planning of the weekend should closely mirror the goals formulated above. In the following, we provide a suggestion for the course of the workshop, including templates and helpful methods. Of course the schedule can and should be adapted to the local conditions and the needs of the involved parties! It is important that the project coordinator keeps in mind that besides the content, socializing is an important part of the weekend. Observe group processes and give them space! In the end, this strengthens the project team's cohesion and motivation and thus facilitates the cooperation later on. Creates spaces for informal exchange and being together.
Representatives of the partner organization should participate during the workshop, at least on Friday evening and Saturday afternoon. They are responsible for explaining the objectives and the background of the project to the project team, explaining the values and impacts of the organisation. On Saturday, the developed project schedule should be adjusted together with them to the desired impact for the for the partner organization.
Think about when and in what context you want to welcome the participants. First things first, so give them time to bring their stuff to their accommodation and to have a quick look around. It will probably make sense to eat together after arrival and then start the weekend together.
A functioning team must know each other. This requires time right from the start and informal phases from time to time. Pay attention to group dynamics and to the needs of the team members.
Introduce yourself, explain the agenda for the weekend, ask about expectations and fears, clarify common rules and what needs to be taken into account. But: don't crowd the Friday either. Especially getting to know new people takes time. Ice-breaker games can be helpful here.
Short presentation of CorrelAid by the project coordinator. If you do not have a presentation about CorrelAid at hand, you can the slide master which includes a collection of useful introductory slides. It is important that the team knows the mission, objectives and values of CorrelAid and understands that they are part of the network, that they are CorrelAid.
The partner organization usually introduces itself. Alternatively, the project lead takes over this task.
The focus of this evening should be on the work of the NPO, its mission and values, in order to develop an understanding of "who we are actually working for". The actual problem should then be briefly outlined and questions clarified. It is important that the client makes it clear what their desired impact of the project is and what expectations they have. On Saturday, there will be enough time for the actual work on the project plan. In addition, the evening offers enough time to reflect on the project and get to know each other in an informal setting over a cold beverage.
The goal of Saturday is two-fold: On the one hand, the team should get to know the project and structure it for themselves. On the other hand, they should find each other as a team and become able to work together. If time allows, potential data sources can be searched and explored on Saturday. But the priority is to develop a project structure and agree on a process!
After the general presentation of the project on Friday, Saturday is about tackling the project itself. For this purpose, all relevant information should be presented again (briefly). What is the objective of the project, what data is available, in what time frame should the project be completed, which people are involved?
In the end, the project team should have broken the project down into clearly arranged sub-projects and defined sensible work steps for the team.
As a decentralized team (if not in the context of CorrelAidX), the project team should also agree on how to collaborate remotely. How often do conference calls take place? How often and how do you talk to the partner organisation? Are there topics that should be addressed at a certain regularity?
At CorrelAid and in the projects we use many tools that simplify or enable decentralized collaboration. But for this, all participants must have access to them and be able to use them! Note that creating accounts and learning how to use these tools takes time. It is possible to have a session on the weekend as well as to refer to the introductions and explanations linked below. Estimate how much time you want to spend here according to your team's skills. The tools to discuss are:
The members of the project team were invited to Slack and the CorrelClould before the workshop and should already have set up their accounts. At the kickoff we will briefly discuss how the teams use these channels.
If there are team members who are not familiar with Git / GitHub, an introductory workshop should be offered to them. This can also be structured as a peer-to-peer learning session where more experienced data analysts teach their colleagues Git concepts and the most important commands.
In any case, all project team members must have signed the privacy statement before they receive any data.
After a rough project plan was created on Saturday, responsibilities and first deadlines should be determined on Sunday. Be aware that it can take a lot of time to get all the necessary data sets and projects with many stakeholders need their coordination time!
Whenever people meet and work together, social experiences arise. In order to deal with these experiences consciously and to be able to develop as a team and network, an evaluation of the experiences is a central component of our cooperation.
If external circumstances prohibit a in-person workshop, the kickoff can also be conducted as an online event. However, the in-person event should be preferred whenever possible.
We do not have much experience with online kickoff events yet. Of course, online events should not take up the whole weekend but it needs to cover:
- introduction to the NPO and the goals of the project
- introduction to CorrelAid
- introduction to infrastructure
- project planning (main part)
- data protection & introduction to related tools (e.g. VeraCrypt)
Optional and depending on existing skills of the project team are additional calls on other tools like Git.
One approach is to split the kickoff in multiple online calls with the main call being structured like this (example):
Important: this event is not exhaustive - it needs to be accompanied by additional calls on:
- data protection and introduction to VeraCrypt (mandatory)
- how to use Git and GitHub / GitLab (depending on the skills of the project team)