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Unveiling the Power of Effective Kickoff: Setting the Foundation for Success

Photo: MicrosoftTeams-image-28-e1693296879149
Photo: MicrosoftTeams-image-28-e1693296879149

At ADM, we believe that a strong kickoff process is the cornerstone of every successful project. It sets the tone, aligns teams, and establishes a clear vision. Recently, our team had the privilege of experiencing an extraordinary kickoff for one of our latest projects in the vibrant city of Copenhagen. In this blog post, we’ll dive into the details of our kickoff process, its alignment with our company’s mission and values, memorable moments, how we build strong teams, and the profound impact it has had on our project moving forward.

Embracing Guidelines for Greatness

When asked what they were most excited about regarding the project kickoff, the project team highlighted the implementation of the “Guidelines for Greatness” (GFG) as the foundation of our process. The GFG is a framework we have crafted, akin to a canvas, designed to assist the team (ADM and the client) in structuring the process of forming agreements during the kickoff and, subsequently, uncovering any potential blind spots. It also serves the purpose of maintaining a record of the most recent agreements. It was a pleasure to find our client to be incredibly receptive to our proposed guidelines for teamwork, which promote personal growth, cooperation, responsibility, and goal-orientedness.

Alignment with Company Values

At ADM, our values form the bedrock of our operations. The kickoff process directly aligns with our core values, including learning and growth, caring about people, cooperation, taking responsibility, and goal-orientedness. Through the project, we promote individual and team growth, build trust and cooperation, and empower everyone to take responsibility for their work and the project’s success.

Thorough Preparation for the Kickoff

The team dedicated significant effort to prepare for the kickoff event in Copenhagen. Prior to the kickoff, the Estonian team had their own sessions to synchronize with the client’s team. The presentations, ideas for architecture, and process proposals were meticulously crafted, ensuring a solid foundation before the event. This preparation laid the groundwork for a successful kickoff, saving valuable time and enabling the team to dive into detailed planning, processes, roles, and responsibilities.

The Kickoff Event Unveiled

The initial kickoff event in Copenhagen was an immersive experience that spanned multiple days, each focusing on different aspects vital to the project’s success. The first day centered around the big picture, where the team familiarized themselves with the business logic, set the project’s goals and engaged in an effective feedback workshop. Day two involved further discussions on processes, teamwork rules, and solution’s architectural details, coupled with a unique game that emphasized responsibility assignment and consensus building. The final day focused on hands-on work, allowing the team to dive into the project’s tasks and find and eliminate potential upcoming roadblocks. 

Memorable Moments and Team Building

While highly productive, no successful kickoff event goes without disagreements. The latter can turn into memorable moments that exemplify the power of teamwork. By facing, identifying, and solving conflicts head-on, the team was able to facilitate a shared understanding and consensus among the team. The kickoff also featured team-building activities such as the Lego challenge, regular reflections to foster openness, energizer tasks, and enjoyable dinners that strengthened team bonds.

Setting the Tone for Success

The kickoff event has undeniably set a strong tone for the project’s future. Clarity emerged regarding project goals and expectations from the client and between the team, ensuring that every team member understood the roles and responsibilities of their own and their team members. By creating alignment and certainty, our kickoff process fostered an environment where obstacles can be overcome, and challenges met head-on. It laid the foundation for effective communication, collaboration, and an unwavering commitment to success.

In Conclusion

The kickoff event for our latest project at ADM in Copenhagen was a remarkable success. Through our detailed and thoughtfully designed kickoff process, we embraced the Guidelines for Greatness, aligned with our company values, and established a solid foundation for collaboration, growth, and shared responsibility.

Introducing a 3-day kickoff event in Copenhagen is just the beginning of forming a highly productive team and we know that even an extensive 3-day session isn’t a guarantee for success. The kickoff isn’t a singular event. Instead, it unfolds as an ongoing process that continues for weeks into the project and requires strong facilitative leadership skills from the team lead to ensure that the team will form a habit of open and clear communication and have an aligned vision and understanding of what they are doing or need to achieve. It’s a labor of love, a complex and enduring process of fostering strong bonds. The momentum generated during this initial phase will carry forward, as the ongoing process of team building, trust cultivation, and enhanced collaboration remains integral throughout the entirety of the project. 

Stay tuned for a more detailed blog post about the kick-off and team building at ADM coming this fall.

Comments from the Client

My initial expectations were to get the ADM team introduced to the problem and to get the whole team to get to know each other.
The dinners we had were a great way to get to know each other better personally. Having that type of relationship really helps build trust in each other which is important for the chance of succeeding in building a project.
The energizers were great for starting some of the interactions between the team members and really ensured that everyone got to talk to each other and get everybody included from the start.
Looking back, I believe the kick-off week played a significant role in setting a solid foundation for the project’s success. Starting a project is hard, but the well-organized kick-off fostered some good team dynamics. I could not have dreamed of a better start.

Lead Programmer

Moments from our continuous team-building activities during the Copenhagen Kickoff event and after

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