Essential Agile Kickoff

Effective communication skills are essential for all involved in a project using any Agile approach!

A kickoff is a short session for the team responsible for developing a solution to understand the objectives, accept them as realistic, and feel empowered and inspired to deliver a solution.

Created by Carrin Robertson – SessionLab


The agile approach favors face-to-face communication, and a kickoff can be done virtually or in person, depending on if the team is co-located or remote. 

The key objectives of a kickoff are to:

The beauty of templates is that you can adjust them to fit your own team’s needs. These are the starting blocks for your Agile kickoff and are yours to move around as you see fit!

When should this session be delivered?

This template has been created considering the DSDM principle “Communicate continuously and clearly” which underpins many the Agile principle of “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”. DSDM is an Agile method that focuses on the full project lifecycle, from Kickoff to Close-Out or Retrospective.

An effective kickoff is vital for effective teamwork and to ensure transparency. As the name suggests, it kicks off an allocated timebox and outlines the objectives. It is not a meeting to find the solutions, but rather to equip team members with clear objectives to empower them to find the solutions.

At the start of a project, an agile kickoff is used to introduce team members, define project goals and objectives and establish a list of items to be delivered. It also sets expectations for the Agile development process.

If a new team is formed to work on an existing project or to start a new one, an agile kickoff is a good way to clarify roles and responsibilities, discuss team dynamics, establish common working agreements, and familiarize team members with each other.

Another time an Agile kickoff might be held is during a transition from a traditional project management approach to an Agile one. In this case, the workshop can educate team members about Agile principles, methodologies and practices ensuring a smooth transition and setting expectations for the Agile way of working.

Think of an Agile kickoff as a workshop that lays the foundation for effective collaboration. Use it when you need to establish a shared understanding and align team members with their goals, to ensure a successful and productive project.

Who can facilitate it?

Facilitating an Agile kickoff might seem daunting, especially if you’re not familiar with the terminology. However, it’s actually a common sense approach and using the instructions outlined, it can be facilitated confidently by various individuals.

A team leader or project manager with clear knowledge of the project can facilitate a kickoff by driving the team through the processes, establishing working agreements, and encouraging collaboration among team members. 

In some cases, an Agile coach or Scrum master might facilitate the session, ensuring that agile principles and best practices are followed.

In any case, the facilitator of an Agile kickoff should have a good understanding of Agile principles and of the product/project at hand. General facilitation skills such as the ability to encourage discussions and foster collaboration are also useful for setting the foundations for a successful Agile project. Knowledge of how to create an effective meeting agenda is also useful. 

With the right facilitator and approach, an Agile kickoff can be a straightforward and effective way to start a project!

Check out the Agile kickoff template details including step-by-step plan with instructions, timings, printable schedule and more

About the author

Carrin Robertson

Carrin Robertson is a Content Marketer & Community Manager at SessionLab. She has a background in project management and has recently obtained her Agile PM certification. She champions the common sense approach and flexibility that Agile affords!

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