Congratulations – you’re embarking on a new custom website project for your business…now what? Oftentimes, agencies will jump straight into hammering out the deliverables of the project without establishing ground rules. In our experience, laying the foundation is essential to keep everyone on the same page. The agency’s job is to take the enthusiasm and trust gained in the sales process and carry it all the way to launch. As a client, you should expect your agency to set up a website design kickoff meeting agenda where they will introduce the goals and team while establishing processes, deliverables, and expectations to set your partnership up for success.
Why host a project kickoff meeting?
Building custom websites is not for the faint of heart. It can be demanding to juggle competing timelines and opinions. Because the nature of these projects rely on a high-level collaboration, it is important to see your agency as a partner you trust. Your agency should have a proven process, earned firsthand from extensive experience and willingness to improve. The website design kickoff meeting agenda sets the tone for your teams to rally the project and establish the priorities. While these projects at times are demanding to manage and push boundaries, they are also incredibly rewarding and fun and the kickoff call should reflect that.
Who should be involved?
Get to know the agency team members
As an agency, we take ownership in these kickoff meetings to build rapport and incite confidence in the process. Our agency holds its own internal project kickoff first and briefs everyone on roles and responsibilities to get the wheels turning. Clients can expect to meet the production team member lead (i.e. Senior Designer, Senior Developer) that represents their team, the Project Manager who manages the internal staff, and the Account Manager who is spearheading the project and will handle all client communications.
Identify your stakeholders
As a client, this is your chance to invite your key client stakeholders. Understand who will be your main champion (most often this will be someone like a Digital Marketing Manager) for the project and make sure they have the clear channels to work cross functionally with their departments. This is a huge undertaking and our agency has experience guiding first-timers and seasoned vets through the various demands of the project. Beyond the project owner, it’s also necessary to identify who else in the company will need to be involved in the approval process, i.e. CMO, CEO, Product Marketing, etc. Nothing is worse than getting to the end of a deliverable only to find that you don’t have the buy-in from who you need most. More on how website projects fail here.
9 essentials to Look for in website design kickoff meeting agenda
- Introductions – Introduce the client and agency team. This is a time to build relationships and excitement.
- Goals – Align on the strategy and purpose of the project. Ensure that all parties understand the objectives clearly and what problems need to be solved.
- Process Overview – Walk through the process step by step so all parties have a clear roadmap. This can vary significantly between project demands and agency
practices. The process should provide a zoomed out overview of what to anticipate throughout the engagement.
- Tools – Collaboration and efficiency in custom website projects is essential. With all the moving parts, it is important to use the proper tools to get the job done. Review the apps or tools that all parties plan to use and set up tutorials as needed. For example, you may use SimpleStage to collect the new website copy.
- Timeline – Most often there is an agreed upon deadline to launch a new site. This is determined after understanding the scope of the project and setting an attainable goal in which everyone is confident that it can be executed and uncompromised in the process. Timelines can span depending on the size of the site. If it’s a larger site, you may apply sprint methodology, breaking up design and development in phases starting with the most important. Also, make sure to establish dates for feedback, approval, content due, etc to ensure all is timely. Read more about how to create synergistic timelines here.
- Presentations – Building a new website is engaging and nuanced. Expect key milestones to be accompanied with a presentation from the agency to key stakeholders. This gives an opportunity for the agency to defend and explain how they solve certain problems and provide insight for decisions made. This justification serves you as a client going into your own internal review cycle with necessary context so then you can provide specific feedback.
- Collaboration – As a client, you should anticipate a high level of involvement. The agency’s job is to spend ample time discovering what you need and producing quality deliverables that hit the mark. However, getting productive, tangible feedback is the only way to know if the work is truly resonating. If you say you don’t like something, dig deeper into the details to move toward solutions and make the revision cycle as tight as possible. Learn how you can best work together.
- Roadblocks – Have both parties identify roadblocks and issues that they foresee coming up in this process and discuss how you plan to prevent them. Then discuss when challenges do arise, how you all agree to solve them. This is a big part of establishing expectations and avoiding unnecessary pitfalls.
- Q&A – As a client, you should have all your questions answered and feel ready to rumble going into this process. Speak up if you need anything clarified and don’t hesitate to follow up with your agency.
Your website is the most important hub to represent your business online. Redesigning and developing a website that’s reflective of your brand and scalable to pull your business levers is what your partnership should accomplish. Leave your project kickoff meeting feeling motivated and comfortable for the big adventure ahead of you!
If your company is ready to dive into a new custom website, please get in touch to set up a discovery call with our team.