Last reviewed: 1 February 2022



A way for all of your team to understand the purpose of your work.

  • The team
  • 30 mins to 1 hour

Advice on kick-offs

Why have a kick-off

Kick off sessions help your team to:

  • agree the purpose and outcomes of your work
  • identify people with an interest in the work
  • understand roles and responsibilities
  • create success criteria for the work

Who is involved

People with a range of different perspectives and knowledge which usually includes:

  • a facilitator
  • all team members
  • people with an interest in the work

When to have a kick-off

Consider having a kick-off when:

  • starting work on a new discovery, product, service or feature
  • new people join the team
  • someone is leaving the team so they can share their knowledge
  • there is a change to priorities or direction for the team

Things you’ll need

A shared digital or physical space so that everyone can see and what you are working on together.

Digital or physical sticky notes and marker pens.

Any reference, data or other context that could help.

Tips on running the session

  • As a team, agree on the main subjects that need to be discussed
  • Provide time limits to go through each subject
  • Agree on actions and next steps for individuals and the team

Learn more

Consider using a format like Ben Holliday's 'Framing the problem'.


Related terms: outcome, point of departure, safe environment, working in the open

See definitions of these terms in our glossary.

How to do a kick-off

  1. Welcome and introductions

    Welcome everyone to the session. Ask everyone to introduce themselves if the group do not know each other.

    You could also do a check-in activity to find out how everyone is doing that day and involve everyone in the session.

  2. Introduce the aims for the session with your team, for example:

    “We’re here so that we can talk about the purpose and outcomes of this work.”

    “We’re going to make sure we all know the problem we are solving when designing and building this feature”

  3. Discuss any blockers or limitations of the activity

    For example, that things may change during the work.

  4. Do the method or activity

    Write these titles on post-its and explain what they mean, for example:

    • Purpose - what are we all here to do?
    • Outcomes - what do we, the business, our stakeholders and users need from this work?
    • Roles and responsibilities - what are people going to be doing during the project, for example who will be leading on: user research, content, running sessions, communicating about the project?
    • Tools - which software or platforms will we use to do the work?
    • Success criteria - how will we know if we are succeeding?
    • Disaster criteria - how will we know if things are not working so we can recognize and address it?

    Set a timer and ask people to write down thoughts or questions about each subject on post-its.

    Go through each title, one at a time.

    Ask everyone to read out their post-its and put them under the title.

    Discuss everything as a team so that everyone can share their thoughts and questions.

    Make a note of the actions you agree.

    Actions might include questions you could not answer in the session.

    Recording actions also helps people who did not come to the session.

  5. Close the session

    Review the session as a whole - is the purpose of the work now clear?

    Make sure everyone agrees on the actions or next steps.

    You could choose a date and time for a follow-up session.

    Summarise the session and share it using what works best for your team.

To decide what you work on next, go to ways of working activities.

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