Welcome back to Business English Pod for our new series on English for project management. For our first lesson we’re going to look at a kickoff meeting at the start of a project.
Whether or not you’re a project manager, you surely know that every project is a unique and complex process. Seeing a project through to completion, on time and within budget, takes a huge range of people skills and business know-how. And sometimes during a big project it might feel like everything is working against successful completion.
But there are ways to minimize some of these challenges. This is particularly true at the beginning of a project when it’s important to make sure you get off to a good start. For one thing, you’ll need to meet with the client to make sure the ground rules of the project are clear. Otherwise, you’ll be dealing with confusion mid-project. Kicking off a project effectively also means outlining protocols, or important procedures, and explaining lines of communication. After all, when a problem or challenge does arise, everyone should know exactly who to talk to and how to make the necessary changes.
The kickoff meeting is also a time for everyone to make their priorities clear. If you are the client and sticking to the timeline is more important than keeping to the budget, you should make that known right from the start. Of course, there may be competing priorities. And as a project manager, you may have to manage client expectations carefully, which might involve setting some conditions when you agree to something.
In today’s dialog, we’ll join Martin and Jill, who work for a software company called OptiTech. Their company is holding a teleconference to kick off a project to develop custom software for a logistics company that will help them manage and track shipments. Martin is the project manager, while Jill is the lead developer. On the call, we’ll also hear from Zara, a manager at the logistics company, and Liam, their IT manager. Together, they are all trying to get the project off to a good start.
1. How does Martin say that Jill should deal with technical issues?
2. What does Zara emphasize as her company’s priority in the project?
3. Near the end of the conversation, what condition does Martin attach to the successful management of the timeline?