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Kick off Projects


Start projects on a good note by introducing studio resources and building a good foundation for their projects! Share your studio’s goals for each projects and help teams align them with their own goals. Every DFA team has the capacity to get to Test, and this is your chance to show the team how they will get there.

Outputs: Teams review the resources available, have their project timeline, and a tangible goal to reach in the next two weeks.

Effective ways to kick off projects:

  1. Welcome your members to DFA!
    • Share information about the network’s mission and vision.
    • Share your own studio's passions and goals.
  2. Run a get-to-know-you exercise.
    • Help your members learn each other’s names, faces, and something about each other. This is a first step in building a caring community! Ex: Speed dating, Where the Wind Blows etc.
    • Check out the gamestorming website for more resources on warm-up exercises.
  3. Introduce leaders and projects.
    • An in-person interaction can go a long way in making teams feel comfortable to reach out for help! Have studio leads and team leads introduce themselves and their roles. Also introduce all project topics!
  4. Introduce members to local resources available.
    • Make sure all of them have their welcome packets! Check out “Welcome to the DFA Community” for tips on creating a welcome packet with helpful information for members!
      • Consider having a nice note from your mentor(s) or inviting them to the kick-off to make an introduction!
    • Check out “Introduce HCD to members and leaders" for tips and resources to introduce members to the Human-Centered Design process!
  5. Share your studio expectations for project timeline and project progress update plan.
    • Project timeline: Teams should be mindful of the studio’s goals and timeline when they make their project timelines; however, they should also note that they can adjust the timeline as needed for their own schedules! Have “Create your project timeline” handy for teams when they create their timelines!
      • Continuing teams should make their own timeline and share ways they think the studio leads and mentors can keep them accountable.
    • Studio updates: Someone from the team should regularly update the studio and mentors to receive project feedback and resources! Have “Update your Team’s Progress” handy to create a documentation plan!
  6. Help teams finalize roles and timeline to meet expectations.
    • Team roles: A team charter clarifies team direction while establishing boundaries. Check out this team charter template!
      • Remember: Team charter is iterative. The charter is a helpful guide to keep people accountable, but it shouldn’t limit your team!
  7. Have teams set 1st goal to reach by next meeting and share them with the whole studio to help w/ accountability.

Network Best Practices

Kick off projects with a fun interactive design sprint like DFA WashU

WashU kicked off their projects by holding a design sprint. At the design sprint, the studio introduced the leaders, DFA Resources like the DFA Facebook group, semester timeline, and studio space. Then, they led a session introducing the HCD process and actually going through all of the steps in the afternoon. The studio held the workshop to provide an overview of the process to new members and help them get to know each other! Check out their kickoff slides here and their welcome packet here!