Aside from the normal activities you will need to perform to get up to speed on your new project, you will definitely need to focus on these four key events in order to make sure the transition of your existing project goes as smooth as possible:
#1 – Meet with your delivery team. First, meet with your delivery team and get all the latest task status and progress updates from them that you possibly can. It’s critical that you know the latest and greatest status of your project and all the details that go into what’s going on. The next project manager will need all the help they can get.
#2 – Revise everything. Take everything you learned from your team and everything you already knew and revise all ongoing status information on the project. Revise the project schedule that you deliver to your team, customer and executive management every week. Using a full-featured, and collaborative web-based project management tool like WorkZone can ensure that your team, customer, and the new project manager will be on the same page from the start. Create a very detailed status report – probably more detailed than usual – for your next weekly status call with the customer because that’s when the transition will really begin. And be sure to update the project budget and forecast so the financial health of the project is obvious to the incoming project manager.
#3 – Contact the project customer. Call the project customer and bring them up to speed on the transition. Your contact will likely be their first knowledge of this so provide them with as much detail on the solid background of the incoming project manager as possible. You must present it in a way that will gain their confidence and not make them feel like a 2nd class project customer. And, if possible, plan for at least a lengthy transition where you lead and mentor the next project manager as you get everyone used to the transition. Handling the transition this way rather than making an abrupt exit will likely go a long way in keeping customer confidence and satisfaction high.
#4 – Transition over a minimum two-week period. Ideally, if your time availability, the old project tasks, the new project startup effort, and the availability of the new project manager allows for it, stretch the transition over a period of at least two project status calls with the customer and team. The outgoing project manager should lead the first one and officially introduce the new project manager and the new project manager should lead the second one, officially taking over the project in the eyes of the customer – even if it’s already happened with the team on the delivery side.
The key when leaving a project is to do it as smoothly as possible and maintaining what hopefully is already a high level of customer satisfaction. Any bumps in the process can cause the customer concerns, and that’s something you want to try avoid at all costs.
WorkZone brings simplicity to project management in a way that encourages use and collaboration by the entire team, so your projects stay on track and on time. Take a product tour of WorkZone or request a demo.