So you want to set up a project… Part 3.
The time will come to hand over the project you have set up to a new person or team. In the third article in our series we give you some tips to help smooth the transition.
Part 3: Leave your legacy
Personally introducing your successor to all key contacts often helps smooth relations during the transition period. It also helps involve them in the project allowing for both a shorter and more complete handover.
Explain the role
Fully explaining the roles and responsibilities will help your successor develop an understanding of the project and its long term goals. Outlining other people’s roles and projects will also help the successor understand where they fit into the wider project delivery team. Make sure the successor is familiar with the tools used, including any bespoke tools or processes for automating regular tasks.
Building a good relationship with your successor is essential because they could become a key contact for future project involvement. While the handover should include as much detail as possible, it is unlikely that you will be able to impart all your knowledge. Therefore, it is essential to develop good quality documentation and make clear where your successor can turn for help. It is critical that the client does not see a marked performance drop-off or goals not met during the transition period.
Responsibility for deliverables
This is the point in time where most mistakes or misunderstandings will occur. It is an important responsibility of the project setup specialist to ensure that the successor fully understands all of the deliverables. This is an excellent opportunity to put their understanding to the test.
Define role requirements
Identify a list of tasks your successor should be able to do to be self-sufficient and the required competencies for continuing to deliver the project to the standard expected by the client. Take the time to ensure that they understand and give them the facility to ask questions during the handover process – it’s better to take a little longer in the handover than for them to not understand something fully, resulting in negative impact on the client.
Set aside some regular catch ups with your successor in the weeks after handover. Ideally this should only need to run for the first few weeks post-handover, though it provides a forum for clarification of any matters that got missed during handover.
Hopefully this three part article has helped you in your planning for a new project or for when you are going in to a new you are going in to a new working environment or team.
The quality of the initial project set up will greatly impact the overall success of the project in the longer term, therefore it is key to build a good foundation. With prior research, careful planning, and making sure that you quickly become familiar with the key stakeholders, colleagues and understand what drives them, then you are making a good start. When the project is underway, make sure that you meet and keep to your role and responsibilities, stay close to your team,look to work as efficiently as possible and avoid over promising on what you can realistically deliver then you should be fine. When the time comes to hand over the project that you’ve got off the ground, ensure to give your successor the strongest possible platform to carry on your good work.
Every project is different, and every one will have its own unique challenges, though by taking a thorough and controlled approach to those key first few weeks and months you’ll give the project every chance of success.