Weve already discussed tips for taking over a project (in two different scenarios), but you may eventually be asked to hand a project over to someone else. In this case, you have a much bigger responsibility in that you have to both properly orient your successor and ensure a smooth project transition. Because this exchange is happening internally, chances are youll still be around to catch some of the flak if the project explodes due to a lousy turnover.
Here are some handy tips to follow to ensure a smooth project transfer:
Determine the Nature of the Transfer
Is this transfer just a change in leadership, or is it swapping out the entire team? Knowing that will determine how youll approach the turnover of files and status updates, as well as how your team is going to be involvedwhether theyll just be introduced to the new PM, or if theyll have to orient their counterparts from the new project team.
Assemble Relevant Info
Youre not going to just dump a binder full of files onto the new project managers desk and expect him to sort it out. What you want to do is assemble the most vital and concise information available so that he can get a quick yet accurate idea of where the project is and what needs to be done. Anything more detailed, like logs, actual project work, etc., can either go straight to the relevant team member or into a separate reference file.
Hire the New Team
When youre meeting the new team, pretend that youre hiring them for your own. This mindset will help you build a helpful transition package and useful orientation session, so that they can quickly get up to speed. Also, tell your team to act as if they were training new recruits, and not replacements.
Once the project has been handed over, dont wash your hands and cut them off. Make yourself available to the new team if they come up with questions or clarifications they hadnt thought to ask you before. Likewise, make sure your team does the same, even if the project transfer has left a bad taste in your mouth. Especially if this is the case, actually. Be the bigger man, and leave your pride out of it when you turn the project over.
What it essentially boils down to is this: Do whatever would be most helpful for you if you were the one taking over. Its a great way of both ensuring the project proceeds smoothly and strengthening your working relationship with the other project managerbecause being considerate and professional is a winning combination.