Monday, November 26, 2018

Transitioning Into the Next Project

Transition. It is a word that can be both exciting and challenging at the same time and for the same reason. The definition of transition is “the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another.” You see, the definition has that word “change” in it and that is what is challenging. We are creatures of habit who like consistency, not change. We basically eat the same foods on a daily basis, watch the same type of TV sitcoms, and associate with like-minded people. Some of us like variety, but most of us like consistency. However, a Project Manager (PM) must be a master of variety. We are hired to manage change, and like it or not, we are rated on how well we do it. So if change  makes us uncomfortable, how do we manage it? How can we practice to become better at transitioning?Let’s review:

Accept that transition is necessary

As a PM, your role is to manage the project, which includes transitioning from one state to another. The issue here is getting comfortable with change and transition. There is an old saying that“the only constant is change.” As PMs, we are agents of change and we are managers of transition. And may I add, not just for our projects. This must be a value that is part of the PM’s persona. If the PM is only an agent of change and transition in his/her projects and not their professional improvement, one can assume that the PM may be a bit of a hypocrite. Strong word, but we PMs must look in the mirror, and if we want to be considered the “go-to” PM, then growth is necessary. And with growth, professional improvement, change, and transition. It is how we personify our work and profession. Managing project transitions will help one manage transition from one company to another.

Accept that you may be uncomfortable managing transition

Even if the PM accepts the role of a change agent and understands that transition is part of life, the PM may not be entirely comfortable with this. This is understandable.However,a bit of discomfort can add to a PM’s professional growth. I believe that once a PM gets too comfortable doing the same thing the same way, that PM becomes obsolete. I would rather be uncomfortable learning something new than be too comfortable and facing the worst type of transition where I am forced to look for a new role. I have a good friend who says that being in transition (career wise) is the new constant. As a PM whohas experienced down-sizing, as uncomfortable as that is, I have usually bounced back because I have accepted that change and transition are now part of one’s professional career. It doesn’t mean I look forward to it, but I do understand that PMs must define themselves as the agent of change and transition.

                         Work to make others comfortable and you will become comfortable

One method I have found helpful is making others comfortable with the change and the looming transition that the project will bring. Whether it is the project team or the end-client, the PM will do a great service by making others comfortable. This can be done in multiple ways:

  •            Schedule part of the weekly project meeting to discuss what the end-result will look like when the project implements the product or change.
  •       Discuss one-on-one with the most affected individuals their concerns about the change and what the transition will be like
  •       Work with the project team to incorporate others in the testing process even before the UAT phase of the product so their comfort level rises.
Once you establish these techniques, change and transition will be accepted with more ease and you will even become comfortable with the transition.

Change is never easy, but your team can make a transition easier for everyone involved, including yourself. 

I am open to discussion at any time on these blogs or anything else related to project management you would like to explore. If you would like to comment about this blog, please do so by posting on this blog or by responding in an email at Benny A. Recine. You may inspire a blog article. I look forward to your comments.

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