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Transition Time

Victory sign Well, the elections are over.  We here in Iowa won't have to listen to annoying, combative campaign ads for at least another 3 days (before the caucus candidates start irritating us).

But this time frame is always interesting, as it represents the transition period from outgoing office-holders to new political offspring.  As some are winding down, others are ramping up.

Our former and newly elected governor, Terry Branstad, has launched a new site to assist with the transition, recruiting potential employees to State Government, complete with a newsletter, news room, and job bank.

Often, our project managers don't take enough time to consider transition time on projects, especially at the point the project is coming to an end and it's time to transition to a functional manager to take over... after all, somebody has to maintain the solution created by the project.

While I often mock government's approach to project management, I have to say that the Washington State DOT's site impressed me on the topic of project transition and closure.  In their words, "Begin a project with the end of the project in mind." How Covey-esque of them.

Really, the core of smooth transition is the same as the rest of the project:

  • Communication - are you setting expectations appropriately for people's time, potential problems, or other issues?  Do your stakeholders know when the new solution will be plugged in?
  • Visibility - now that your project is nearing the end, and the solution is evident, are you doing a good job of branding your accomplishment to keep it at the forefront of everybody's thinking?
  • Accountability - are the right people and departments being held to perform as they committed?  I have to admit, the "late task report" I generate from the project plan becomes my best friend, as it provides an objective medium for accountability.

Is your project transitioning to a new regime?  Or is your project still stuck in candidate mode?

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