Transitioning Leadership: A Personal Story

Michelle Stronach has over 20 years of experience in the project management field, with experience creating successful PMOs and implementing project, portfolio management and IT governance frameworks. Michelle truly appreciates the value of feedback and welcomes comments on her articles. https://twitter.com/mlstronach

It is not unusual for project managers to change hands in the middle of a project, especially those long in duration. Sometimes the change in project manager is planned, such as a large program entering a new stage needing a different type of skill set. More often, the change is not planned--the project manager has left the project for whatever reason and a new project manager must be found to pick up the reins.

When you find yourself as that new project manager taking over an in-flight project, it's important to know the circumstance of the change because taking over a project in trouble is very different than taking over a project progressing well. This article is a personal story about taking over a well-managed project that was necessitated by unfortunate circumstances.

Pinned to the wall beside my desk is a cellophane-covered laser printed picture of Denis with his extended family standing outside as a cheerful group in what looks to be someone's back yard, all smiling as the sun shines on their faces. Denis stands behind his wife, peeking over her shoulder with a big grin on his face, looking proud and content amongst his loved ones. A moment caught in time forever by photography. I can't help but feel Denis's presence in my office, almost imagining him looking over my own shoulder with his goofy smile like he might give me an encouraging wink …

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- Chinese Proverb

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