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First, is not about to you, is about the organization. I mean you would not feel guilty or something like that. I am not saying that is not an awkward situation. Second, what to do depends on what people that had you the new task have said about the situation. Depending on that, perhaps it could be good to talk with the person you are going to replace directly to know the other side or the history, always in terms of work.
It all depends on the circumstances. If the previous PM was ineffective and didn't have a good working relationship with the team then your transition might be seen as a welcome event. On the other hand if the previous PM was pulled into a higher priority project and was very well liked and respected by the sponsor, team and other stakeholders then you might have a harder time until you demonstrate that you are just as good as your predecessor.
Definitely a difficult situation, both for the new PM and the team. Some team members could easily feel anger, resentment, fear, envy, indignation and other negative emotions. Most likely though, you will have a mixture of negative and positive emotions across the team, based on the relationship they had with the prior PM, the new PM and the organization.
In a small team, the new PM needs the ability to direct work at a personal level, and in this type of situation emotions (on the new PM side) can easily "get in the way" and make it difficult to direct. My recommendation is "empathetic authority", meaning you need to present authority with an empathetic presence and understanding.
I agree with Sergio and Kiron.
Valuable thoughts, thank you Sergio, Kiron, George and Abolfazl!
Suzi Replacing the PM is always a challenge and a risky moment in any project! The reasons for the replacement can be various - as Kiron as mention - and can influence the remaining team attitude and moral! So, your new role will bring new challenges in between others you need to know well your team and make sure that they will remain (or become if necessary) aligned with the project objectives and the Team Culture! It is always difficult to do that in the middle of a project and with a team you have not pick up!
The Team needs to accept you as the new PM and that must be your top priority and at this stage we must remember Bruce Tuckman the Team Formation stages and be prepared for a good storming before you move on! All the best
Take the PM role because that is what was asked of you. Since there is no information on why the PM was replaced, we can't make any assumptions.
Replacing an existing PM on a project can be a risky task. But if it has been done due to poor performance of existing PM then first thing is to analyze the negative effects on stakeholders. You may need to motivate the project team to increase productivity and build trust afresh. It will also involve analysis of present stage of project and deliverable. Root cause analysis of things that went wrong and taking corrective actions after carefully prioritizing tasks will be the key.
So you political and cultural awareness of the project team and organization will help.
One cannot overemphasize the continuous interaction with all stakeholders in this scenario.
But the happy scenario is when the existing PM has been promoted. In that case, have a one to one session with her and get guidance on project. Build an informal relationship with her and get feedback on stakeholders and project plan elements and key risks to project and any variances from plans and expectations of stakeholders.
This will be a good scenario and less painful but still challenging as project team will compare you to old PM initially.
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