Project Management

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Topics: Work Breakdown Structures (WBS)
Project Transition from one PM to another PM
Due to an employment change I am leaving a project to another project manager in two weeks. I am looking for an example/template/checklist summarizing the work and providing a picture of the "current state" of the project. I have a project schedule and project SharePoint site to hand off but I want to provide something more complete. Any suggestions.
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The best thing to give the new project manager is an overview of the people involved in the project.

Provide a list of all stakeholders, describe their interests, biases, and personalities. Who needs to be prebriefed on every detail? Who needs tobe coaxed into agreement? Whi is a strong advocate for the project? A walk around session introducing the project manager to each stakeholder one on one would be very helpful.

Provide a list of all project team members, describe their strengths, weaknesses, and specialities. Who is overly aggreesive and needs to be reined in? Who is on the passive side and needs encouragement? Again, a brief walk around would be helpful.

Provide a list of key staff who are not on the project team, but will provide support. Are there key support staff who help in workstation and server set up? How about network support? Who are key help desk staff to support deployment?

Most project managers can quickly grasp the details of schedule, scople, and budget. The people, however, are the key component needed for the project to succeed.

Verbal! rather than written! as you are handing over an existing project most of the documents have been prepared and available [depending what stage of the project has reached] so therefore, the best practice is to chat on progress made, current risks! obsticles! project team who does what, stakeholders, sponsor any issues! budget is it adequate has it been agreed! etc - Walk him/her through the project.

No doubt the new Project Manager will be thankful for your input and should also review the documents currently in place.

Personally I would make myself available if any questions do arise after a departure - in your case 2 weeks is plentiful just incase !!


You've probably discovered that there is no template or best practice for this handoff. However, it should be part of your methodologoy aligned with your culture.

I've had to do this many times and I always do the following:

*Keep a historical folder in Sharepoint or a local share with meeting minutes, status reports, schedules, WBS etc.
*Share latest communication and meetings
*Review the project charter with new PM
*Introduce the PM to the team, customer contact, sponsor and stakeholders
*Make sure you complete a good handoff so you can focus on your next project without interruptions.
*Complete or handoff any remaining contract, project or procurement issues, risk and deliverables.
*Keep the door open if you can answer a few questions for the new PM

It's a tool for your toolkit; this will come up again from time to time.

I agree with Wayne - a (verbal) handover that covers the different personalities of the team members and stakeholders involved is really important. This cultural sharing is probably more important for maintaining a smooth transition than a big folder of budget paperwork or schedule information.

I am handing over to someone else myself in a few weeks and what I'm doing now is making a note of what I do, when I do it, who needs to know it, any notes, and where the next PM can find an example. I'm also copying her into emails so she doesn't have a cold start. You could do this even if your new project manager hasn't arrived at the company yet, provided that IT have set him/her up with an email address already. Or make a folder of emails to forward on to them when they arrive.
Retrospectives are an important tool to gain insight of the state of the project before or after you takeover as a PM. Building trust early is important as new a PM; use your emotional intelligence to gain insight into personalities. Wayne's tip will give you a headstart.

Regional, virtual and global projects handoffs can make good use of social media tools to garner that verbal face to face handoff. (Google Hangout, Skype etc).

Retrospectives, issues and risk logs will identify signs and symptoms you'll need to get under control and manage. Don't be blindsighted by not doing a thorough project review; a verbal handoff will only tell you a part of the picture of the status of the project. Also, your new to the project so be sure to ask lots of probing questions.

You will want to establish the big picture early; it will be the path to your success.

Solid advise has been given, but you know its down to the new PM to get in there and make things happen, yes they can be offered an insight of people's personalities, skillsets etc, project status, and so on! a good PM taking over must review and reach their own conclusion as to how they want to move forward after a handover has been completed! each PM has a different approach and should be respected! nothing is written in stone and there are process to be followed as we all know very well when we are managing projects, the most important aspect of all this is to gain recognition, and trust from the key people the PM will be working with, this calls for a good PM with excellent leadership skills, the rest will fall into place!
Useful things:
1. Good documentation.
2. Overlap between the departing PM and his replacement.
3. The departing PM introduces his replacement to the team, stakeholders and sponsor.
All open actionables recorded, key statements or decisions taken during review meetings, any deviations accepted by board etc. also need to be discussed in specific rather than letting new PM read each document. Unless you give a verbal handover and touch all parameters once, new guy will not be able to catch up easily.

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