How to Ease the Transition Between Project Managers

transition managementLosing the project manager on a vital project is not only stressful, it can cost your company significant time and resources to get your next project manager up to speed. Here are some tips to help you ease the transition as much as possible.

In this industry, we know that projects involve risks of all sorts. One in particular is a dreaded event for any team – a change in project manager mid-project. Yet, when complex projects can take several months – even a year or more – to complete, the scenario is a realistic one across all industries. An integral part of project management is mitigating risk and successfully leading your team through choppy waters. Here are some tips to help your team successfully transition between project managers.

Put Time Into a Great Kick-Off Presentation

Developing a well-organized project kick-off presentation will help your new project manager become acquainted with all of the project’s critical information, such as the goals, timeline, deliverables, and other major requirements. A presentation will make the project details easier to understand and digest than handing the new project manager an exhaustive scope statement or other dry material. Don’t allow looming deadlines to prevent you from taking some time to start out on the right foot.

Review the Project Schedule

After the kick-off presentation, the next most vital task is reviewing the details of the project schedule with the new project manager. A detailed review is required in order to clearly and effectively convey the path, significant milestones, and core sections of the project schedule. Reviewing the schedule is also important because it will shape how the project manager maintains the schedule, rectifies late tasks, and communicates with the new team. The better the new project manager understands the specifics of the project timeline, the better they will be able to modify their approach for increased success.

Put it All Out There

After the details and timeline have been effectively hashed out, it’s important for the new project manager to hear the real story. They will need to understand the different personalities of their team members in order to properly motivate and allow room for everyone to do their best work in their own unique way. The project culture is at least as important as the project schedule, as the success or failure of the project will be the culmination of each individual’s work.

Have the Right Software

Having the right project management software at your disposal will make life easier for the entire team. Microsoft Project Viewer is one of the most widely used project management software solutions available. Finding a high-quality Project viewer, however, can also help save your company in licensing fees and protect the schedule from unauthorized changes in addition to keeping the team on the right track. By using effective software, you can keep the new project manager as well as the whole team informed of key status updates and milestones.

Changing project managers halfway through a project is something that no one looks forward to, and for good reason. Along with it comes the increased risk that details will be overlooked, deadlines will be missed, or personalities will clash. While these are certainly possibilities, the overall risk can be mitigated by taking time to hand the project off well. That means giving the new project manager all of the tools they need to effectively direct  their team: a great kick-off presentation, a detailed walk through the project timeline, an explanation of the project culture, and effective software.

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About Elizabeth Farquhar

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Liz Farquhar is a Communications Manager, partnered with Steelray Software. The company specializes in Project Viewer software, as well as other project management programs.