What’s that? You can see the value of creating documentation to onboard a new project manager, but aren’t sure about cooking up a full-blown project management transition plan template?
I totally hear you … but here’s why this is something that deserves actual template treatment: You may want your new project manager to stick around forever, but she may not.
A talented PM will be in high demand, and there’s no guarantee yours will stay on your team for more than a year or so. If you’ve documented your processes, AND done so in such a way that it’s fantastically easy to update that documentation, you’ll save yourself some headaches when you need to train in a new project manager.
Or, even better, when your business has grown so quickly that you need multiple PMs to keep the work flowing!
When I hired my current project manager, I had to put together a workflow document that included people, project tasks, due dates, the movement of tasks from one team member to the next, and more. But now that I’ve done it, she is responsible for keeping that document consistently updated.
With a project management transition plan template, you make it simpler and easier for everyone to get up to speed, and stay there.
Sounds great, am I right? Let’s talk about how to make it happen!
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Start your project management transition plan template with documentation
Your first step is to document everything. And I mean everything!
You may already have documentation for your team’s tasks in your SOP manual, but what about the projects and work YOU generate to keep those team members busy? And what about the tasks your team handles among themselves?
Think, too, about deadlines and timing:
- When are new products and programs released?
- What’s your content schedule?
- Who handles various tasks and what are the timelines?
Your new PM will need to grasp both tasks and workflow, and the best way to support that understanding is through deep documentation.
It will take some time to capture everything, but tackle it process-by-process and you’ll begin building a valuable project management transition plan template.
Augment your project management transition plan template with a project management system
The purpose of any template is to make future work easier to replicate, and make future training smoother. This means that a good project management transition plan template will focus on repeatable projects. With that in mind, I strongly recommend using an online project management system.
When you invest in a system like Basecamp (my fave!) or Asana, it will allow you to create individual project templates. You can use the documentation you’ve already completed to populate these templates, and set them up exactly how you want them. Moving forward, your new PM can simply duplicate and update them as needed.
It may seem like project management software is optional, but I believe this tool allows PMs to be successful at their jobs. Without it, they’re reinventing the wheel every time a new project is launched!
Complete your project management transition plan template with a clear chain of command
Your new PM needs to have the authority to get things done, and the rest of your team needs to know that he or she is acting with your authority. Beyond that, your PM needs the authority to call you out if you’re not meeting deadlines. The project management transition plan template you’re building needs to make all of this crystal clear.
When I was training her in, my own project manager needed to be taught about the overall management of the team and entrusted to manage our schedules; poking people about tasks, making sure deadlines are met, adjusting schedules if needed, booking in team vacations/holidays, etc.
I had to give her the authority to go outside of Basecamp to email team members directly if she needed to, and outline the steps to follow if a team member is unresponsive.
I also empowered her to email us directly if we don’t respond to tasks in a timely manner, just to make sure she is reaching us in multiple ways.
Transitioning the management of your projects over to a project manager can’t be done overnight. Obviously, you can’t just say, “Here, you go! Good luck!” and step back.
This type of training is a lot of work with many important steps. But with the right hire and a carefully crafted project management transition plan template, your PM can be successful within 30 days. (Once you’ve moved beyond that initial onboarding and training period.)
And after that, just having this template in your toolbox makes training project managers a beautifully hands-off process for you as the business owner.