The Art of Transition
It may seem counter intuitive, but one of the first deliverables I create when I join a client engagement is the transition plan for when I leave it. When we kick off a project, we already know the scope of the work we have agreed to deliver, because this information is clearly outlined in our Statement of Work. We also have a high-level timeline that outlines how long the engagement is expected to run.
Creating a transition plan early in the engagement allows us to support Kenway Consulting’s Client-Centric Staffing Model. By having a transition plan in place early, Kenway can deliver value for clients with the leanest possible project teams and mitigate key person risk. No one likes to be caught off guard, and this deliverable allows us to proactively address situations that warrant a quick and expedient transfer of knowledge amongst Kenway personnel, and between Kenway and our clients. Examples of these situations include: skill needs evolving requiring the inclusion of new resources, budget constraints changing the staffing model, people changing jobs, etc.
A transition plan also helps to keep me focused on what is being delivered by serving as a working ‘checklist.’ By transposing the project scope and deliverables into a transition plan at the onset of a project, I can easily maintain and update this deliverable throughout the course of the project, referencing completed items and adding pertinent information as it becomes available. The items we typically capture in a transition plan guide the facilitation from one person or team to another.
Transition Plan Deconstructed
- Deliverable / Task: This is where we document the specific item that needs to be transitioned. Transition items can be project documentation, or they can entail a specific task for which someone will take ownership on an ongoing capacity upon project completion.
- Responsible Kenway Resource: Typically, multiple resources are staffed on a project, each with specific responsibilities. Each resource aligned with a deliverable or task to be transitioned is identified here. This section highlights the person or people that will facilitate the transition for applicable tasks or deliverables.
- Description: A clear description of each task or deliverable is provided. It is also important to note the current state of the item, especially if a transition needs to take place while documentation is in-flight.
- Knowledge / Skills: If there is any specific knowledge or skills that are required to be transitioned, they need to be noted. Some tasks may require some initial training, so it’s important to call them out as soon as possible.
- File Location: Oftentimes, pieces of information are located in several places. It is critical to provide links or references to the exact locations where deliverables and / or documentation are housed.
- Transition To: It may be necessary to transition to several people, so it’s important to identify specific resources that will be involved in the transition, and who will be taking ownership of each task or deliverable when the transition is complete.
- Effort to Transition: To properly plan the amount of time required to compete the transition, each item is sized and prioritized. This is to ensure that we are focusing on the most important items first.
- Red-Amber-Green (RAG) Status: We also track the RAG status of each item. We know when we need to complete the transition; however, unforeseen circumstances may pop up. It’s important to track the status of the transition of each item, much like you would tasks on a project plan.
One example of the value of a transition plan was when one of Kenway’s clients experienced sudden budget cuts. Due to a decrease in project funding, tasks and deliverables that Kenway owned had to be completed by the client’s internal resources. Kenway was able to leverage the transition plan created at the onset of the project to shift the deliverables within a very tight time frame.
It’s clear to see that planning and maintaining your transition activities early in a project engagement not only helps you to stay organized, but it informs a strategy to quickly transfer critical knowledge between resources when a project ends or resources shift. Having a well-structured, properly managed transition plan ensures that the appropriate resources will receive the proper information and support to take over deliverables and /or tasks at any stage of the project.
To learn more about transition planning or Kenway Consulting’s Client-Centric Staffing Model, contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.