6 THINGS TO DO WHEN A COWORKER LEAVES

In addition to the standard exit interviews most organizations carry out, there are also a handful of additional items the project team should close the loop on whenever a project management professional or other key PMO member leaves. By working through the following 6 items, the project office will be ready to continue moving forward after a valued coworker departs.

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1 – Identify delegated activities. Project team members delegate any number of items, from routine tasks to approval powers. Before the PMP leaves, talk with them about what’s been delegated and to whom. Specific items to consider include technology-related delegates, such as an administrative assistant or other team member who has the ability to access calendars or e-mail accounts. Look also at delegated capabilities within any document management or project tracking systems to ensure workflows won’t be interrupted.

Not only may the exiting team member have delegated tasks to others, they may have had activities or authorization powers delegated to them. If possible, discuss the status of these relationships before the coworker leaves. This allows the team time to transfer responsibility to another person in the group or notify the delegator that the task is being returned to them for action.

2 – Understand system usage. It’s prudent to confirm which systems the team member used on a regular basis, both internally as well as outside the company (perhaps via a consultant or vendor). Something as simple as knowing the worker routinely used a material supplier’s online portal to confirm parts availability could be tremendously helpful to any team member who will be taking on some or all of the exiting employee’s responsibilities.

3 – Be aware of upcoming activities. Most of the team member’s tasks should already be captured somewhere in the project timeline, but other activities may not be included on the list of critical path items. Were they scheduled for training? Did they have any upcoming presentations on their calendar? Were they part of a mentor program? The PMO may not decide to continue with all of these pre-planned activities, but knowing they’re on the radar will be useful in assigning tasks and fine-tuning workloads once the worker leaves.

4 – Look at credentialing. If the exiting group member held certifications necessary for project execution—credentials that facilitated regulated activities, for example—the team will need to make arrangements to either have someone else certified or to contract with an outside partner who holds the required certifications. It’s not uncommon for only one team member to hold niche credentials, so be sure you do your due diligence and set the PMO up for continued success down the road.

5 – Ask about memberships. PMPs frequently belong to any number of professional, industry, and networking groups. Find out if the individual was a member of any associations or other organizations, and determine if their membership will transfer with them (some do) or if the PMO now has an opportunity to place another worker into their spot.

6 – See if there’s a prodigy waiting in the wings. Inquire about any fellow team members the worker may have been grooming for bigger things. Is someone particularly qualified to move into the exiting person’s role? Senior-level PMPs often know not only which PMO members are interested in opportunities for advancement, they’re also keenly aware of who’s motivated enough to step up when a position becomes available. If the exiting individual knows of anyone internally who has either expressed an interest in the job or who has received specialized mentoring or education to cover some of the duties, now is the time to gather that information.

 

AVOID CHECKLIST FAILURE POINTS

Checklists are fantastic tools for project management professionals. They’re useful for everything from ensuring the right people are included on important e-mails to closing out contract negotiations. But there are some areas where checklists leave something to be desired. Below we’ve pulled together a few common places where checklists fail, and what PMPs can do to fill in the gaps and keep their projects running smoothly.

The problem: The myriad hand offs that occur throughout a project are among the most glaring potential checklist failure points. No matter if the project is large or small, there are sure to be lots of transitions. Tasks are handed off from one individual on the team to another, and sometimes they’re also sent outside the PMO for further action. Information is also frequently handed off, shifting from team to team as the project moves forward and data is updated or expanded. Even labor resources may be passed from one area of responsibility to another as different phases of the project ramp up and wind down. Checklists, however, are often less transitory. This opens the door to potential disconnects.

The fix: Consistent follow up is key when it comes to hand offs. The simplest solution is to add a post-transition follow up. This gives team members the opportunity to ensure that the completion of any additional actions impacting their areas are confirmed. It’s also a good spot for a double check, since the individual receiving the hand off may not have good visibility on any outstanding activities.

The problem: Isolated changes to a project’s checklists provide the perfect breeding ground for failures. That’s because, with the hectic pace of activities during the project, it can be difficult to let those managing dependent areas know about each and every change. But it’s also tough to recall minor changes once the project winds down. Checklist changes then fall into no-man’s land—updated in one area but not revised in others. This has the potential to put activities out of sync or leave important information undistributed when the next project begins.

The fix: Without adding too much to the team’s workload, consider maintaining a list of all changes made to every checklist used within the PMO. Changes should be added to the list as they happen, with the entire list being reviewed during the post-mortem phase to ensure that any updates in one area are disseminated to other portions of the team as appropriate. It’s likely many changes won’t have wide-reaching effects, but it’s better to capture the information and not need it than to run into difficulties later.

The problem: There is no “typical” project. This leaves a lot of checklists—many geared toward the type of project the PMO handles most often—inherently incomplete. Every project will have its nuances, from the use of a niche vendor to the inclusion of new internal stakeholders. If there is no provision for these sorts of changes to be made within the checklist structure, something is almost certain to be overlooked. Compounding the issue is that non-standard items from previous checklists are often removed as soon as the project is complete, leaving the potential for omissions when a similar project again comes through the PMO.

The fix: The post-mortem analysis and pre-launch activities are key opportunities to round out any tasks or other data that may be missing from the PMO’s master checklist templates. It’s preferable that boilerplate checklists have items that can be crossed off before the project even begins rather than be missing checklist components when the team is in the throes of a complex and time-consuming project.

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Project management training blog & tips provided by PMAlliance

New Year, New Perspective

The beginning of the new year is a good time to plot out what you want to accomplish next, but sometimes it’s easy to lose your forward momentum. Below we’ve outlined a handful of the most common hurdles project managers face when mapping out their yearly objectives, and offered some strategies to help you get jazzed for the new year.

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NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS

At the beginning of the year we outlined some resolutions PMOs might consider making. If you took the challenge, it’s time for a mid-year progress check. But what if you haven’t made as much headway as you hoped? We’ve put together a “fast track to success” tip for each resolution to help you move forward right now.

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PMO Resolutions for the New Year

While your mind is on your own individual goals for the new year, why not also take the opportunity to look at where your PMO is and where you want to take it in the coming months? If you’re stuck for ideas, we’ve put together some resolutions you can use as a launch pad.

Improve communication. Even PMOs that are really good at communicating should make improvement a yearly goal. “BE A BETTER COMMUNICATOR” .Talking with end users, providing stakeholders with progress reports, and maintaining good lines of communication within your team are all critical to project success.

Boost career development efforts. Now is not the time to let your project professionals grow stagnant—if you don’t give them a path toward greater opportunities, there’s a good chance your competitors will. Encourage team members to set goals that keep them motivated “SETTING INDIVIDUAL GOALS: 9 TIPS FOR SUCCESS” and facilitate mentoring relationships whenever possible.

Increase ongoing education. As project workloads ramp up, project management training is one of the first things moved to the back burner “TRAINING MISTAKES MOST PMOS MAKE“. Instead, resolve this year to keep your team’s education on the priority list. Schedule classes early and be sure everyone on the team has the opportunity to learn something new.

Develop a more robust network. Reach out to fellow professionals before you need help. “BE A BETTER COMMUNICATOR Your team will have better access to resources—including consultants, market research specialists, equipment suppliers, and potential new employees—and will also be more in tune with regional and industry trends.

Market your PMO. In many organizations, it’s no longer enough to be good project managers. Your ability to engage stakeholders and end users is increasingly important, and could influence everything from budget approval to staffing levels.

Commit to creativity. Your team’s ability to develop innovative solutions can help manage any problem “PROJECT MANAGEMENT: CREATIVE PROBLEM SOLVING. Implement some creativity-building activities and watch your team triumph over challenges.

Also check out our “NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS” and “NEW YEAR, NEW PERSPECTIVE“ blog posts.

PMAlliance uses a team of highly experienced and certified professionals to provide project management consulting, and project management training services.

 

Project Management: Master the Restart

Many projects delayed by a sour economy will eventually bubble back to the surface. The landscape may have changed drastically since shelving the project, so a thorough reassessment of the project’s parameters is in order.

Objectives

Don’t assume your original objectives are still valid. Changes in organizational structure, headcount, locations, collaborators, competitors and market all have the potential to affect your objective picture. Examine each target against today’s needs, and adjust accordingly.

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Project Management : The Power of the Checklist

Good resource management keeps the project management consulting team running at full speed. Vendors and collaborators may change from project to project, and even from phase to phase, but checklists ensure your team knows the resources that are needed at any given time, and where to find them. Maintaining supplies, managing documentation and quickly locating a properly outfitted meeting space can all be facilitated through the use of checklists.

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Conducting a Useful Post Mortem Analysis

Once a project is complete, take some time to review what was successful and what needs improvement. By evaluating each project in retrospect, you’ll be able to apply the lessons learned to future endeavors.

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