Sheilina Somani, RPP, FAPM, PMP, is the owner
of the U. K.-based consultancy Positively Project
Management, a senior project and product manager, a speaker and a mentor.
It’s So Hard to
Learning to let go of a project or program is a skill unto itself.
By Sheilina Somani, RPP, FAPM, PMP, Contributing Editor
3. Remember to document. Use tools to document and manage change and deal with any legal
considerations (e.g., who
approves invoices and accepts
work as completed). Plan ahead
through long-term ownership
costs for the business.
4. Maintain risk management. Document the opportunity that the change represents
and the potential for increased
5. Support the handover process. Demonstrate support for
the new owner/manager. Bring
the person to meetings and
provide him or her with all relevant information.
6. Leave completely. After the handover, refrain
from commenting about any new processes or
changes in methods. There are many ways to complete a task. It’s part of new ownership and must
be allowed to happen. If you demonstrate disappointment, stakeholders will too.
The ultimate goal is to gracefully make way for
the next person to benefit from work already completed. Each new project is a world to explore—
and you want your successor to hit the ground
Although inevitable, moving on from a project or program can be very difficult. For contractors, it’s busi- ness as usual. But for staff mem- bers—or contractors closing out a
longer-term position—transitioning a project or
program into new hands can be a challenge.
It can be a time of monumental change, with
stakeholders expressing a range of emotions
encompassing everything from joy to sadness. The
incumbent project manager might feel excitement
about new tasks ahead or the relief of letting go—
but a professional understands we must do everything possible to make the transition as painless
as possible. The starting point is to welcome the
new owner/manager. This encourages stakeholders
to transfer trust from the exiting project manager
to the newcomer. Sometimes stakeholders feel
that we are abandoning them to move on to more
interesting or exciting options. Sensitivity and
grace are valuable attributes for facilitating change
and creating a sense of continuity.
Here are six ways to prevent your departure from
1. Communicate the vision. Make clear that the
project has a current state and a future state, and
show who is responsible for each. Revisit regularly
as part of succession planning.
2. Make the exit part of the plan. Handover and
close must be a visible part from the start. Add
tasks, ownership and accountability for this phase
early and revisit often.
goal is to
for the next