Transferring Ownership of a Project Painlessly

Tips & Tricks
Dec 28, 2012
4 Min Read

You have been working on the same project for months. It has been built from scratch into something quite remarkable, but you still couldn't call it finished. Now it's time for you to move on to something new. So you pass your project on to a promising hopeful itching for a chance. How do you make that transition as painless as possible, making sure that the other members of your team don't feel abandoned?

That's where change management comes into play.

People hate change. It is coded into our genetic makeup that any time something new happens, we resist it. Change brings uncertainty, uncertainty brings doubt, and doubt destroys good people and good projects.

Managing change is about making the employees feel certain.

How do you do that?  Well, a famous occupational psychologist by the name of Will Shutz believed that people need three things during change: control, inclusion and openness.  These three things overlap with good project management, you might notice.

Successful Change Management

Your task is to get your team acquainted with their new leader.  You don't have to have trust exercises or play games, but put the team together in the room with their soon-to-be boss:

1. Let them ask questions of her and vice versa.

2. If it is a small team, have the new leader meet and chat one on one with each member.

3. Ensure each team member has a chance to express any concerns or issues they might have. That is perhaps the most important part of project management, and a good base for a leader to start from.

Now that your protege has a feel for their employees and the employees your protege, the actual project management can begin:

1. Make sure that the employees know what they can expect from their new leader and what type of management she plans on doing.

2. Make sure that each employee knows what is going to change and how.

3. Slowly start implementing the changes.

The trick to successful change management is to make sure that employees know what change is coming before it happens; make sure there is some time to adjust.  Give them time to wrap their heads around what is happening.  If you do that, your workers will accept just about any change.



Here are the three main points you should take from this article:


  • Be open with your employees about the change.
  • Let your employees get to know their new boss.
  • Tell them what is going to change, but implement that change slowly.

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