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Putting Together a PM Transition Plan

written by: nataliajones • edited by: Jean Scheid • updated: 7/17/2013

A project management transition plan must be a part of every major project as it ensures the recommendations are implemented smoothly. Here, you'll find out all the important elements that need to be included.

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    A Look at the Basics

    Image: djcodrin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net A project management transition plan is simply a document that outlines the processes to be followed during the implementation stage of any project. Upon the completion of a defined task, the project team cannot simply present the findings and deliverables to the company executives and walk-away. They must also provide a thorough plan for the implementation of these ideas into the processes that already exist and this plan is called a 'transition plan' because the company will literally experience a period of change while the plans are put in motion.

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    How to Write a Project Management Transition Plan

    For a project management transition plan to be considered complete, several different aspects need to be included. Typical sections to be covered in a transition plan are as follows;

    • Identification of Key Transition Staff. For an organization to survive any planned major change, it must be supported by key members of staff at various levels. Commonly these staff members should have also played a part during the collaboration efforts that brought about the impending change, but this involvement is not necessary for success of the transition initiative. It is important that supervisors and managers that are in charge of the departments that will be impacted are brought on board at this stage to 'sell' the change that is about to occur at subordinate levels.
    • Logistics Considerations. Often, for a project to be implemented smoothly, certain elements first need to be put in place. Whether this involves new hardware, software, hiring of additional staff or contractual amendments, these issues must be addressed before attempting to start the change process.
    • The Transfer of Knowledge. Another key part of any transition plan is the issue of knowledge transfer. All staff that will need to use the new system must be properly trained and if the change directly impacts customers, they also need to be informed before the cut-over to the new way of doing things. This transfer of knowledge can greatly affect the way the change is perceived and, therefore, has the power to affect the success or failure of the process, so any communication plan must be handled with care.
    • Detailed Schedules for Implementation. Depending on the size of the project, it may not be feasible to implement it all at once. In instances where it affects the entire organization, the project can be introduced on a phased-in basis. This schedule for the use of a new system must be coordinated for minimal disruption to the company as a whole. The decisions made here will impact in which order staff are trained and the timing of communication messages.
    • Identification of Risk Factors. Whenever there is change, there is the possibility of new risk factors that may not have been present before. This must be carefully considered by the transition team and all process flows must be scrutinized for exposure to various types of risk, whether it's operational risk, reputation risk or financial risk. Recommendations must be documented for all findings in the project management transition plan so the relevant parties can access and address them accordingly.
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    For the Best Possible Chance of Success

    The preparation of a project management transition plan can be likened to the concept of after-sales service. The document ensures that the recommendations made for the project in question are implemented in a way that is controlled, so there is very little risk and the best possible chance for success.