Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today, I am wise so I am changing myself ~ Rumi
I love this quote. Indeed, change is a constant in life and the workplace. Transitions are a reality of any business, and they happen for varied reasons. As people outgrow their roles or seek to pursue a different path, businesses grow and change projects and processes. These transitions can contribute to both personal and professional growth, leading to greater job satisfaction. Change in projects is inevitable, regardless of which party initiates it.
At Wednesday, each delivery team consists of designers, software developers, and a project manager. We have a framework for transitions called the T-model, which has helped us embrace transitions without impacting project delivery or customer experience. The success of a project is measured by the results it delivers, and the model helps us achieve this effectively. Let's take a deeper dive into it.
Project requirements and personnel expertise
As in negotiations, any project execution succeeds if it's a win-win situation for both parties. What does the project need, and what is the expertise of the person executing it? To effectively evaluate the project requirements and personnel expertise needed for a smooth personnel transition, there are some key steps we can take:
To cite a specific example, a travel business design project would require a designer with UI expertise to create a visually appealing interface that captures and retains users. Similarly, creating a user workflow for a new project demands someone who can ask the right questions, connect the dots, develop user personas, and conduct user research effectively. Finding the maximum overlap between the two will set a good foundation for the project's success.
After evaluating the project's needs and the desired profile, the next step is to find the appropriate person for the job. This can be accomplished through an internal search or by hiring externally. The selection process should involve a review of the candidate's experience, strengths, career goals, and potential for growth and development.
This does not only imply matching the educational qualification but also taking into consideration the softer side of things which includes:
The act of doing.
Regardless of the role, certain action items can lead to successful transitions. These actions are captured in the CTCDC framework, which includes five pillars.
Defining clear goals and milestones for new personnel is crucial. Doing so establishes correct expectations and directs their work effectively. Assigning a buddy/mentor during the transition period also helps, as the new personnel will know someone has their back and can provide guidance and support. This arrangement makes feedback and team collaboration easier.
To ease the new member into the team, start with low-priority and simple tasks. Give them time to adopt the new system and adjust to their new role. This approach can help boost their morale and minimize mistakes and corrections.
Metrics to measure the success of a transition
We need to define a timeframe and metrics to measure the success of the transition. At Wednesday, we have a two-week overlap period for hand-holding, although help is always available!
Metrics to track:
In addition, parameters defined by DORA can help measure the efficiency of software delivery after a transition. In terms of the delivery cycle, ensuring these parameters are unchanged or improved will indicate the successful execution of a transition for a project.
For project manager transitions, apart from the pointers in the CTCDC framework, stakeholder & team feedback and timeline impact need to be considered.
Determine when a transition is not working.
Once we measure the above parameters and conclude a significant gap between expected metrics indicates the transition is not working. If a change is not working, it is essential to determine the cause and develop a plan for course correction. This may involve providing mentorship or re-evaluating the fit for the role.
Signs like missed deadlines indicating reduced velocity, the same feedback on multiple work deliveries, and impact on team morale with non-incorporation of feedback are red flags that need to be taken note of and acted upon.
Course correct for a past transition
This situation could be of the right person in the wrong role, requiring corrective actions for project success. This starts by identifying the issues and challenges and developing a plan of what the project needs per the timelines. We need to return to the evaluation's first step and incorporate any insights gained for future transitions. It's also essential to analyze and provide feedback to the buddy/mentor if that area needs work.
Pointers highlighted in the T-Model set a blueprint for any transition. Although providing room for individual adaptation can help ensure that personnel transition is more successful as each individual and project is unique, as are the requirements.
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