The project transition plan should enable the client company to initiate the operation of the system so that it can run smoothly with little external assistance at the beginning of the new fiscal year. Given the size of the company and the project, detailed work will have to be carried out to ensure that the latter is disseminated in an organized and comprehensive manner. The process can be broken down into four main stages: identification of key transition staff, communication of necessary logistical changes, communication of the nature of the system and its planned operation, and the highlighting and mitigation of potential operational and financial risks related to the project.
The first stage is to identify key transition staff. The management personnel who will be responsible for the professional development of their employees should be highlighted, and in a company with over 30,000 employees it is likely to be necessary to refine this process further by selecting only the top echelons of those management personnel, at least for the purposes of the initial transition. The individuals responsible for implementing this change in the company should also be included within this in order to ensure client satisfaction and to “sell the change that is about to occur at subordinate levels” (Jones 2013).
The necessary logistical changes should be communicated to these staff. For such a large project, hardware or software additions may well be necessary, and it will be important to communicate these to IT specialists in the client company. Additional staff may be required to initiate and monitor the project, with advice being needed on the likely specific requirements of the company. For example, extra funding and staffing may be needed to support the additional conferences and events that are likely to arise from the project, and assistance may be beneficial to those management personnel who will have increased oversight of the professional development of their employees.
One of the most important elements of the plan will be to communicate the operation of the project to staff in the company. Given its size and geographically disparate nature, it is likely to be impractical to liaise directly with all 30,000 staff. However, copious support should be offered to those who wish for it, for example by setting up an online helpdesk or by holding conferences to explain it. Communication should mainly be focussed on the key transition staff highlighted above, with explanations both of the over-reaching purpose of the system and its detailed operation, so that these can be passed on down the hierarchy. Ideally, the client company will then be in a position to maintain the smooth running of the process with reduced interference. Training for key transition staff should be held in Florida, Colorado, Illinois and Texas and should demonstrate how the system can schedule relevant professional development activities, make sophisticated searches, add scheduled events to employees’ calendars, support social networking, submit documentation, and notify employees of the need to complete professional development requirements. Given the scale of the project, it is inevitable that there will be delays with both the development and the transition plan itself, so it is important to leave a large time window in advance of the start of the next fiscal year. This will enable any necessary changes to be made and any extra training to be carried out so that everything is in place for the system to operate smoothly from the start.
Advice should be given on the potential risk factors and assistance given in mitigating them. One of the most significant of these is lack of engagement with the project within the company; however good the system is and however much training and communication is provided, if the correct ethos is not instilled from an early point then the financial and operational investment will not have been worth it for the company. The onus is therefore on key transition staff within the company to communicate the importance of the system and to implement rigid guidelines that force employees to make use of the professional development opportunities afforded by the system and report back on them to their managers. Similarly, the company must continue to invest time and money in the continuing successful operation of the project, for example by having staff available to monitor problems that will inevitably arise and track the progress of individuals through the system. It may be necessary to implement further information security measures, and certainly the company should be told to consider the question “has an information risk security analysis been completed?” (Jerkovic 2014). The importance of documenting risks and responses should also be highlighted to the client company, as well as communication about the progress of the project to the developers in order to ensure its efficient running and evolution.
If all these measures are carried out in a thorough and organized way, the successful operation of the new system and the consequent satisfaction of the client company should be maximized. Input should be sought from the company to ensure that the transition plan is targeted at bringing about exactly what it wants to gain from installing this new system. At all times, there should be an emphasis on two-way communication; the point of a project transition plan is not merely to tell the company about the system that they have asked to be created, but also to respond to their reaction to it and help them initiate a strategy for its use that will render it an effective tool in bringing about professional development for all its employees in the long-term.
- Jerkovic, J. (2014, 12 December). Project Transition Checklist. Retrieved from https://www.wlu.ca/documents/61666/05_-_Transistion_Checklist_ver_2.0.doc
- Jones, N. (2013, 17 July). Putting Together a PM Transition Plan. Retrieved from http://www.brighthubpm.com/project-planning/73859-putting-together-a-pm-transition-plan/