Reinforcing the Bridge instead of Burning It
September 8, 2016 4:21 AM   Subscribe

Leaving my job. What is the best way to ease the transition for my colleagues?

I am leaving my job in just under three weeks. My current position is a kind of Biz Dev role in an Enterprise IT department (translation: I help other departments in the business create their technology strategy and/or apply technology to their strategy by developing & guiding IT projects). In practice it is a mix of PM, BA, and Biz Dev.

It is very important to me that I leave on good terms. I would like to set my colleagues up for success with our current projects. My colleagues in this case are Project Managers, Business Sponsors, and developers & QAs.

On almost all of my projects, I am working with a team of people and they really do already have all of the information they need (either because I have been keeping them informed or because they developed the info themselves). However, there is a bit of dependence on me ---- asking questions where I coach them to the answer they know, asking me where to find things, sending me off to have "difficult" conversations (that they are capable of & is within their job description; this applies to the PMs). I am not complaining; I am in a leadership role & I expect these things at my current job. One more thing of note: I probably can give about 4 to 8 hours to transition activities between now and my last day. I am using the other time to continue on, business as usually, with the current projects in flight.

It seems to me like information like "here's the project, the team involved, where the materials are, scope, status, and budget" won't be very helpful, because other people have all of that information. I have NO secret/hidden/unknown information.

What is the best way to set my colleagues up for success in this situation? How can I make the transition easier? Is there some documentation I should create?

I am especially looking for advice from people who have benefited from a really excellent transition from a departing colleague.
posted by CMcG to Work & Money (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I'm also going through this, although in more of an engineering and project management role. My departure is still months away, and only my boss (and his boss) know I'm leaving. I'm struggling with trying to get my colleagues to step up and do their job without me spoon-feeding them (of course this is one fundamental reason why I'm leaving). Maybe they will sit up straight and start doing it when they learn that I'm not going to be there.

I've been creating a LOT of documentation (and I'm a freaking master at that :) ) but I have this sinking feeling that they won't ever look at it.

I'll be following this thread, and hope I haven't derailed it in any way.
posted by intermod at 6:19 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

Test the waters with management about consulting after you leave, with an hourly rate. "I will available for one hour at x o'clock for questions, for a total of two weeks. My rate is x per hour for 10 total hours." I left a job this way once and it really worked out great for everyone concerned. My new employer was notified in advance that I would be taking these calls and they were fine with it.
posted by raisingsand at 7:04 AM on September 8, 2016 [3 favorites]

It sounds like some of this stuff (realizing they already have the answer, having difficult conversations, etc) are just things they know how to do but don't really want to do because it's currently easier to have you do it.

If they're really all set in terms of data, etc., can you nudge your successor(s) to do some of the more complicated interpersonal work or at least have them accompany you for those conversations as part of the transitions, so that the other departments know their new contacts and your team has some experience of working with them in person? When I took over a leadership role in the past, having the then-current leader take me to meetings, introduce me as the person who would be taking over, and let me get to know the other parties and their priorities/personal foibles without being immediately responsible for deliverables was very helpful.

The other stuff you mention (finding the answers they already know) is something that they will probably just have to develop on their own as they need to do it. It's not unreasonable to expect that there will be at least a short period of growing into a new and more senior role, and it's OK for them to not feel 100% confident about making decisions immediately as long as they're basically smart and competent. It's also OK for them not to do things exactly the way you would do them once you've left. Hopefully your team members are all basically smart, competent people and they will grow into their new roles, but other than providing an environment where they can feel confident expressing their opinions and trying things on their own, I don't think there's a way you can force people to be proactive during your last weeks.
posted by The Elusive Architeuthis at 8:13 AM on September 8, 2016 [1 favorite]

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