Transition Management at 100 feet level

The transition management activity is performed when the projects are being transferred
• Between resources
• Between Project teams
• Between organizations

Aim of transition is to keep work in progress, without any issue. Transition also affects the existing work (now we have one more task to be handled in addition to existing work)

This article written is based on the experience in current and previous firms.

1. Key terms:
• Party1/Organization-1/KT-ing/KTing: The person/Organization who is providing KT. After this KT the role of the person is transitioned to others
• Party2/Organization-2/KT-ed/KTed: The person/Organization who is receiving the KT. He/she or their organization is responsible for the continuation of the current activity for which they are getting KT

2. Types of transition:

2.1 The Organization transition:
• During this time project is being transferred between same or different organization
• This may also lead to job elimination/lay-offs in both or one organization
• This kind of transition will happen during company acquisition, merger/take-over or co-working.

2.2. Project transfer:
This may be within same firm/project or other firms or projects. This is due to people exit or project transfer or hand-over.

2.3 Resource transition:
This initiated due to resource replacement/exit

2.4 The hostile, political, resources transitions:
• This is not as per published plan. This is more of politically motivated to replace current project or organization. Initially this will happen by injecting the particular person in the organization by means of tie-up/co-working. Then the take-over will happen.

3. KT [Knowledge transfer]
This word is very simple with so many responsibilities
• This is very complicated
• Need to perform lot of ground work and planning

We need get into shoes of the person or organization we use getting their work transitioned.

At the end of the day task KT is for work continuation and progress

4. Events of transition
Typical events of transition is as follows, they are not mentioned in order

4.1 Identify the type of transition
• Organization transfer
• Project transfer/Module transfer
• Resource replacement
• Hostile take-over /political transfer/resource replacement
• Addition or exit of the team/team member/person
[These are covered in section 2]

4.2 Identify the timeliness

4.2.1 Fixed time lines
• Irrespective of the transfer is done or not with in the pre-defined timelines. In this case the party1 [who is doing KT], has fixed time lines, as this party is moving to different organization, or work is being eliminated
• Party2 [who is getting KT] do not have enough time lines, has to work on the activity as early as possible. Or this may work continuation activity

4.2.2 No time limit
Party- 1 and party 2 are in the same organization and can do transfer as and when required, and transfer can go on for ever

4.2 Identify the purpose
• Work continuation
• Work closure
• Take-over or transfer of technology and company

4.3 Identify the mode of transfer and purpose
• Online transfer [Phone/e-mail/conference calls]
• On the job training and transfer
• Job elimination and individual elimination
• Transition and work continuation
• Off-shore and on site model
• Live demo
• Project execution, development and continuity
• Trail Run

4.4 Identify the contents and responsibilities
• Contacts list
• Architecture transfer
• Documents and repository
• Patents and credits/fund transfer during the acquisition of the firm or take-over
• MPP or project plans
• Artifacts
• Tools and technology
• Transition and work continuation
• Contractual and obligations
• NDA and format
• Key stake holders
• Key organization
• Agreement and sign-off between the various organizations
• Terms and conditions
• SLA’s need to be identified and signed before the start of the work.
• Mind map documents
• XLS documents
• MOM, weekly, monthly, project, program documents
• Sharing the dynamics and politics before and after the transfer
• This kind of transition will happen during company acquisition, merger/take-over or co-working.

4.5 Identify the back-up plan
4.6 Identify the resources filling/augmentation/reduction plan
4.7 Identify the strategies in continuing the current work and future work
4.8 Identify the people/team/organization
• The people needs to involved
• If the technology is SAP, try getting people who has done similar transfers.
• Also keep people whose personalities will much and can bring energy and efficiency to transfer
• Keep the organization plan, before and after the transition.
• Keep the organization chart

4.9 Identify what needs to be transferred
4.10 Identify the work location and infrastructure after and before the transition
4.11 Identify the risks, mitigation, and contingency plan
4.12 Identify the cross culture risks and issues while transition
4.12.1 This is biggest risk in the transition process. In some countries due to various language issues, cultural problems, the transfer will not proceed further. So times it helps to depute a person on the location with same cultural experience.

4.12.2 In typical service firms you will have multi-lingual people, who will speak the same language. Some cases sending people to the site will help the work/transfer faster.

4.12.3 Also it helps the project and transfer, if you have good team members who can gel and pickup the contents from the customer.

4.12.4 Also you must identify the gaps, based on your or firm’s experience and has to mitigate the risk. In certain countries and geography, the translators can help to explain the terms quickly.

4.12.5 There are various instances during my first travel customer asked us to attend cultural and ESL [English for second language course]

4.12.6 Also need to see the gaps and mitigate them, for example in one country they are not acquainted with spoken or American English. But their written skills are excellent. So they were insisting on the written communication.

4.12.7 Due to language issues it is difficult to get transition done, while dealing with one project, we are spending many hours in for every discussion. As the PM from that country was translating and explaining every word we utter. 20 minute call was taking more than one hour to complete.

5. Steps of KT [Knowledge transfer]

5.1: Ground work
• Initially the KT forms and contents list is provided to Party-1 [KT-ing]
• Need to have joint review and identify the gaps and update the plan

5.2: Getting KT
• Get the KT from the KT-ing person/organization until pre-defined time. During this time KTed party will involve in all discussion and e-mail conversations.

5.3: Executing the KT
• During this time KTed person will be in charge and KT-ing person will be shadowing mode.
• KTing person will help as and when the inputs are required.

5.4: Sign-off of the KT
•This is final phase, after this phase the support from KT-ing person will minimal
•The sign-off of the documents need to be performed in this phase.

6. Assumptions, issues and others
• Party-1 and Party-2 should have similar experience
• During the KT phase work the normal work other than KT may take back-stage
• You should not assume all the data is transferred correctly. It is impossible to transfer minute details as the data and contents may change or it is difficult to transfer.
• Party-1 may not be able to cover the most of the complicated topics in the transition.
• Party-2 may not be able to understand KT. It is difficult or challenging to visualize all the problems/issues the time of KT. unless you are in war, you can get all that data/info by watching war videos
• The experience with people, customer, and management can not be explained
• KT process needs to be reviewed by management and authority, and proper check points need to defined, monitored and managed.
• After the KT, the task seems to be complicated and need to be planned carefully and systematically
• The Organization should clearly define the strategies of the party-1 and party-2 as the success of the transition depends on the role definition of either parties. As KT is very complicated task and management MUST assure the benefits after the KT is done.
• Transition work is like demo software, it is not easy to understand everything during the KT process.
• Party-2 will accept all the data during the KT. unless party-1 is organized it is difficult to get all the data.
• During firm merger you will hear “it is not merger it is take-over”.
• During one of transitions, PM of the project [KT-ing] told me after our transition, he will count birds and trees [as the total work is transitioned to our comp.]

Ver 1.0: Wrote this article while traveling from Pune to Hyderabad on 25th Oct 2008.
Ver 1.01: Added 4.12 based on comments received, and modified or rephrased some sections, to provide more clarity [Oct 31st 2008]


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