A couple of manager friends of mine were talking about a chronic challenge that they face - the transfer of ownership when projects end. What solutions would you suggest they try? Here are the details: IT project managers run projects to deploy new or upgraded systems. Technical engineers work on these projects. When a project ends and the system is deployed, the engineers become responsible for supporting the system. The chronic challenge is that, over the course of the project, the PM becomes the known expert. People go to the PM for help or information about the system. Even the engineers who worked on the project will consult the PM when stuck. And so the PMs have trouble extracting themselves from the role of supporting these systems in perpetuity. The managers of both teams want the handoff to happen effectively. How can they best encourage that outcome? Thanks in advance for any suggestions that you have.
Sounds as though change management is missing. As important as managing a project is managing the change this brings to the organization.
Make the hand-off explicit
One "trick of the trade" I've seen from a few PM friends is to have a closing task which makes the hand-over explicit. It's usually in the form of designating a specific primary contact for the new systems, often a manager of IT staff or a senior engineer. That designee gets all the documentation, project notes, and a written list of loose ends. The PM reassigns any and all defects/issues from himself to the primary contact, meets the primary contact for a last hand-over conversation, then folks go out for something to eat/drink to mark the occasion.
Thereafter, the PM redirects all inquiries on the system to the relevant primary contact.
The PM might of course offer up observations, caveating that his knowledge is stale, and that the primary contact for a system knows the current state of what's under support. The quicker the observations cease, and the inquiry redirected without commentary or delay, the better.
Thanks for the advice
Thanks for the tips. I'll pass them along to the PM manager. Do you have any advice for the engineering manager, or do you fael that only the PMs have the power to change this dynamic?
There are probably multiple steps needed. Maybe some of them are already there.
Hope this helps a bit.