In addition to the standard exit interviews most organizations carry out, there are also a handful of additional items the project team should close the loop on whenever a project management professional or other key Project Team member leaves. By working through the following 6 items, the project office will be ready to continue moving forward after a valued coworker departs.
1 – Identify delegated activities. Project team members delegate any number of items, from routine tasks to approval powers. Before the PMP® leaves, talk with them about what’s been delegated and to whom. Specific items to consider include technology-related delegates, such as an administrative assistant or other team member who has the ability to access calendars or e-mail accounts. Look also at delegated capabilities within any document management or project tracking systems to ensure workflows won’t be interrupted.
Not only may the exiting team member have delegated tasks to others, they may have had activities or authorization powers delegated to them. If possible, discuss the status of these relationships before the coworker leaves. This allows the team time to transfer responsibility to another person in the group or notify the delegator that the task is being returned to them for action.
2 – Understand system usage. It’s prudent to confirm which systems the team member used on a regular basis, both internally as well as outside the company (perhaps via a consultant or vendor). Something as simple as knowing the worker routinely used a material supplier’s online portal to confirm parts availability could be tremendously helpful to any team member who will be taking on some or all of the exiting employee’s responsibilities.
3 – Be aware of upcoming activities. Most of the team member’s tasks should already be captured somewhere in the project timeline, but other activities may not be included on the list of critical path items. Were they scheduled for training? Did they have any upcoming presentations on their calendar? Were they part of a mentor program? The Project Team may not decide to continue with all of these pre-planned activities, but knowing they’re on the radar will be useful in assigning tasks and fine-tuning workloads once the worker leaves.
4 – Look at credentialing. If the exiting group member held certifications necessary for project execution—credentials that facilitated regulated activities, for example—the team will need to make arrangements to either have someone else certified or to contract with an outside partner who holds the required certifications. It’s not uncommon for only one team member to hold niche credentials, so be sure you do your due diligence and set the Project Team up for continued success down the road.
5 – Ask about memberships. PMP®s frequently belong to any number of professional, industry, and networking groups. Find out if the individual was a member of any associations or other organizations, and determine if their membership will transfer with them (some do) or if the Project Team now has an opportunity to place another worker into their spot.
6 – See if there’s a prodigy waiting in the wings. Inquire about any fellow team members the worker may have been grooming for bigger things. Is someone particularly qualified to move into the exiting person’s role? Senior-level PMP®s often know not only which Project Team members are interested in opportunities for advancement, they’re also keenly aware of who’s motivated enough to step up when a position becomes available. If the exiting individual knows of anyone internally who has either expressed an interest in the job or who has received specialized mentoring or education to cover some of the duties, now is the time to gather that information.