Posted on July 8th, 2024

Change is a constant in today’s service organizations. Leaders must act quickly to keep up with new technology, increasing customer expectations, and business growth. To remain competitive, most organizations have one or more projects in progress at any time. These projects require considerable time, money, and resources to create a clear vision of future-state and establish a strategic plan. However, even the best plans can fall short. When goals are not achieved on time, on budget, or at the expected performance levels, the failure is often due to a lack of transition management.

Transition, the phase between “where we are now and where we plan to be,” is challenging. Leaders must manage daily operations and implement project plans simultaneously. Technical and activation issues can be complex and costly. Changing workflows, technology, and job roles create uncertainty and anxiety for employees. Productivity levels may drop significantly during this time. Having a transition management plan in place to address these challenges makes a critical difference in project success.

Transition management is a structured approach to help organizations in the planning and management of complex and critical organizational changes associated with new construction, expansion, acquisitions, or other business structure changes. It combines project management and change management disciplines to address both the technical and people sides of change. A transition management plan is customized based on project size and complexity but always includes strategies for leadership support, project and activation management, and people readiness.

Leadership support encompasses both executive leaders and frontline managers. Project outcomes are achieved more often when there is an active and visible executive leader serving as the project sponsor. The executive leader helps the organization understand why changes are occurring. Frontline managers explain to their employees how the changes will impact their work. Transition management assists leaders in addressing the project’s whys and hows and gaining buy-in from stakeholders. Designating a dedicated transition team also allows leaders to achieve project outcomes without disrupting business continuity during the transition.

Transition management supports the project and activation teams by providing a structured framework that keeps the project on schedule and budget and avoids rework and redesign. The framework guides the team through a progression of detailed action steps that assist them to evaluate options and make the right choices at the right time. Frequent checkpoints are established to ensure the project stays on track. The framework also ensures that there is open, ongoing communication among leadership, the project team, and contractors and that there are clear roles and expectations for hand-offs during the activation process.

People readiness is an essential element of transition management. Leaders, employees, vendors, customers, and other stakeholders who are directly or indirectly impacted by the project must understand what is happening, why, and what they must do to prepare. Engagement and preparation help minimize resistance to change and result in better adoption of new technology, workflows, and processes. Transition management strategies include training and communication in a variety of formats that are scheduled in alignment with the project team to ensure stakeholders receive the right training and information at the right time.

Change is never easy and the transition from current to future state is challenging. Incorporating a transition management plan into your project increases the probability of achieving your expected project goals within the given time and budget constraints. Transition management matters. Consider engaging the services of a transition management consultant who can collaborate with you and your team to design a customized and adaptable transition plan for your next project. Click on RSA’s contact page and in the message box: “Transition Support” for a 30-minute free consult with one of our Transition Team Experts.