A new member of the team is needed to join the project
We try to keep our project team together throughout the engagement. We want everyone to work together efficiently, productively, and cohesively. It is ideal that everyone does a great work, has no run-ins and has all the skills necessary to complete all the tasks assigned to them. Ideally.
It does sometimes happen that we need to bring in a new member of the team to help us with a project. One member of your team might not be living up the ‘ideals” mentioned in the first paragraph. Perhaps they are needed to help with a high-profile, high-profile project. Maybe they were fired. No matter what the issue, you must onboard a new member to your active project. You need to do this efficiently, strategically, with the ability to retain customer confidence in you and your ability to manage the project.
If this is necessary, I usually follow the 5 step process to get the new member of the team up to speed, onboarded and productive to ensure that there are no hiccups with the project.
1) Customer alert
To avoid appearing deceptive to my client, I first inform them that a change is taking place. I provide as much information as possible to the customer about the situation, in a positive way. If it’s appropriate, I may also provide a resume for incoming personnel. Or at the very least, a summary of the team member’s experiences with the company or similar projects. Anything that will give the customer confidence that they won’t experience a drop-off in service. This is especially important if the change in team member is necessary due to customer dissatisfaction.
2) Knowledge transfer
Next, I give as much information as possible and ask the project team to do so. I give as much information as possible about the project history and documentation, including the statement of work, presentation materials from the kickoff meeting, requirements document, updated project schedules and status reports, budget forecasts (if necessary), team member forecasts, anything that can give a quick overview of where we are at the moment. I introduce the team member to the group and request that they share any pertinent information with the new person. Also, they have a meeting or call within the next week to update them on the project.
3) Customer introduction
Next, I will introduce the team member to my customer during the next project status call. Although they may not be actively working on the project, it is likely that they are not – but it is a chance for the client to have some fun and to allow the customer the opportunity to ask any questions about the new team member.
4) Status call sit in
This step may not be possible, but I prefer to have the new person stay in the shadows for a week or so. This works best if the outgoing person remains available for at least 1-2 weeks. This allows the team member to see how the meetings are run, what their participation expectations are, and can see exactly where things are at and what areas are most important for the client.
5) Productive activity
Finally, I expect the project member will be up to speed and productive within 1-2 weeks. If the outgoing person is unable to take over the work, this may be an immediate requirement. In ideal circumstances, I would shoot for a scenario lasting 1-2 weeks.