How to Transition Team Members to New Projects

You don’t have to start from scratch with each new project if you follow the advice of Jennifer Bridges, PMP, about moving team members.

Here’s a shot of the whiteboard for your reference!

best practices when transitioning team members to new projects

In Review: How to Transition Team Members to New Projects

Transitioning team members can have various scenarios, Jennifer noted, from starting new projects to having the original project reprioritized. And that’s only two, there are many more.

One thing to worry about, she said, when transitioning team members is burnout, so you want to follow these best practices.

  • Start with an end in mind
  • Address fears
  • Show care
  • Be empathetic
  • Have a vision

Jennifer suggested asking the team how the change makes them feel, as a means of getting them to open up and dialogue with you.

She also outlined a method to move between projects, staring with documenting the old one, tracking its time, noting the closed and open items and then transitioning team members to the new project by onboarding, trading and assignments.

Pro-Tip: You can learn from the startup culture that is almost constantly pivoting to reposition itself. One thing to do is use your resources, that is talk with your team members about what is relevant and what is not.

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Today we’re talking about how to transition team members to new projects. But when we talk about transitioning people from one project to another, there’s certain scenarios when this occurs.

One, it could be just a new project that starts, or an existing project that ends and you want to assign them to the new project. Then sometimes existing projects get reprioritized.

So you may be moving team members off of a project that gets a lower priority, or you may be bringing on new resources or new people to a project that gets bumped to a higher priority. And then likewise, with the people, you could re-prioritize the people. Maybe there’s someone with a special skill set you really need on a high priority project, so you may want to move that person.

And then sometimes there are changes or shifts that occur in two scenarios. For instance, startups have these pivot points. There’s a book that’s called What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. So sometimes startups, as they go to the next level, they have to up level their team members or bring new people on board to those projects.

Then sometimes larger corporations, maybe there’s a new regulation, a federal regulation that’s imposed, or maybe a new market opens up or maybe one closes. And then sometimes natural disasters occur, and with that, it causes changes to your team members as well as your projects. So there’s a caution for transitioning team members. And just beware of burnout.

When you move people often and on a regular basis, they do get burnout because they get engaged in one project, they get their focus, they try to get their task done, and then they’re pulled away. So here’s some best practices for those occurrences.

Start with the end in mind. Really think through and plan for these changes. Who’s it gonna be? Where are they going? And think about ways to dissipate the fear, because change, in most people, even when it’s good change, creates a little bit of fear.

So you want to let them know they’re okay. Show them care and empathy because, after all, they are humans. And you want to make sure that on the inside they’re feeling okay about these changes. You want to paint a vision for where they’re going. You want to let them know that what’s happening on the new project and what the benefit of that is and how they fit into the new picture.

I call a power question is asking them how they feel about it, and that just gives them an opportunity to open up any discussion that you can address at that time. And then basically the transition is more like regular project management planning, implementation.

So you think through the old project and the new project. So, for the old project, for the team members that you’re moving or transitioning, if they’re leaving an existing project, you want to make sure that you’ve documented their completed items or any open items. You want to make sure all of the time has been tracked and accounted for. And then you want to close out any open items, or you want to transition those to team members who may be existing on the project.

And then for that new project that they’re going to, you want to make sure that each person has gone through an onboarding process to the new project, and that includes some training and assigning their activities and really letting them know what they’re responsible for and setting some expectations.

So if you need a tool that can help you manage and track your transitions, then sign up for our software now at

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