Monday, March 21, 2016

Transitioning well

Way too many times I've seen people leaving their jobs and transitioning poorly. Some see their decision as a free pass to express their frustrations. Some are fed up and want others to know about it. Some just aren't aware of what they're doing. Whatever your situation, here's a short guide to transitioning out of your current job, company, or role well.

Don't Sow The Seeds Of Discontent

There may be many reasons you're leaving your current role. You may be unhappy. You may feel slighted. You may disagree with the direction of the team. Or you may be leaving for some other reason entirely. It's important to remember that just because you feel this way doesn't mean everyone else should. It's not your job to make sure everyone else shares your grievances. That is a sign of immaturity. If you're having interpersonal conflict where you're at, chances are that you're at least a small contributor to the problem.

Be mature and don't be the poison pill that's trying to get everyone else to make the same decision as you. Transitioning is not the time to let everyone know what you've been secretly thinking about them, the project, or leadership. HR is the correct place to vent any of these frustrations.

Don't Burn Bridges

You've probably heard not to burn your bridges on your way out. And you've probably dismissed it as irrelevant to your situation. But there are two good reasons why you should take that advice to heart.

First, Though you may not be able to imagine ever working on that team, at that company, or in that role again you don't know what your future holds. There may come a time when you do want to come back. Maybe the leadership will have changed. Maybe they'll be solving a really interesting problem you're excited about working on. Maybe you've matured and seen the error of your ways. Whatever the reason may be, there may come a time when you find yourself wanting to come back to a job you've left. Leaving on good terms and being helpful on your way out leaves that door open to you.

Second, you don't know when you're going to run into your former colleagues again. You don't want the last impression you leave with those colleagues to be a negative one. They may be in the critical path for your success at some point in the future.

Do Your Best To Set The Team Up For Success

What can help your soon to be former team the most is to make sure that any tribal knowledge you have is documented and understood by the current team. 
  • Document the things that are currently in flight by you.
    • Make sure you state what the problem is, how you're solving it, and what's going to be left to solve.
  • Go through your calendar for the past three months and look for any one off meetings you've had about current or future work and debrief the team and/or your manager on the problem space.
  • Make an external point of contact list with the names and roles of every external team you interface with and share this list with your manager and current team before you leave.
  • Make an internal point of contact list that can be shared with your external points of contacts and share this list with them before you leave. 

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