Transition Management

What is transition management and why is it so challenging?

In this post Anna Jaszczołt  sharing her experience on transition management.

Transition is a process or a period of changing from one state or condition into another one. In business reality it means changing from current way of working to a new one. How many projects that fulfil these criteria came to your mind now? Many, I doubt.

Well, yes, there are many transition projects around us. The world, the business, is a vivid mixture of changing circumstances. Thus successful organisations are not stable, they are agile, adaptable, flexible, driven by change or in other words  by transitions. We could also say that transition is a way of delivering change.

Transition examples

Imagine you work in a growing service centre, providing services to internal and external Customers from all over the world. Your Company is a global, fast-changing organisation addressing its products to Customers from any country, on any continent on the globe. You handle different types of projects. However, all of them focus on growing the centre you work for. So your projects are transitions, in other words migrations, aiming to transfer operations from primary countries of delivery to your centre. Of course, your centre, being a key element of a global strategy, keeps on growing. There are many business benefits standing behind that decision. So your projects aim to build new teams, departments that will impact global organisational structures and processes. In your portfolio you may also have different types of related projects, for example: transfer of data servers, development of office space in your data centre, improvement of migrated processes, new Customer on-boarding etc.

Can you already imagine the flavour of managing these types of projects? I guess so! They are highly heterogeneous, containing all, bits of sweetness, geniality, contentment and bitterness (Yummy! Almost sounds like and interesting dish!) Well, they definitely bring lots of adrenaline and diversity on the table, what I personally enjoy.

Transition challenges

Transitions are challenging due to many factors. I have listed some of them below:

  • Transitions directly impact employees and the way they work every day – yes, this is a big challenge. People do not like changes by default. And if the change requires a breakout from the daily routine and more work at the beginning they don’t like it even more.
  • Transitions are driven by visions of higher management  thus, quite often they are not understood by a casual employee. First thing is that due to an abstract nature of vision employees very often cannot see the business benefits behind the change, so they do not understand why we are pursuing the change. Second thing is that at the beginning there is a vision and a general goal . And many unknown aspects of the way the reality is going to look like after the project. Not mentioning the path of getting there, which is even a bigger unknown aspect directly impacting many employees. In other words: transition is going from point A to point B, not knowing how the path leading to B will look like and not understanding B itself by casual employees.
  • Transitions are complex  They involve many processes, departments, teams, procedures and quite often offices from different locations or countries. In other words, they are complex on both content and management sites.
  • Transitions elicit organisational changes  They create new roles at the same time cancelling some of current roles.
  • Transitions very often make people redundant  majority of transitions are related to laying off people. People are made redundant either due to moving the process they worked on to different location or due to a substantial improvement and automation of the processes.

This list could easily evolve to a much longer one.  However, my experience tells me the substantial elements have been addressed.

I am sure all of you have participated, observed, or been directly impacted by more than one transition already. What was your experience? Did you like it? Was it managed properly?

Would you like to read more on transitions?

With excitement, I am looking forward to your comments,

Anna Jaszczołt

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