The 6 P’s of Getting Started on a New Project
It’s not unusual to be moved from one project to another. Unfortunately, this is not always handled strategically. If you are suddenly reassigned to a new project, it might not be because you’re a perfect fit for the position, but rather because you’re just a warm body needed to help a project that’s ramping up or falling behind.
A well-run organization should have steps in place to ensure transitions are executed efficiently. Ideally, when an employee is transferred to an existing project, there would be at least one team member designated to mentor or train the new member. This individual’s success would be tied to the new team member’s success, providing incentive to ensure a smooth transition and adequate support. However, this isn’t always the case, and new team members may be left to fend for themselves.
If you suddenly find yourself on a new project and are wondering where to start, don’t panic. Take control and get started with the six P’s.
Learn who the other members of the team are, including their roles and contact information. An organizational chart can help. Get acquainted with your new colleagues and try to determine who would be willing to answer your questions and help you along.
It’s difficult to get to know your new team members if you’re not physically near them. Are you still sitting in the location of your last project? Is your seating arrangement ideal for your new assignment? If not, perhaps you could have your desk moved closer to those you will be working with. Proximity facilitates familiarity and collaboration, resulting in more efficient teamwork.
Know what you're building, who will be using it, and who your competition is. You can start by obtaining customer-facing information or presentations geared toward shareholders from the business side of the organization. After that, you can get more granular about learning the details of the project.
Process, Tools, and Technologies
Find out what processes, tools, and technologies may be needed for you to do your new job. If there is software you need to install or permissions you need to be granted in order to access any tools, repositories, or libraries, get that done as soon as possible.
Find out the team’s pain points. Being new, you may be able to provide a fresh perspective on how to alleviate them. Ensure that time is appropriated to allow you to transfer any lingering responsibilities from your former position to someone else. This can help you to avoid the problem of needing to do two jobs simultaneously.
Obtain the team’s latest delivery plans and schedules. This should include what is being delivered, as well as meeting and deployment schedules. Also make sure your new responsibilities are clearly defined for you.
If you’re thrust into a new project, don’t sit idly by, waiting for others to carry you along. When joining a new project, take ownership of your new role by getting started with the 6 P’s.