Taking over where someone left off

Sometimes we consultants get handed a shiny new programme or project to deliver from scratch and sometimes – we don’t. This one is pertinent to my current situation as I will be starting with a new client next week. The previous Programme Manager has already delivered plenty and now I’m picking up where they have left off.

Here are my initial pointers and I’d be interested in any you might wish to share

  1. Seek first to understand before you want to be understood: understand your stakeholders and their workloads
  2. Read, read and then read again any literature accumulated to date: if there is any you consider missing then decide whether or not it is needed and move on if it isn’t
  3. Speak with your team (if you have a direct one) and understand delivery to date. Arrange to meet your senior stakeholders and programme team members on a 1:1 if possible
  4. Take the programme budget and really understand it – including any outstanding accruals. If there are overspends then find out how important adherence to budget is (I’m speaking as an accountant here)
  5. Don’t take anything for granted!

As American comedian, Billy Crystal, has been quoted as saying….

I think it’s like a relay race. You run, and you hand over the baton, and your kids pick it up. They take the stuff they want, throw the rest away, and keep running. That’s what life is about
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/billy_crystal_790207

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