7 Proven Tips to Help You Pick Up A Project from Someone Else

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I have transformed into a woman who runs down Regent Street wearing ridiculous heels in the last few weeks to get to her next meeting.
Who has ever said, “Sorry. I’ve got a mouthful lunch, hang on,” so many times on the telephone because there’s not enough time to finish lunch.
Who has ever paid library fines, even though the books are there and ready to be returned?
In other words, life has been very busy.
All this is because I have taken on a new project. We’ve moved things around and I’ve taken on a big, complex piece of work. It’s interesting.
It’s in great shape because the previous PM did an outstanding job. The team is committed and knows what they are doing. It was my first day as a true leader and I received 47 emails about it. There’s a lot happening and I don’t feel like I know what to do.
Here are my 7 top tips for starting work on a project someone is giving you.

1. Take a handover
2. Meet the team
3. Re-read the project initiation process (by yourself).
4. Reexamine the plan
5. Check the meeting schedule
6. Examine the risks
7. Plan your next steps
Now it’s your project

1. Take a handover
The title is the clue. They are handing you responsibility, so they must actually do a handover. Keep copies of all important papers, especially anything that has to do with money spent. Ask about the team. Examine the milestones.
This is the formal part. Now, have a private chat.
Find out what stakeholders want and which ones are having a difficult time right now. You can get a lot of information from the old project manager about office politics and how to cut down your learning curve.
2. Meet the team
Although I cannot find the source of the story (get in touch with me if you do), someone once told me a tale about two soldiers. They agreed to speak up whenever they could.
They began to talk about each other’s experience and credentials over the years. They were each promoted faster than the norm, and that was not surprising.
Robert B. Cialdini, in his book Yes: 50 Scientifically Proven Methods to Be Persuasive explains how it is more effective to have someone else introduce yourself. Ask the departing project manager to make positive introductions and to point out that the project is still in good hands.
This message will give confidence to stakeholders that might be anxious about the change in project managers and it will help you get started on the right track.
It’s possible that the soldier story is also in that book.
3. Re-read the project initiation process (by yourself).
To give yourself a sense of what you would do if you were setting up a project, here are some examples. Is there a project initiation form? Is there a business case? Is there a Yammer group that you could set up for a new project?
Get a head start by downloading the Project Initiation Checklist, which can be found in our project management document library. Follow these steps. You should be happy with the way you’re running this project.
Let me take you to the resource library
You can put in place any changes you feel are necessary and stop any that don’t fit with your vision of the project. Make sure everyone is informed.
4. Reexamine the plan
Read through all planning documents and the project plan. You should feel comfortable with the way the work is laid out. If you don’t, it is time to change.
For example, I like to see all project management ‘overhead’ (or levels of effort tasks) at top o