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I have recently changed positions within the same firm where I have been for 10 years. After beginning my new position I am being forced to complete the project my old group had me working on prior to my move. I do not seem to have support from my new 2 up manager, what should I do?

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+1: Good question. Succinct and to the point. – Jim G. Dec 23 '13 at 20:22
What agreement did your two groups have about your handoff? Did the old group communicate that the project needed to be complete before you moved groups? – Telastyn Dec 23 '13 at 21:28

This isn't all that uncommon. What I find unusual is that it wasn't explicitly stated to you as part of the transition. A metric I've often used is that if work can be wrapped up within a month, the transitioning employee should do so. If the work will take 3 months or more, a retraining with other employees should happen and some level of a transition plan may be necessary. No one can really drop the work and walk away if the work was worth doing in the first place.

Here's my thoughts for a recommended plan:

1 - Sit down with your old manager and walk through the work on your plate and your plans for closing it out. Separate tasks that are ongoing, due to end soon, and that would take months to complete. Ask him for points of contact in the team that you can work with to absorb anything in the "ongoing" and "months to complete" categories so the work can get handed off well.

2 - Work with your new manager to clarify what old work is still on your plate - that's the work that is due to complete shortly, and the retraining work.

3 - Make sure both managers agree on 3 basic deadlines: - time to start doing the new job - when you have 10-25% of your time free to start the new work - time when your time is mostly spent on the new work - this makes for a good time when you spend most effort reporting to the new boss, - time when the old work is completely off your plate.

4 - When this becomes a battle of the bosses is when it's a good time to engage a bigger boss - usually bosses can agree on a transition plan that is fairly reasonable, since none one really benefits from work getting dropped. The times it gets unreasonable is when one area is severely short staffed and can't handle the transition time frame adequately.

5 - Stick to it. Realize that some of this IS your problem - training new employees and leaving work behind that is well organized and unlikely to have difficulties is your problem. Making sure someone is available to learn and has the skills to pick up the work - is the old boss' problem. If he can't meet the schedule he's agreed to, you have every right to engage your new manager and the bigger boss if necessary.

Realize that there can be times where the promotion can float along indefinitely. For example, if the old job was working to save lives on an emergency basis and the new job is working towards a future project that can be delayed indefinitely - you might just be stuck for a while. In cases like this, it's worth pointing out that there were perks to the new job that you were expecting, and even if you are stuck with the old work, you ought to still get the rewards of the new job - like a salary increase or a new office...

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