What are some best practice for someone in management to leave in a manner that does not leave the company with a major gap? Is the normal 2 week minimum enough for the company to normally handle the transition?

I am the Technical Lead at my company and sort of the go to technical person for everyone in the company. I handle everything tech from development (architecting, coding), consulting and even IT. I am also heavily involved in all management meetings and manage a team.

I am only thinking of leaving the company only because I want to be in another industry and I want to get back into more programming.

As further background, I am in a company for 30+ staff and I am the most senior developer out of 5 developers. Most of the developers under me are not ready to take over my role in my view because

  • too junior (fresh out of school)
  • wrong attitudes when given an opportunity to lead
  • not the right tech skill sets needed.

I have been though trying to train/expose most of them to what my role entails and opportunities to step up (ie. being the lead in a project).

  • 4
    You know, good advice is be extremely honest. Walk up to your boss and say everything you've said here. And then ask him the question, ask him what you can do, anything, to ease the transition. Always ask questions to empower the other party (it's a goo trick to get you off the emotional hook ;-) ) Regarding the two weeks: there is never enough time, ever, so just stick to the two weeks. If you said 100 weeks it would not be enough time. So forge the time aspect.
    – Fattie
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 11:59

4 Answers 4


At the end of the day it is Organization problem, not your problem. How ever the below points helps you to leave gracefully.

(1) Identify best one among your team and identify gaps and training needs. You can identify best fit for lead role in your team. Of course they might not as good as you as Lead. But identify gaps and what they are lacking. And identify what knowledge and training make them be ready for training.

(2) Do documentation, write articles or prepare video sessions: Based on your knowledge you prepare some articles about your project, technology and other lead related articles, or prepare video teaching sessions, or dos and fonts in different scenarios. This helps to any one who take up your role

(3) Be ready to do extra favor to Management if you can: Generally in this kind of scenarios, management usually requests you extra favor like extending notice period or participating interviews to find your replacement. Be ready and plan for it if you can unto certain reasonable extent.


If there isn't anyone in the team suitable to take over your role, then your standard two weeks notice is not going to be enough - either to build one of your team up, or to find a replacement from outside.

However, to be blunt, that isn't your problem to worry about. That might sound a bit selfish, but that's the bald truth.

On the other hand, it is always a good idea to smooth things over - if only so that you can get a positive reference in the future.

If you're starting to look for work, pick your most senior developer and get them to shadow you - have him attend meetings and take on some of the architecture/design work. Explain it as professional development - don't tell people what your real plan is until you are ready to resign. At the very least, you need some kind of continuation plan for the situation where you are suddenly unable to work (through an accident or illness).

  • I have never seen them hire from outside until after the person has left even if the person gave seveal months notice. Copmanuies tend to not want to pay two people at the same time for the same job. I've noticed that when people give more than 2 weeks notice (this is the US) that it tends to make senior managers act as if the person is really going to stay right up to the last week anyway.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 17:40
  • True - not all organisations will have the foresight to realise that having the exiting around for the interview/selection of a replacement, and even for some handover is a huge benefit.
    – HorusKol
    Commented Apr 14, 2014 at 23:05
  • 3
    Key point here. If the company fails to have a sufficiently competent individual able to assume your role in a timely manner (two weeks) that's THEIR problem and poor management on their side. You've attempted to prepare the transition as able, do what you can to smooth it, but ultimately no matter how much time you give they will always need more. Give them two weeks and help anyway you can, but frankly it's not your problem and don't let their mismanagement stunt your career. Commented Apr 15, 2014 at 18:01

Take care of yourself first

It's not really your responsibility to have your replacement set up. It's management's. However, I do appreciate your sense of professionalism and it's also not wrong to want to be helpful and leave on good terms.

Resignation notice

Generally speaking, yes, two weeks is the standard professional recommendation in the US. However, that is not always applicable to all situations. You could consider leaving a longer notice, for example one month. This gives them more time to find a replacement and also emphasizes the priority of giving you time to assist with it.

Help designate your replacement

If the company accepts your resignation in a professional manner, they may be amenable to letting you help name your replacement. Perhaps from the team, or, since you've indicated some concerns about that, from external contacts you may have that may be a good fit.

Post-resignation support

Another thing you can do is offer some assistance even after you're gone. Things like allowing them to call with questions or a part-time employment period. This may not be possible depending on conflicts with the new job though, and even if it is you must manage any post-resignation contact carefully lest it become an avenue for abuse of your time (if you offer free help) or a disturbance to your new job.

Your question sounded familiar to me and I found these links to other Stack Exchange sites where you might find some good advice:

Quitting a small start up where you are a primary developer

Is it a good idea to take a dev job knowing you'll be leaving shortly?


If you don't have a job lined up yet, and you don't plan to leave for a competitor, why not tell your company that you are looking to change industries. Let them know that you have begun the process of interviewing, but have not accepted any offers, and you are telling them early so that they can either find a replacement that you can vet/interview, or they can pick from among your team and you can groom that person to replace you.

This gives the company the maximum amount of time to find/groom your replacement, and it also gives them an opportunity to try to keep you by meeting your requests (if you think you may want to stay at all).


If for any reason you think the job will not be happy you told them early, or that they may fire you before you have accepted a new offer do not tell them. Your generosity and concern could backfire and leave you without a job.

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