All good programmes and projects come to an end! And so, of course, do the bad ones,  but with less happy results.    Good or bad, in due course, you will want to look for a new role!  It is imperative to pick yourself up and dust yourself off  and start all over again – or at least start looking for a new project.   Here are some tips to help you deal with the situation and to help you find an amazing new assignment.

1. Assess the Situation –  How did the project run and how did it end?  What can you learn and take with you into the future. Take a look at the big picture. Look for the good things and new possibilities that this experience might bring you and what new contacts have you made? Keep a positive attitude.   Whatever happened remember the old adage…….. it’s time to turn lemons into lemonade.

2. Consider your Finances –  Start with the practical – take stock of your finances !   This will help you to evaluate just how selective you can be in searching for a new project and help you to plan a budget for these leaner financial times.  If you see that your saving habits have not been what they should be, consider stepping up your savings once you move on to the next assignment – it is unlikely the financial climate will suddenly have improved.

3. Update Your Resume or CV – Most of us do not stay on top of keeping our resumes current, so now is the time to add new skills and experience information from your most recent work. You are likely be surprised at all of the skills and knowledge you will have acquired!  Have you worked in a new sector or run things in a new way?   If necessary,  hire a professional resume writer to help  you sell yourself more effectively  – there are plenty of people out there willing to help and it could give you the edge you need!

4. Now is the time to invest in training –  If time and funding permits, take advantage of your downtime between roles to update your skills – techniques are constantly changing in the world of change management,  project and programme management.  Awareness of new techniques and confidence in discussing them could give you the edge with a potential client, as well as helping you to deliver better!

5. Let The World Know You Are Available!  – network , network, network, with all your professional acquaintances and agencies as well as  friends and  family who just may know of the perfect position for you.  Now is the time to make use of your professional memberships – go to events and involve yourself.  Remember, often companies have project and programme roles that may not be heavily advertised and all it takes is a word from the inside to be considered. Make sure you talk to everyone you know and let them know that you are actively seeking a new role.  If you have had a recent success then talk about it!

6. Treat Assignment Hunting As A Job – Sitting around waiting for your dream programme to fall into your lap doesn’t work!  Spend what is your usual working day doing something that will help you in your new assignment!  Whether you are training, reading sector magazines and books in your field ,  searching the Internet for possible roles or managing your contacts, keep your hours filled with productive and focussed tasks.

7. Gather Positive References – If you left your role with a positive success then asking for a reference is easy – but please do it!  If things were less than perfect or at least good, you may not want to use your former client when looking for new assignment. Compile a list of people who can vouch for you as a project or programme manager and let them know that they may be called upon as a reference.  .

8. Make Your Move – If you have been considering a move to a new location, this might be the perfect opportunity to relocate. As you will be searching for a new role anyway, you won’t have the same strings attached that you would if you were in a role. Changing cities or even countries can open up a whole new world of opportunities to you. But be sure it still leaves you with good options in terms of the ability to use your contacts

9. Don’t Give Up – No matter how hard the search might seem right now, keep looking and don’t be discouraged. There is certainly a project out there for you but it may take a bit of hunting down!  This opportunity will be what you make it, so be positive and productive

10. Good Luck – make your own – follow 1 to 9 above!  And I would love to hear how you get on!


If you are the senior manager responsible for a project, here are a series of questions to ask yourself at the start to ensure success!

  1. Are the objectives and benefits achievable? The project may be very well intentioned and it may sound very grand but can your organization actually do it (even with advice) and will it be worthwhile?
  2. Is this the right investment for the organization at this time and how does this project fit within the existing programme of projects and competing priorities for the organization. It may sound right but you may have a lot of other priorities right now – can the resource be made available?  Will some other project already underway make this project redundant even before it starts?
  3. Who are the stakeholders and do they agree on the  objectives and benefits? What other parts of the organization and the supply chain will you be dependent on?  Will your  customers appreciate the benefits you plan?
  4. Is there anything novel in terms of process or technology and can you cope with it?  This particularly important for IT based projects – leading edge is one thing – bleeding edge quite another? If it is IT and you don’t know the difference then definitely take advice!
  5. Are you clear about the scope – is there a project brief that describes the project in full and from a business perspective? Do you understand where the boundaries of your project are?  What is  in and what is out?  If you don’t know, you may find it very difficult to know when you have a success and also to control your costs!
  6. Does the project fit well with  your organization’s  strategic initiatives, frameworks and architectures? Does this fit well with the overall direction of the organization, is it compatible with your existing service contracts – if it is IT,  will it fit in with your existing systems?
  7. Have you tested the underlying assumptions within the project brief and business case? Have you really challenged the team on the assumptions they have made – are they being realistic and do the figures really stack up?
  8. Does the project have an agreed set of performance measures against which performance can be measured during the life of the project, and at its conclusion? How can you ensure the right quality is being delivered!   What will be the key milestones and how will you know when you have got there?
  9. Does the business case reflect the full cost of the project including associated business change costs? Buying an IT system for example is not completing a project – what about   the cost of training you staff? What about the cost of the time they spend training?  How much will you pay for support? How will funding be tracked?
  10. Are you confident that you are the right person to sponsor for this project? Do you have the knowledge needed – if not,  have  you the time to learn – can you find a mentor?  Have you got the time to do it?  Are you senior enough?  Will you have to refer key decisions further up the line?

If you would like advice on any of this then Wisewolf Consulting will be happy to help!  You can contact us at this link