Not too long ago I was asked to hand over a project I had built from scratch with minimal investments. We had worked hard and long to get it implemented and into a shape that could scale big time. It was a cross-department project with lots of potential and many excited stakeholders. We were ready to launch for real, after a beta phase, when the company did some reorganization.
The project ended up under another product manager. A new peer on my team at the time. Logically it made a whole lot of sense to move this golden nugget project to this new employee, as the project was very much tied under the responsibilities and theme of this employee. Logically it was the right thing to do, and I would have done the same if it was my decision. Logically.
Emotionally however I was very sad to see it go. Not only was I proud of the yet to bloom project, seeing its full potential painted on the wall. I also loved the tiny team we had streamlined over time. This meant I would not have the chance to see them successful and help them get rewarded for all their hard work anymore. Also, I would no longer take part in the great journey ahead. I felt really sad about all that.
But here is the important lesson to all you aspiring techies, project managers, product managers, and other professionals out there: whatever you are hired to do is never yours to keep. No matter how you feel about some code, product, project, program or other successful piece of your deliverables, it is not truly yours. It is the company’s and the company will do (hopefully) what is best and most optimized for the company with it. Always keep this perspective and it will help you transition through any organization gracefully. Leaving some handy thoughts for you to use (or not):
- It is not yours to keep, so don’t act like it is – be graceful, always
- If you have created successful projects in the past, you can do it again
- Most organizational changes have nothing to do with you. No matter if it hits you and it feels like you are the target. In most cases a transition is probably just a natural step of growth of the company and not a reflection on your competence. Be confident, yet be observant too if it is a trend, in which case you might want to start some coaching.
So my tip to you, allow yourself to mope a bit if you need to. On your own time. But then quickly let go (use the above thoughts to help you do that quicker) and move on to your next project. Choose the high road and keep your grace at work and it will pay off in the end.