113: Office Transition

Your term as an officer is complete. Now you are ready to sit back and take it easy, but you’re not quite done yet. Your final act as an outgoing officer is to facilitate the transition of office so that your successor can hit the ground running.

This process is relatively simple, especially if you kept things in order while in office. There are three basic steps:

  1. Take inventory
  2. Transfer assets
  3. Meet with your successor.

Take Inventory

It is both important and necessary to hand over materials from an office to the successor. In order to do this right, you need to take inventory of what you have that you need to hand over. A great resource for this is the New Hire Checklist (please see below), which also lays out the items that a departing ST needs to hand over.

The easiest way to ensure that most office assets are properly inventoried and get transferred is to have a Gmail account dedicated to the office. This can link to Google docs, where you can manage reports, NPCs, plotkits and the like.

Other online services can also help with this if you don’t wish to use Gmail. Hotmail, Yahoo, and mail.com all offer free email. Dropbox can function as an online file storage with folders you can share if you don’t like Google Docs.

Not everything will fit neatly into online services like Gmail; you will possibly still have some files on your computer. You may also have some papers stacked in a shoebox; even in this day and age where you can store [nearly] everything electronically, some things just stay on dead trees.

Common assets for an office include:

  • Office Email Address: It is often very helpful to have a separate email address associated with an office – the NST office recommends that all STs have an official Email address separate from the ST’s personal Email. This makes transferring assets very easy as it will have all emails from the officer’s term in office. It will also often already be associated with the necessary email lists. Finally, it helps the players out since they won’t have to change the email address to which they send things.
  • Current and Completed Plotkits and NPCs: It is important that these are transferred to help maintain chronicle continuity; even if the new officer does not make use of them, they are still on hand to reference when the inevitable player questions arise.
  • Character Sheets & Backgrounds: These should be in the Approvals Database, and ensuring the incoming officer has correct access to the database can satisfy this requirement unless there are additional paper copies.
  • Setting Materials & Chronicle History: One of the most important and forgotten assets is the setting material for the office. Even if just a simple timeline was maintained, it allows future office holders to go back through and reference just what actually happened in the past should questions come up. It also allows future office holders to build upon your work, maintaining continuity in chronicle.
  • Copies of all Reports Filed and those Filed by Previous Officer Holder: You should keep copies of all of your reports in some document form – again, Google Docs or Dropbox work well for this.  In addition, the incoming officer should have access to all prior reports of the office.
  • Investigations and Disciplinary Actions: These need to be transferred so that future officers are aware of what has happened in case there is a pattern of behavior that needs to be corrected.
  • Task List: Make a list of items that are high priority or that your successor will immediately encounter, such as ongoing elections or investigations.

It is best if files, both electronic and physical, are sorted by folders or labels so that your successor isn’t lost looking at it.

Transfer Assets

If you have taken proper inventory, then transferring assets is easy. Give your successor the password to the email account associated with the office. This should transfer nearly all assets.

If you have additional electronic files, you can email them, put them on a flash drive, upload them to Dropbox, or use any other known method to get them to your successor. It can be a good idea to archive them with Winrar or similar to easier transfer.

Hardcopies should similarly be transferred; though, they will require snail mail or an in person meeting with your successor, which naturally brings us to our next step.

Meet with your Successor

The final step is meeting with your successor. You can sit down with them over coffee, Skype, IRC, phone or really just about way you can manage. The point of having a meeting is to make sure the two of you open and maintain dialog regarding any issues that your successor should be aware of. If you transferred all the assets (something for which this meeting can also be used for), then your successor is probably inundated with information. Optimally, this meeting gives you the opportunity to provide them with a road map highlighting high priority items and providing a brief explanation of each to prime your successor. At the same time it gives your successor an opportunity to ask questions about anything regarding the office.

It is important to realize that your first meeting  won’t necessarily be your last. As issues arise or as your successor gnaws at current ones, they may approach you for information and/or advice.