11 Best Practices To Complete A Project Handover Successfully

Editorial Team

project handover tips

Handing over a project to new project manager can be due to various reasons. Maybe you have an emergency or perhaps your retirement is near. In these cases, it is important to hand over a project to another project manager to get it completed on time. Now, handing over a project is not an easy task and it should not be taken as a simple one either.

To make sure that stakeholders and clients are satisfied, and that the project yields same fruitful results, there are many factors and aspects that have to be taken into consideration. Following are some best practices that will help project managers to complete a project handover successfully:

1. Formulate A Plan For Handover

As the handover cannot happen overnight, there has to be a complete plan for it. It is better to create a formal document that lays out how the project will be handed over. Which details are to be transferred to the new project manager? What equipment and budget is going to be given in hands of new project manager? What is the progress so far? From which position will the new project manager take on the project?

All of these essentials should be included in a plan. Also, which things are going to be handed over first and which will be given later on also needs to be included.

In short, make sure you document all these process so that there is no risk of forgetting something later on. It can also be done by simply formulating a checklist that includes which important things are delivered and what is left.

2. Carefully Go Through The Details That Need To Be Transferred

While formulating the plan, it is really important to look into all the details that need to be transferred. Some of the important details can be:

Contact list – A new project manager must have the contact information of all the stakeholders and all the people working on the project. It might also include all the relevant people that may be need to complete the project later on.

Project scope – The scope of project must be added in the details. This might include how frequently the services are delivered to the client, what the due dates are, how many have been met and how much work is left.

Background information – The background information of the project must include the complete information of the client and stakeholders. It can include the preferences, priorities, likes/dislikes, targeted audience and several other factors the client gives importance to.

3. Identify The Current Progress And Issues Of The Project If Any

Before handing over the project, it is necessary to analyze the current status of the project. You must be up-to-date on the resources, resource plan, budget analysis, forecast, delivery reports and sales record to identify the current progress of the project.

Moreover, make sure you identify all the existing issues and challenges, if there are any. It is fine to not reach a solution in this short period of time, but at least the ongoing issues must be assessed in addition to the current progress and statistics of the project.

In this way, the new project manager can directly start working from where you left off, instead of starting the project from the scratch again.

4. Organize A Meeting With New Project Manager To Discuss The Plan

Once you formulate a plan with all the details and required data as well as the issues, challenges and current progress of the project, organize a meeting with the new project manager.

It will help you two getting on-board with the project and discuss what the project aims at, what it has achieved so far and what remains to be achieved. It is your duty to give an insight into the project to new project manager. As no one understands the project better than you, you must brief the new project manager to make the task easy and efficient for him.

It is also important to make due dates clear right at this point to avoid any hassle later on. 

5. Start Your Transition Process Gradually

The transition process should be done gradually. It is not something that is possible overnight and it shouldn’t be either.

What you can do is to break off the transition into smaller parts and then cover the entire process in a week or two. This helps everyone in the team to take an easy start into their new tasks, rather than an overnight change of plan.

Another important point that can help is to add in the new project manager in calls or meetings with client and in the email threads, so he can have a good idea of what has to be done in what way. Receiving and understanding small bits of information will help the new project manager to know the project inside out. In this way, the project you started off won’t go to waste.

6. Make a checklist for details that were to be transferred

Once the transition process starts, do not forget to make a checklist for it. It will help you stay on track with the details that are already transferred and the details that are left. Make sure you add the details like amount of budget utilized, sales record, deliveries record and due dates in the checklist and then tick them once they are completely transferred.

Checklists serves as reminders. With so much on your mind, you might forget something important. Making a checklist is one of the best practices in a project handover and it will ease the task for you, your team and the new project manager.

7. Keep The Client Up-To-Date As Well

One of the most important practice is to keep the client updated. The client must know following points:

  • The reason for handing over the project.
  • Who will be running the project now?
  • Whom he can contact in case of any query or emergency?
  • Which project details have already been transferred and which are left?

You can then assure him that the project is in safe hands. This helps in building a good working relationship with the client.

8. Meet Project Stakeholders Along With New Project Manager

Stakeholders are another significant part of the project. The new project manager must know what are the aims, objectives and expectations of stakeholders from the project. It can help him sett his priorities and schedules according to that.

Also, this allows stakeholders to clear their confusions, ask questions, and raise doubts. Once you satisfy them with your answers, the new project manager will be able to kick off the project with the support of stakeholders.

9. Introduce New Project Manager To The Project Team

The new project manager has to be introduced to the entire team as well. They must know who will be leading them from now on. Introduce the team to the new project manager and letting him know the areas of expertise, strengths and weaknesses of each team member. This will help him in leading the team effectively and to figure out if anyone in the team needs a change in position. This will contribute in making the project produce good outputs. 

10. Suggest Some Steps For The New PM To Take Initially

Once the project is transferred, it is the responsibility of the new project manager. However, before that, you must suggest some steps that will assist him in getting to the project. As you have already added new project manager in the emails, meetings and other communications, he will have a good idea of how you were handling the project.

Following steps can help at the beginning:

  • Making a schedule of deliveries according to due dates.
  • Meeting with the team on weekly basis to discuss the progress.
  • Identifying the technical or monetary needs and requirements before continuing the project.
  • Finding workable solutions to the existing issues and challenges.

Once the new project manager knows where to start with, managing the project will not be difficult for him.

11. Always Stay Available For Support If New Project Manager Needs Any

Despite the fact that your task is done once the project is handed over, it is recommended to be available for the new project manager if he needs your support. There might be some aspects he cannot understand, such as organization management processes or issues he encounters later on. In this scenario, your support can help him excel as well as achieve the project handover targets.

Moreover, it will be helpful for your team and they will highly appreciate it. This is an effective way to get those individuals involved in the project who are stressed or are not willing to accept the change.

So, these are some best practices that make a project handover happen successfully between the current and incoming project manager. They will not only make the handover process easy, but also help in getting a better output – which your client and stakeholders will undoubtedly appreciate.