Project Handover Process: 11 Key Activities


The aim of the project handover process is to hand over a project to a new project manager to ensure that it gets completed in time. A transition happens and the project is assigned to another project manager. The project handover could happen as a result of the current project manager having an emergency to take care of, or having to soon go for retirement. The project manager could also have had a transfer to another department or branch, and therefore need for a new project manager to see the project through.

The process of handing over a project is not an easy task, and shouldn’t be perceived to be easy. It involves much more than handing over office keys and software access details. It is therefore important to ensure that the person taking over the project is in the best condition to continue the project and successfully accomplish its goals. The objects of project handover process are to:

  • To ensure the project yields the same results and achieved the goals set out.
  • To ensure that the stakeholders and the clients are fully satisfied.
  • To establish the project’s current status.
  • To establish at which point the new project manager is to take over.
  • To formulate the transition from the current project manager to the new project manager.
  • To introduce the new project manager to the project team, stakeholders and the client.

The scope of the project handover process encompasses steps that ensure smooth transitioning so that project activities continue uninterrupted even after a new project manager takes over the project. Thus, the scope of the handover process entails:

  • Preparing the project status report
  • Filing in the project handover checklist
  • Briefing new project manager on project details and introducing him to the project team, the client, and project stakeholders
  • Completing outstanding documents and activities
  • Handing over project document and files
  • Signing off  the project handover checklist
Project Handover Process Flow Chart

1.    Instruction for Handover to new Project Manager

The instruction for handover to new project manager indicates the beginning of the project handover process. It lays out the instructions to be followed during the transition process to a new project manager. The project management office (PMO) evokes the project handover process when the need for transition of the project from one project manager to another arises. During this process, the project management office (PMO) establishes the instructions to guide the transition of the project from the current project manager to a new project manager.

2.   Prepare Project Status Report

The aim of the prepare project status report process is to establish a status report for the project up to the point of time where the handover is being carried out. It therefore explains the status of the project in relation to the start-up documentation. The outgoing project manager prepares the project status report so that the successor would know what has so far been accomplished in relation to the set out objectives for the project, and where to pick up from. This helps the new project manager to know where to start, and what goals he has to accomplish. Thus, the work of the project manager at this phase is to prepare a project status report to show the current status of the project. Besides, the outgoing project manager advises the new project manager on the next steps to be taken on the project.

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3.   Fill In Project Handover Checklist

The purpose of the fill in project handover checklist process is to create a checklist of all important things that are to be managed during the handover. This ensures that there is nothing left out during the whole handover process. The project manager fills in the handover checklist to ensure that everything is handed over at the right time to ensure a smooth transition.

Checklists are always very useful as they summarize actions and timeline of events that would have otherwise been complicated to explain. They are therefore a crucial support in the handing over of a project between project managers. The project manager fills in a checklist for all actions to be undertaken alongside their timelines in the project handover process. The project handover checklist is the output document in this phase.

4.    Brief new PM on Project Details

The brief new project manager on project details phase aims to debrief the new project manager on all details in regards to the project. The project manager brings the new project manager up to speed on all matters on the project to ensure that the new project manager is well informed on all matters. This helps the new project manager to understand the whole project better.

Several actions are required during this phase. The project manager lists all the people working on the project alongside their roles, skills, and competencies. He informs the new project manager on the work environment such as the passwords, keys, and key card among others. The project manager informs the new project manager on the technical or practical dependencies involved in the project. He informs the new project manager on how long the handover will take and gives a list of all important contacts for the project, and the frequency of communication with each contact and their topics of discussion.

5.   Review Project Handover Checklist

Purpose: The purpose on the review project handover checklist is to review the checklist prepared by the project manager for the project handover process. The new project manager reviews the project handover checklist to ensure that it incorporates all the things required for the handover. This ensures that there are no important things left out during the project handover. The new project manager goes through the project handover checklist prepared by the project manager to ensure it includes all the necessary aspects.



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6.    Introduce new PM to Project Team

The purpose of introduce new project manager to project team process is to introduce the new project manager to the project team as they are expected to work together. The project manager introduces the new project manager to the project team. This ensures that the project manager is well acquainted with the whole project team. Thus, during this process, the new project manager gets to know the members of the project team that he will be working with for the remaining phases of the project.

7.    Introduce new PM to Client and Project Stakeholders

This is a critical phase in the project handover process because the new project manager familiarizes himself with the client as well as the project stakeholders. This is important because a project manager does not work in isolation during the project lifecycle. Rather, he is in continuous communication and engagement with the stakeholders to ensure their expectations and concerns are met and addressed accordingly. Thus, the process ensures that the new project manager is well acquainted with the clients and the stakeholders.

Related Articles:

  1. Project Initiation Process: 6 Key Activities
  2. Project Planning Process: 7 Key Activities
  3. Project Execution Process: 8 Key Activities
  4. Project Monitoring and Control Process: 10 Key Activities
  5. Project Closing Process: 8 Key Activities
  6. Risk Management Process: 11 Key Activities
  7. Quality Management Process: 9 Key Activities
  8. Change Control Process: 8 Key Activities
  9. Issue Management Process: 9 Key Activities

8.    Start the Transition Process Gradually

The purpose of the start the transition process gradually is to transfer the project manager from the outgoing project manager to the new project manager. This transition happens slowly with the new project manager taking up their new role step by step. The project manager conducts the transition by gradually transferring the project to the new project manager. Smooth transition of project processes and operations is very important as it guarantees that nothing goes wrong during the handover process.

The purpose of this phase is to determine when the transition has been completely and successfully done. This is to ensure that everything is in order and nothing has been left out. The new project manager determines when the transition process has been successful.

If the new project manager finds the handover to be incomplete, he refers back to the project manager so that the outstanding documents or activities should be completed.

If the handover process is complete, the process moves to the next phase. The new project manager evaluates the whole handover process to determine whether that process is complete or not. Besides, he identifies any outstanding activities for completion.

9.   Handover Project Document/Files

The purpose of the handover project document and files is to transfer the project documents and files from the outgoing project manager to the new project manager. The project manager hands over all documents and files for the project in his custody to the new project manager. This ensures that the new project manager acquires all the important documents and files, and therefore a smooth take over. Thus, the entire project documentation is handed over to the new project manager.

10. Sign-off Project Handover Checklist

The purpose of the sign-off project handover checklist is to approve the handover checklist prepared by the project manager. The new project manager approves handover checklist for the project.  This shows that the handover of the project has been successful. Thus, the new project manager is expected to approve the project handover checklist and approve that the transition process was successfully.

11. Handover process Complete

The handover process complete phase indicates that the project handover process has been completed.

Conclusion

The project handover process is very pivotal in the project lifecycle because it may make or break a project success. By adhering to the steps in this process, projects will run smoothly even when new project managers take over.

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