How to Perfect the Project Handover Process in 5 Easy Steps
Handover documents detail the essential information someone would need in order to take over key responsibilities for completing a project. Handoff documents are useful when organizing a project handover to a client, different department or contractor, shifting to a different position or project, or making sure your responsibilities are covered while you’re away from the office. Use this step-by-step guide to prepare your project handover documents, easily.
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Your guide to perfecting the project handover process in 5 easy steps
Project handover documents detail all the key information someone would need in order to cover your major responsibilities. Handoffs may be used in a variety of situations, including organizing a project handover to a client, passing a project onto a different department or contractor, shiting to a different position or project or ensuring your responsibilities are covered while you’re out of the office.
Handoff documents help align whoever is taking over the project with the work that needs to be done. Particularly, they allow you to:
- Create a master checklist and information hub for all of your important projects.
- Set clear expectations when handing a project off to a team member, client or external stakeholder.
- Align everyone involved in completing a project and keep them updated throughout the process.
This tool is intended to collaborative to help your marketing, sales, and product teams align goals with the work that needs to be done to reach them.
1. Define clear project goals and expectations
Create a header that includes your company branding, the project name. Define clear dates for the handover and important milestones. You should also include a brief project overview to explain the project scope: what the main goal of the project is, what key deliverables are needed, ongoing tasks and other background information.
Providing a clear outline, goals and deliverables sets clear expectations while explaining the level of involvement needed once you hand the project onto the next team. Remember, this document will serve as a master checklist and information hub for stakeholders taking over the project moving forward – you’ll need to detail all aspects of the project that are critical to your project handover document’s success.
2. Identify and manage key stakeholders, including both your team and the group who will be taking the project over
Get started on your project handover as soon as you can, and make sure you tell stakeholders, both on your team and the team you’re handing off the project to, that you’ll be handing off the project soon.
You’ll need to introduce main points of contact on both sides and give everyone enough time to adjust their work and plan accordingly to take this new project on. Designate each stakeholder and their role – you can even add contact information for each person as needed.
3. Clearly communicate the project details, tasks and deliverables
The benefits and deliverables must be measurable and communicable from the start. Ask why are we doing this project and how will we know when it is done?
Keep in mind that tasks and deliverables won’t get done if they aren’t assigned. Assign each milestone, task, deliverable to its appropriate contact so everyone is held responsible.
When creating your project outcomes section, prioritize important activitites to make sure everyone is aligned. In most cases, the project manager stepping in for you will be able to help you assign tasks to the appropriate contacts on their team.
QUICK TIP: Along with the table created in Xtensio’s project handover template, you can add task list modules you to update the status of each item and keep track on the live document as the project moves along so all stakeholders can maintain visibility into what’s in progress, what’s next and what’s completed. Change statuses as you go and share the link to keep both your marketing team and management always on the same page.
4. Outline potential risks and roadblocks beforehand so change management issues can be handled efficiently
This section should explain any risks or potential risks you forsee on the horizon of this project, or in the process of handing the project over. You can add these to the comments section in the project outcomes table, or add a new section at the bottom of the template to add more detailed notes.
5. Develop appropriate training and guidance for the group taking over the project, or ensure that the handover notes include thorough instructions
Once you structure your project handover plan with all the details and requirements, along with issues and challenges, you’ll want to organize a meeting with the new project manager, or main point of contact, so you can discuss the plan in detail.
Walking stakeholders through the project handoff document will allow you to discuss the project goals, what you’ve achieved so far and what’s on the roadmap ahead. Make sure you clearly highlight important deadlines and milestones so that everyone is on the same page before you hand the project over and move on. This conversation will also help you uncover holes in your process and better plan for the next one.
Share your project handover document as a link, review and improve the project handoff process
The project handover document is interactive and meant to be updated as tasks and input items evolve. Loop in members of your team and stakeholders on the team you’re passing the project off to so you can update statuses, tasks and notes as the project progresses. You can share the public link to your folio to share it as a responsive webpage (and add password protection), export a PDF and post it on your bulletin board. The project handover template is adaptable just like other Xtensio tools, it can and should be repurposed, revisited, and revised regularly.