Where’s the project handover plan

Over the last 6 months I have spoke to a number of people and groups who have had really negative comments about the way a project has been handed to them – the project becomes the other teams (or persons) day job.

One person suggested that handover was a polite term. They had a project “thrown” at them, last minute, little detail and no budget to ensure they could deliver it.

I decided to ask some project course participants what plans they had in place for handing over a project (so that it becomes someone else day job). Very few had such plans.

During one of these training events we developed a brief checklist of what could be included:

• identifying and managing key stakeholders including the group who will receive the handover
• a clear date for handover of the project
• a communication plan that starts early in the life of the project and includes the target group
• change management issues and how these will be handled
• getting the target group involved as early as possible including someone being on the project team who also acts as a change agent
• developing appropriate training for this group or ensuring it is included in the handover plan
• clear risk management
• having clear roles for the recipients in the department taking on the new work e.g. it may not be your responsibility for organising the training, it could be their responsibility

Your project handover checklist will no doubt be different having more project specific items. It does however reflect the need to develop a plan that works for your project and for the group taking on this new piece of work.

A couple of course participants took a different approach. They saw handover as one of the stages of the project, had someone manage that particular aspect. They involved stakeholders and staff from the appropriate areas. The stage was seen as part of the overall project.

So next time you are working on a project; is a handover plan appropriate? If yes, have you taken key stakeholders along with you and are you managing all the change management requirements?

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5 Responses to Where’s the project handover plan

  1. Ron, I applaud you drawing attention to handovers.

    An item I would add to the list is to build in a transition period where the old owner becomes a member of the new project team – acting as a mentor to the new PM. Organisations I have worked at have the notion of a shadow PM to cover vacations and unexpected absences.

  2. Ron says:

    I agree Pradeep. Putting a strong team together is really important and putting someone in as a shadow is an excellent idea.


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