Handover Checklist: Essential Steps for Closing a Project

The Keys to Effective Project Handover and Closure

Project management is not just about seeing a project through from start to finish. There is also the crucial final phase that involves the handing over of the completed project to the concerned parties and formally closing the project. Completing a project – great or otherwise – and bringing it to closure can be an exhausting process. However, the end of the project doesn’t necessarily spell the end of responsibilities for the project manager. Often, project managers find themselves entangled in a project well after its technical closure due to continuous queries and requests for help from the project stakeholders. This is avoidable with an effective handover process that guarantees a smooth transition from the project manager to the relevant team.

The Importance of Distinguishing Between Project Handover and Project Closure

Project handover and closure, although intertwined, serve distinct purposes in the project lifecycle. Closure marks the formal end of project work and encapsulates the entire project management process. It outlines what was accomplished compared to what was planned. The handover, on the other hand, is an integral part of achieving closure. It encompasses the transfer of completed deliverables and all relevant information, including the project’s background and context.

The handover process should not be seen as a single conclusive event but as a timely procedure, ensuring a seamless transition from the project to the operational environment. Aim for an incremental handover, sharing deliverables as they reach completion rather than waiting until the end of the project. This method not only reduces overwhelming the operational team but also ensures that they remain in sync with what is coming their way.

Effective Project Handover Steps

The task of handing over a project can be broken down into systematic steps for a thorough and efficient process.

Identifying the Recipient

The first step in the handover process is determining the recipient of the project. Ideally, this should be the project owner and their team. Provide a recap of the project to all involved, especially those who may not be familiar with the high-level overview. Plan for the handover from the project’s initiation, identifying the owners of each deliverable. Your project’s [RACI matrix](https://qamodo.com/solutions/project-management/) may aid in this process.

Identifying the Handover Items

Next, identify what you will be handing over. This generally includes completed deliverables and other pertinent project information. A handover document can help capture this information. This document, based on a standard handover plan template, serves as a roadmap for the knowledge transfer.

The handover should ideally include:

  • General project status and background
  • Scope items/deliverables
  • Schedule of remaining activity
  • Budget
  • Knowledge created during the project
  • Contact details
  • Contracts
  • System information
  • Benefits tracking.

Execution of the Handover

Once everything has been organized, the handover can be executed. This step involves meetings where you converse with the recipient about the project. Knowledge sharing sessions could be used during this phase to allow for queries from the recipient. Additionally, providing written handover documents could prove useful.

Providing Post-handover Support

After handing over the project, it’s good practice to remain available for queries — offering additional support and running a ‘hypercare’ phase, where you assist the new operational team with managing incoming queries and managing deliverables until they are comfortable assuming full responsibility. This is especially relevant if software deliverables are involved.

Embracing the End: Transitioning with Qamodo

Walking away from a project can bring about a considerable sense of achievement, particularly if the project turned out great, and you collaborated with an excellent team. Managing this transition effectively helps maintain the value of your work and sets up the operational team for success.

Embracing efficient project closure is a vital part of the project lifecycle. This includes maintaining transparent communication channels, setting clear expectations for handovers, and thorough record-keeping. The [Gantt & Kanban feature](https://qamodo.com/features/gantt-kanban/), for instance, is instrumental in visualizing project timelines during both the development and handover phases.

The art of project handover should also go beyond just transferring responsibilities to considering the practical needs of those who will use the output of the project. This includes addressing any changes to the technology made during the project and ensuring that proper training is available to those who will be using it. Qamodo’s user-friendly [project management tools](https://qamodo.com/solutions/project-management/) play a crucial part in ensuring that these changes are seamlessly implemented and well understood by all users.

Closing a project effectively signifies the completion of one journey and the start of the next. With Qamodo’s comprehensive [project management tools](https://qamodo.com/solutions/project-management/), project managers can readily achieve project closure, leaving a tidy project legacy behind to focus on the next venture.