The art of nailing handing over
Handing over projects is a key part of any consultant’s work. Any time you start a new project or secondment, you know it will come to an end sooner or later.
What makes good consultants stand out is their ability to think ahead, understand the scope of work they have been brought in to do, and prepare projects and teams to transition seamlessly once that work has been delivered.
I think the most important thing to do to ensure a smooth handover, is to keep in mind the temporary nature of your role. This in turn means organisation and structure is key: keeping your communication high, your filing and document storage streamlined, and focus on upskilling people around you.
It’s often worthwhile having someone from the client-side be your standing CC or shadow as much as possible, to provide complete visibility of your work. Another thing to be mindful of is keeping all material up to date and available to clients in centralised drives – do not save anything locally!
Once you’re approaching the end of a project, it’s time to start having regular face to face meetings to handover and go over any questions or clarifications needed. Follow this up with a written handover that includes project information, hyperlinks to files, saved key correspondence, community and team contacts.
Consider having the client operate as though you have left for a week before you actually sign off as a litmus test for the effectiveness of the handover (you can spend this time closing out loose ends or working on a discreet piece for the business to ensure you continue contributing while on the books).
A standing offer to answer any questions that might come out of the written handover for optimum handover is a given.
Lastly, don’t forget to let everyone know you’re moving on and who the alternative contact is!