Handing off a project to a client; what are the risks and challenges?


As the project comes to an end , hopefully I can look back with a lot of satisfaction at how we overcame a lot of obstacles and got your team to pull together even when we weren’t sure how it was all going to end up.(Ferris,2012,para 1).

Having a checklist of items to be taken care of during the handover will be greatly helpful in smooth transition. The first step being identifying and managing key stakeholders including the group who will receive the handover. The other important things to keep in mind for a smooth transition are :


1. Have a clear picture of the End Product

What exactly do you see the future for your new process or system as being? You may have been immersed in it for so long that you have forgotten to view it in this way. It is important that you give this some thought, as the business stakeholders you will be handing it over to may have some last minute questions in this respect. Near the end of the project life cycle you should start seeing things from the end user’s point of view if you haven’t been doing so already. This will help you spot if there is anything which you have missed or which might not be clear for them. Some trial runs or proving cycles could come in handy, to give you the final assurance that you are handing off something which is 100% right. (Ferris,2012,para 3).

2. A clear date for handover of the project:

The project you are about to unleash on the business could result in some major changes for them. This means that you need to be 100% clear around when it is going to be handed over. Even if the milestones have slipped you need to let people know when you now estimate getting everything completed. Handing off a project to the surprise of the stakeholders or not doing so when they expect it is one of the worst ways to end a project. If you are providing regular updates then this shouldn’t be a problem at all.(Ferris,2012,para 4).

3. A communication plan that starts early in the life of the project and includes the target group

Although the project close-out and handover are typically the final phase of the project this does not mean that the relevant activities should only commence when the previous stage is complete. Instead, processes have to be completed as the project progresses through the earlier stages and be ready for handover as soon as the work is complete. (Rosenhead,2009, para 4).

4. Developing appropriate training and documentation for this group 

Training the staff who are affected by your work can be one of the most unexpectedly rewarding parts of the whole affair. When you first start off you might not think too much about this aspect of the work but it will soon make itself clear. In fact, much of the future success of your project depends upon the ends users knowing how to use the process or the system you have been working on. The sooner you grasp the size of the training you need to do the better, as it is usually a far bigger task then it initially appears to be.  You also need to leave them the full documentation need to move things forward.(Ferris,2012,para 5).

5. Get the Sign Off

You will want to complete some sort of end of project report when you are wrapping things up. Here we will outline the achievements, what has been learnt and anything which has been identified or left behind for a future project. Most importantly, you will want to get this whole document signed off by the stakeholders.  This is the proof that everyone understands what has and hasn’t been done. Once this is signed off then they are basically agreeing that your work is done and that they are happy to accept what you have given them. Best way would be to organize a meeting of all of the interested parties in order to go over everything in detail and ensure that there are no doubts from anyone about what has been done.(Ferris,2012,para 7).

Apart from the above things it is also important to take care of -(Rosenhead,2009, para 4).

• Getting the target group involved as early as possible including someone being on the project team who also acts as a change agent
• 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 organizing the training, it could be their responsibility

Once the above things are taken care of for a smooth handover of your project lets see some of the Risks and Challenges in doing so include(Carson,2014,para 13).

  • The customer being not satisfied about the end product
  • Missing deadlines and frequent change in requirements will result in delayed delivery date.
  • Improper Risk mitigation plans
  • Cost vs Schedule problems

It is important to take care of all these items for a smooth transition of the project to the customer in order to not ruin all the hard work at this late by not thinking through the hand-off properly.

References :

1. Carson,R.(2014).Project close-out and handover – a general overview. 2020 business insight. Retrieved from http://2020projectmanagement.com/2013/02/project-close-out-and-handover-a-general-overview/

2. Karlins,D. & Sahlin,D. (2014).How to handoff a project to a client.For Dummies. Retrieved from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-hand-off-a-project-to-a-client.html

3. Rosenhead,R.(Febraury,2009).Where’s the project handover plan. Project agency. Retrieved from http://www.ronrosenhead.co.uk/272/wheres-the-project-handover-plan/

4. Ferris,B(June,2012).How to hand Off a project Successfully.CobaltPM. Retrieved from cobaltpm.com/project-hand-off/

5. img src Retrieved from http://founderfuel.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/handoff.jpg


One thought on “Handing off a project to a client; what are the risks and challenges?

  1. I like how you use a lot of information but I think you should add some examples to back up your claims. Maybe adding some of your own personal situations will give a great example to look at. Also, you should try to state how this applies to you. Maybe you should refer to our project that we’re currently working on to help give us something to tie all this information into. Overall, I like how you split the information into different category which makes it easier to read.


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