When the Project Ends: How to Ensure a Smooth Hand-off

When the Project Ends: How to Ensure a Smooth Hand-off
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    You hired the right expert, they were a great fit, they did the work you needed, and now the project is done…. What now? When the project ends, there are still some things to consider.

    Compared to ongoing consulting or retainers, the end of a project is the easiest and most natural close to an external agency or expert relationship. Usually there’s a final meeting and handoff. But what if there isn’t? Or what if you have questions or issues come up after the engagement? And sometimes, one project naturally leads into another project, which can be great—as long as the first project gets cleanly wrapped up.

    Listen to Season 2: Episode 21

    What to Think About as the Project Ends

    Hiring an expert means that you can call on them for guidance from start to finish. As the client, you want to have thought through what might come after the project is complete. Are there ongoing tasks your team is now responsible for? How is the asset created by this project going to be used?

    As you’ve heard me say at least once an episode this season, the purpose of hiring an expert is to grow, improve, or add capacity. To fully capitalize on that purpose, the handoff of the work when the project ends is a critical bridge to capturing the value created.

    Project Close Checklist

    To ensure a smooth hand-off of the work and ability to not only retain, but also build on the work that’s been done, here’s a quick checklist you can use at the close of a project.

    • Ask the expert how it wraps up. There’s nothing like calling on the experience of someone who has done this before. Some external agencies will have this mapped out already, others…not so much. So ask the question.
    • Figure out what you need to be successful post-project. Every organization and team have nuances and unique aspects to the way they work. Think through yours and determine what is needed to ensure you can maximize what you are being handed.
    • Documentation. It is common to receive some kind of user guide, project reference, or documentation. Find out from your expert what that will be and then see what might be needed to match that up with the way the organization will use the information. Sometimes, this is as simple as determining the right recipient for the info.
    • Will you need more help? As a project ends, it is not unexpected that you determine you need additional help or assistance with ongoing tasks related to the project. Hopefully, the expert has this on their agenda but be sure to discuss these needs.

    Closing out a project can feel like a major milestone and big accomplishment. Keep that “we did it” glow going into the next week by taking 10 minutes to walk through the checklist and schedule the wrap-up and handoff meeting to make sure the I’s are dotted and T’s crossed.

    Prepare Yourself for Success with a Smooth Transition

    When your project ends, you’ll set yourself and your team up for success by officially closing it out. When you do, you’ll notice that the end feels clean and easy, you have what you need when you go to use the work the expert did, and that it is pleasant to re-engage with the expert if you need them again.

    Stay Tuned for More Helpful Information

    Easy and natural ends to relationships are great and what we want, but that’s not always how it goes down. In the next episode of Leverage Your Spark we’re going to talk about the elephant in the room, the unexpected client-expert breakup (aka, somebody gets fired).

    Wondering how to put this information into action? I’d love to answer your questions about using experts, websites, smart business, and technology. I host a monthly roundtable conversation where you can personally connect with me for answers. All you have to do is show up. Get the next one on your calendar by visiting my site!

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