You can’t hold the client’s hand forever, eventually they need to be setup with the tools and the knowledge to be self-sufficient. Handing off a project to the client is no small task, it essentially requires slowly disseminating all the latest information (status, issues, backlogs, etc.) to the client. Such procedures often gets referred to as “mind-melding” in my workplace.
The most important thing is to make sure that this hand-off is as thorough as can be. Everything from email records, meeting notes, and any materials that are associated with the project’s development need to be assimilated (Curnow, 2003). This is where good file-keeping habits really pay-off. When handing off a software project, it is also particularly important to hand over the pre-compiled files to the client. Obviously that includes the source-code, but it also entails graphics, videos, pictures, or any other kinds of media that are incorporated into the finished product, so that the client can easily hand-off the project to another developer in the future (Curnow, 2003). The goal is to make sure that the client does not have to be dependent upon you after this hand-off is 100% complete, unless otherwise agreed upon.
Communication is a big part of these hand-offs, both parties need to understand what the other’s role will be during the transition period and after the transition period. Will be involved with any kind of maintenance or future upgrades to the software? Will the contractor provide any kind of training for the client? These are the kinds of questions that should be brought up when the transition is being planned. It is recommended to make these hand-off periods take place over a period of time, a rushed hand-off is just asking for trouble down the line. Taking the transition slowly will ensure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to an end.
The big risk at the end of the hand-off, especially for software, is the possibility of something going wrong afterwards. If a major bug is found within a software product after it has been handed off, the client needs to have all the materials they need to either get their in-house developers on the job or hire another contractor to the deal with it. Either of those options require that the client has things like source code, documentation, a list of known issues, meeting notes, or anything else that could give the new developer insight into the inner-workings of the software so that they can pick up where the previous developer left off.
Agile Lifecycle [Image]. Retrieved November 16, 2014, from: http://bit.ly/15MbQoA
Baton Handoff [Image]. Retrieved November 16, 2014, from: http://bit.ly/1pF6unX
Curnow, B. (2003). Handing over and moving on. The International Guide to Management Consultancy: The
Evolution, Practice and Structure of Management Consultancy Worldwide, 1, 227.
Ferris, B. (2012, June 7). How to Hand Off a Project Successfully. Retrieved November 17, 2014, from