Handover Should be a Handshake, Not a Checklist

Handover Should be a Handshake, Not a Checklist

Daniel Wright

Daniel Wright

Managing Director, Kerv Consult|Kerv Consult

As an experienced IT programme manager, Dan has first-hand experience of taking strategic objectives, turning them into clear, well-defined programmes and delivering them in a controlled way.

Published 02/08/23 under:

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Everywhere you go, you hear operations teams complaining about projects ‘being thrown over the fence’ or project teams complaining about ‘nothing being good enough for BAU’. There seems to be a huge misalignment between projects and the operations teams.

This tension was one of the key drivers of the DevOps phenomenon and this works brilliantly for many organisations, but a lot are not ready to make the leap and invest in the cultural change needed to deliver in a DevOps fashion. Read this for a good Amazon write-up on what DevOps is.

Often Project teams can ‘follow the process’ for handover to service, complete all activities that are specified on the checklist, yet when it comes time for a handover, the Operations team are hesitant to take accountability.

We have found great success by framing this differently…

Our Approach

Our Project Managers set out to agree a handshake with the Operations teams. We do this using the following approach:

  • We engage Ops very early into the project (pre-baseline) and hold a scoping session.
  • We use the ‘handover checklist’ for whichever customer we are supporting as the basis of this discussion. (FYI, we are a friendly bunch, feel free to ask us to send you our own handover checklist using our contact form if you think it could help you. No strings!)
  • We agree what is needed by Ops, both things on the checklist and also anything required that is not on that list. We also agree the things on the checklist which are not relevant and get agreement that they will not be delivered.
  • If there is significantly more needed than was planned or allowed for, we can have a conversation extremely early into the project about priorities, approach or if needed discuss with the sponsor to bring the new items into scope. As this is an early conversation before ‘anything has been spent’ it is usually welcome and treated like an extension of the planning. Don’t leave this too late!
  • We then ensure alignment of expectations… the project will deliver the agreed items and the ops team will support handover as per the plan. By following this process we reframe this from a conflict, to a collaboration.
  • We include the Ops and BAU teams in the project. We invite them to support the delivery and we hold regular engagement sessions with the teams to ensure that they know what is coming and when. This ensures that we are joined up and supports seamless transition.

For the past several years, we have been working well with Ops and BAU teams to ensure that we handover, not throw-over and have seen great success from this.

Please give it a try and let us know how you get on!

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