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How do you hand over an industrial project? Tips and tricks

“I should have started with this earlier…”

That’s what people often say when working on the final handover files of their project. Handover coordination is all about finishing up a project according to the expectations of your end user.

The process of handover coordination should start in an early stage of your project. When defining the outcome of your project, you automatically define the criteria by which the end user will have to accept your project on a technical or performance level. But don’t forget to do the same on the documentation level! In fact, it all comes down to Stephen Covey’s second principle: ‘Begin with the end in mind’. What performance do you want to achieve? Which documents should be delivered by what time?

At a certain point in your project, you will have to start tracking the flow of documents. With a document list that is already approved, you can easily start ticking them off. Each document requires three ticks:

  1. one to verify the document was issued

  2. one to verify that its content was checked and approved

  3. and a last one to make sure it was acknowledged by the end user

Besides beginning with the end in mind, there are some other interesting things to remember:

  1. It is important that all the document deliverables are determined before even starting to send out a request for quotation (RFQ) to any supplier. Incorporating these deliverables allows you to put a final payment milestone to it, which then is clearly defined from the start.

  2. Make sure that the owners of the actions are people within your project team or organization. Do not put the name of a supplier! Either you will need to identify a person who will take the responsibility to receive the document or worse, you will have to ask for it yourself.

  3. The issuing person and reviewing person can be the same one. In most cases, the SPOC of a supplier will be responsible for both, as he or she is the key person in the subject.

  4. Acknowledging is often done by the end users. By involving them early on in the documentation part of the handover process, you create the awareness that the final handover is coming. You also create the opportunity to align with handover expectations – what can the end user really expect? This will also trigger any internal preparations the user still has to make.

  5. Make sure there is enough time between the three tasks listed above. It simply takes time to chase contracting parties for documentation (it is not their favorite part of the project either). It also takes time to verify the content or acknowledge and communicate about it. Keep in mind that the deadline by which the document should be acknowledged is related to your commissioning plan. So, start early enough with making the commissioning plan and gathering all the documents.

  6. Make the job pleasant for the people involved. How? As a coordinator, you should split the work into little steps. Make the people involved reserve 1 hour a week to work on this documentation part. This way, they will not be suddenly faced with a pile of documents to process. In the end, they will even have enjoyed the process and the progress they see in your weekly reports.

You have read our tips and tricks. Now think about your current project. Where are you at? Remember that preparation is key. Perhaps you should write a few more things on your to do list…

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