12 Free Handover Document Templates & How to Write Project Handovers

Shreelekha Singh
November 9, 2022
min read
March 7, 2024
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Download 12 free handover document templates and learn how to write them effectively. Ensure seamless transfer of responsibilities with our handover document template guide.
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You’re transferring a project from one manager to another. Or maybe you’re welcoming a new employee to the team. How do you ensure the shift from before to after happens seamlessly? 

Simple — with a well-structured handover document template.

A handover document is a written record of daily tasks, details of ongoing projects, work schedules, deadlines, upcoming events and other crucial work information. This is an integral part of any knowledge management strategy that supports consistent and effective processes.

It's a comprehensive report of responsibilities that project managers use to transfer to incoming employees or teams.

Are you wondering which handover documents are important for your team? This list of handover document templates will cover all bases for you.  

Jump to a template:

  1. Project handover template
  2. Project handover checklist template
  3. Project checklist template
  4. Change management template
  5. Transition plan template
  6. Knowledge transfer template
  7. Employee offboarding template
  8. Method of Procedure Template
  9. Standard work template
  10. Construction site work instruction template
  11. Sales-to-customer-success handoff template
  12. Runbook template

TL;DR: Handover document templates

  • Handover documents are crucial for smooth transitions in a company, improving retention and engagement.
  • They include details of tasks, ongoing projects, deadlines, and other important work information.
  • Five essential elements of successful project handover documents are a complete responsibility set, a list of ongoing tasks, upcoming deadlines, learning resources, and key stakeholders.
  • To create a handover document, develop an action plan, define project goals and expectations, identify key stakeholders, document deliverables and timelines, consider potential risks, compile training resources, and transfer ownership of resources and knowledge.

What is a handover document?

Handover documents are written reports created by project managers, or employees leaving a company or changing their role.

They're a form of visual communication that documents the project team's:

  • Role, responsibilities and expectations.
  • Project workflows.
  • Status and progress.
  • Important milestones and deadlines.
  • Points of contact and key stakeholders.

Creating a transition plan ensures that whoever takes over has all of the information they need to continue ongoing projects, understand various processes and keep the business moving forward.

12 free handover document templates

Depending on the scope of the work, you might have different needs for your handoff document template.

Here are 12 handover templates you can try today!

‎Project‎ handover template

project handover template: Handover Document Template
Project handover template

‎A project handover plan is comprehensive, particularly when one or a group of employees hands over the project to another. To make sure the incoming team members understand the nitty-gritty of the project, this project handover template includes:

  • Project title and description: Brief project overview.
  • Project summary: Project goals, risks and assumptions.
  • Roles and tasks: Each role and task, the people responsible and deadlines.

‍👉 Try this project handover template for free.

‎Pr‎oject handover checklist template

Project handover checklist template
Project handover checklist template

Create a checklist with key information, documents and tasks that need to be completed with this free project handover checklist template, ensuring a smooth project transition.

  • Project overview and objectives.
  • Status.
  • Roles and responsibilities for tasks and deliverables.
  • Key contacts and stakeholders and contact information.
  • Known issues and challenges.
  • Resources and documentation.

‍👉 Try this project handover checklist template for free.

‎Pr‎oject checklist template

Project checklist template
Project checklist template

Use this project checklist template to outline the tasks, activities and milestones of the project lifecycle, setting your team up for a successful project handover.

  • Project goals, objectives and stakeholders.
  • Roles and responsibilities, project plan, budget, and deliverables.
  • Tasks, activities and milestones of the project lifecycle.
  • Progress report and schedule.
  • Project closure, approvals and stakeholder sign-offs.
  • Project documentation.

‍👉 Try this project checklist template for free.

‎Ch‎ange management template

Change Management plan template: Handover Document Template
Change management plan template

Change management means exactly how it sounds: the process of managing your employees through all types of organizational change — be it a change in processes, tools, or leadership.

Change management handover documentation helps teams with change management activity. Use this template to build change management SOPs to maintain consistency including:

  • Change management processes.
  • Role and responsibilities.
  • Communication plan.
  • Training plan.
  • Risk management plan.

‍👉 Try this change management template for free.

Check out our list of the top free change management software to guarantee easy transitions for your entire organization.

‎Tr‎ansition plan template

Transition plan template: Handover Document Template
Transition plan template

‎A transition plan template is designed to help you support offboarding one individual and handing off their responsibilities to another.

The template facilitates a seamless handover by assigning clear responsibilities, ensuring everything is accounted for, and minimizing disruptions.

This template includes:

  • Regular duties and responsibilities (broken down by year, month, week and day).
  • Outstanding projects.
  • Upcoming deadlines.
  • Contacts.
  • Communication plan.

‍👉 Try this transition plan template for free.

‎Kn‎owledge transfer template

Knowledge transfer SOP template

‎When an existing employee is leaving or you're onboarding a new employee, your knowledge transfer strategy plays a key role during personnel changes. One of the best ways to do this effectively is by using a well-structured knowledge handover plan or SOP template.

This standard operating procedure includes:

  • A blueprint of the knowledge being shared.
  • The owner and the recipient. 
  • Date, methods and objectives. 

‍👉 Try this free knowledge transfer SOP template for free.

Em‎ployee offboarding template

Employee Offboarding Template: Handover Document Template
Employee offboarding template

‎An employee offboarding template outlines the handover process and procedures for when an employee leaves a company.

This standardized guide supports leave management for when employees retire, resign or take extended leave.

The handover documentation will break down the company policies and procedures that the offboarding employee will need to follow, with a list of tasks they need to accomplish:

  • Detailed exit letter.
  • Details regarding the final paycheck, benefits information and exit interview.
  • Process breakdown.
  • Project handover instruction list.

‍👉 Try this employee offboarding template for free.

💡 Scribe tip: Create an employee offboarding checklist to manage employee departure consistently and securely.

‎Me‎thod of Procedure template

Method of Procedure: Handover Document Template
Method of Procedure template

‎A method of procedure (or MOP) template outlines process instructions in manufacturing, construction, and IT industries.

This template includes a(n):

  • Goal: What are the goals of this project?
  • Reference: Has our team done a project like this before? If yes, were the project documents stored for future use?
  • Methodology: Is there a standard project methodology that must be followed?
  • Stakeholders: Who are the key resources/stakeholders for this project?
  • Cost: How much will the project cost and what is the proposed budget?
  • Time: What is the timeline?
  • Communication: What communication do we need?
  • Quality: How will you ensure the quality of your project outcome?
  • Risk: The risks associated with this project and how you intend to tackle them.
  • Training: What training is required to build the necessary skills to complete the project?

‍👉 Try this method of procedure template for free.

‎St‎andard work template

Standard Work Template: Handover Document Template
Standard work template

‎A standard work template is best for assembly, production, safety, quality control and maintenance teams.

Still, while standard work is usually associated with manufacturing environments, it can also help office settings optimize their workflows to enhance performance.

This template includes a(n):

  • Introduction: A description of the task at hand.
  • Purpose of Task: Additional context and goals.
  • Instructions: A step-by-step account of the process.

‍👉 Try this standard work template for free.

‎Construction site work instruction template

Construction site work instruction template
Construction site work instruction template

‎This construction site work instruction template provides clear and detailed step-by-step procedures and instructions for construction project tasks, making handovers easy and seamless.

Use this template to improve your construction project procedures and:

  • Improve quality.
  • Enhance safety.
  • Increase efficiency.
  • Facilitate faster and smoother completion of construction project tasks.
  • Improve communication.
  • Ensure compliance.
  • Aid in record-keeping.

‍👉 Try this construction site work instruction template for free.

‎Sa‎les-to-customer-success-handoff template

Sales to Service Handoff template: Handover Document Template
Sales to service handoff document template

‎According to 86 percent of customers, good customer service can convert a one-time client into a long-term customer. A sales-to-customer-success-handoff template ensures a smooth handover, delivering a frictionless customer experience and maximizing satisfaction from the start.

This template covers the basic details of the:

  • Account executive.
  • Account manager.
  • Customer.
  • Deal.
  • Tools used by the customer.
  • Problems faced by the client.
  • Goals and success.

Use this sales-to-service handoff template to better coordinate your client acquisition and servicing teams. 

‍👉 Try this sales to service handoff template for free.

‎Ru‎nbook template

Runbook template: handover document templates
Runbook template

‎Runbook templates are essential for IT professionals who manage complex computer systems and applications.

Use this runbook template to create handover documentation outlining:

  • Procedures.
  • Instructions and guidelines.
  • Checklists.
  • Troubleshooting.
  • Change management processes.

‍👉 Try this runbook template for free.

100+ free templates

Scribe template gallery: handover document templates
100+ free document templates in the Scribe template gallery

‎Try from 100+ free process documentation templates in the Scribe template gallery.

Use these templates to:

  • Train your teammates.
  • Showcase your best practices and procedures.
  • Get projects done faster.

... all for half the time in effort.

5 key elements of effective handover documentation

When employees leave for a period of time or entirely, their knowledge of the role and responsibilities goes with them. Without effective employee leave management, you'll inevitably run into confusion, inefficiency and reduced productivity.

71 percent of organizations without an effective employee offboarding and handover process face such consequences. 

Effective handover documentation along with solid knowledge management strategies can help you save explicit knowledge as well as tribal knowledge — the unspoken wisdom of how your company runs.

The proper project handover documents can help you onboard new employees without friction and maintain project continuity. Here are five essential elements to keep in mind when creating a work handover template

1. Project overview

A brief description of the project, task, or role being handed over, including its purpose, objectives, and key deliverables.

2. Responsibilities and duties

Mention the details of the day-to-day tasks that an employee takes up. Make sure these duties are explained in detail, including:

  • Tools.
  • Format.
  • Task description.
  • Processes, systems and tools used.
  • Project documentation strategy.
  • Performance expectations.
  • Feedback and observations.
  • Current and previous approaches.
  • Tips and strategies that helped the outgoing employee.
  • Names of the senior executives the new employee must be accountable to.
  • Any other vital information.

When written well, project handover documents will allow new employees to start following their duties without any struggles or confusion.

3. Current status

Project/task status updates are among the most vital information an incoming employee must have. Include these two elements:

List of ongoing tasks

Provide an update on the current status of the project, task, or role, including any outstanding tasks, deadlines, risks, and issues.

Along with each ongoing task title, the leaving employee must include details like the progress report, research conducted and results. Key success factors and main procedures related to the ongoing tasks are also crucial.

If this feels like too much work—which it can be, use a time-saving document builder like Scribe.

Scribe handover document templates

Scribe captures your screen while you go through your task, building a visual guide, complete with text, links and annotated screenshots.

You can easily update steps to cater to each new hire and process.

Upcoming deadlines

The new employees or project managers should be aware of the upcoming deadlines for every project. Record all project timelines systematically using the handover document format below to avoid errors.

Create a visual flow of the timelines to simplify tracking all the start and finish dates. You can also color code these timelines for every team or milestone, like in this example. 

ExcelTemplates project timeline example
(Source: ExcelTemplates)

4. Learning resources and documentation

Developing a proper set of training and guidance for the new employee(s) will help them understand the responsibilities at a deeper level. Provide them with a list of relevant resources and documentation, such as files, reports and guidelines.

Outgoing employees can also document their approach and what they’ve achieved so far to help their successors.

🔥 Scribe top tip: Create step-by-step guides for newcomers on any task or process with Scribe. Use the screenshot Chrome extension to auto-generate how-to guides in seconds.

5. Key contacts and stakeholders

Every individual associated with a role or a project holds immense value for the completion of the project.

Include a list of key contacts and stakeholders involved in the project, task, or role, with their contact information. Make sure you mention the delivery channels for accountability and a smooth flow of information.

Add all the team members' contact information and their positions in the handover documentation.

How to create handover documents

Although the exact format of your handover document depends upon whether your employee is leaving a role or transferring a project, here’s a step-by-step guide for building your own handover reports from scratch.

1. Create a handover action plan

Before creating handover documentation, develop an action plan so you don't miss out on any critical details. Talk to your project manager about the ongoing projects. 

You don’t want to leave any loose ends and ensure every task is delegated. Use these question prompts to make a foolproof action plan:

  • What’s this transition about?
  • What are the key responsibility areas (KRAs) in this transition?
  • Who will be involved in creating the handover plan?
  • Are there any guidelines to follow? 

📌 ‎Check out our free business action plan template

2. Define project goals, expectations & metrics 

While creating a detailed plan:

  • Clearly define the project's end goals.
  • Specify deadlines, measuring units, and risks involved.
  • Mention expectations from stakeholders regarding tasks completion within deadlines.

Involve all key stakeholders in a handover meeting to discuss these elements. This will help keep everyone on the same page when the knowledge handover occurs.

3. Identify key stakeholders involved in the project

Identify key stakeholders for every task to ensure you don't miss out on handing over the duties to all the personnel responsible. List the people currently handling a particular role and those handling it once the project is transferred.

Xtensio: handover document templates
(Source: Xtensio)

‎4. Document the deliverables, milestones & timelines 

Handover documents should have specific timelines and important milestones, like due dates, meetings and other forms of communication.

This is important for ensuring that nothing goes off course and the project moves forward as it would have.

Use a project management tool like Notion, ClickUp or Asana to track and assign project deadlines and even automate handoffs.

5. Consider potential risks & roadblocks beforehand

Make sure that you add additional context and concerns in your handover documentation. This can include any potential roadblocks like:

  • Lacking a certain skillset or area of expertise.
  • Trouble bringing stakeholders together.
  • Bottlenecks.
  • Necessary approvals.

Add your inputs in the comments section and suggestions on how employees can handle the situation.

6. Compile training resources and guides

Now that you've documented what to do and when, it's time to show how.

Create how-to guides for any process the employee goes through. This should include:

  • A task overview.
  • A step-by-step breakdown.
  • Annotated screenshots or illustrations for each step.
  • A list of needed resources.

Use a documentation app like Scribe to quickly generate visual guides you can link or embed in your handover documentation.

‎Scribe captures your onscreen actions as you work, and auto-generates a visual step-by-step guide, complete with annotated screenshots and text.

Once you have your process guides, use Pages to combine multiple guides and ask the AI to write project documentation, training materials or handover documentation for you.

‎You can share your guides in seconds:

  • Send a quick sharing link for easy access.
  • Export your guide in multiple formats, such as PDF, markdown or HTML.
  • Use the Scribe platform to distribute your guides.
  • Embed your guide into preferred platforms for seamless integration.

7. Transfer ownership of all resources & knowledge 

Once you have prepared all the handover documents, manuals and SOPs, it’s time to transfer the ownership of these resources. 

Send a list of accounts and credentials for login. You can also transfer the accessibility for app accounts, guides and documentation via Google Drive and Jira.

By documenting everything needed in the handover, you can confirm that your departing employee won't keep access to vital logins or information.

Make sure to use a standard format and knowledge base with clearance permissions to maintain your document security.

Scribe tip: ‎Use a knowledge-base Chrome extension to cut the time you need to build your knowledge base.

Conclusion: Handover documentation templates

Transferring a project or a role comes with inevitable challenges like knowledge loss, communication gaps, problems in tracking changes and insufficient information, among others. In such scenarios, employees will take longer than usual to get started.

That's where work handover documents come in. They're critical for every organization to ensure a smooth handover process for knowledge, documentation and responsibilities.

A work handover template is a life-saver for every project manager looking to transfer tasks or onboard employees. Use this set of handover document templates to create effective handover documentation. 

Build your own handover documents in seconds — for free!

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