How to Create Handover Documentation to Streamline Business Communication

Shreelekha Singh
November 10, 2022
September 19, 2023
Photo credit
Handover documents streamline the transition from one employee to another and one project to another. Learn more about it here.
Generate Onboarding Docs Free!


Whether an employee is leaving the company, changing departments or just transferring a project, you need to ensure a smooth transition as a manager. 

Wondering what’s the secret trick to pull this off? It’s well-defined handover documentation. 

Handover documents can streamline business communication by clarifying the transfer of responsibility sets, project workflow and overall progress. It also ensures nothing gets lost in the transition process, especially the crucial knowledge behind your success. 

That said, creating handover documentation isn’t a walk in the park. You need focused planning, clear guidelines and thorough review to nail your handoff documents. 

If that makes you nervous, you'll want to read till the end to go through our 7-step process of creating handover documents that work like magic. 

What are handover documents?

Handover documents are written reports created by an employee leaving or changing their role temporarily or permanently. The document contains crucial information about the day-to-day duties, set of responsibilities, project updates and information on key stakeholders and deadlines for the individual taking up the project or the job position.

It's an essential document for managers to ensure a smooth employee/project transition.

Scribe top tip: You need to document different processes to create comprehensive handover documentation. Use Scribe to record end-to-end processes and convert them into interactive, step-by-step guides within seconds.

5 reasons why you should create handover documentation

If you throw a new project at an employee without context, they will take days (or weeks) to understand and start working on it. Countless hours, resources, and talent wasted.

A detailed, well-structured handover report will help incoming employees settle in quickly and kickstart the project without much confusion. Here are five reasons why you should create handover documentation.

1. Informs successors about the responsibility set

No team member will know this employee's ongoing task details if you don't conduct the departing individual's formal employee offboarding procedure.

Handover documentation helps the incoming employee pick up loose ends. They are now aware of any incomplete tasks, conversations, deals, or ongoing client relationships.

2. Clarifies the project’s progress for the leadership

When an employee leaves the company, the leadership team will not know its task details and progress. A handover report serves as a detailed update on the project's progress and the departed employee's duties.

3. Documents crucial workflows to minimize mistakes

Verbal communication is effective yet full of errors. You may not remember everything your employee tells you over a chat. That's where handover documents come in. They help employees record the smallest information to the most crucial details, thus avoiding errors altogether.

4. Prevents any disruptions in the project

The team will be confused if a leaving employee doesn't inform others of the important dates, updates, and relationships. Handoff documentation ensures smooth information flow and updates between the two employees, ensuring the project runs without distractions.

5. Avoids knowledge loss in the transition 

An incoming employee can only make so many notes while communicating with the leaving employee. Creating a handover document ensures a proper record of the ongoing tasks and projects; this information is stored for years to come.

You don’t have to do all the heavy lifting to document so much knowledge in so little time. Let Scribe make life easier for you to put handover documentation on auto-pilot. 

Record your screen while performing a task and add context with textual content, visuals and links to create weatherproof documents.

How to create a solid project handover document

The project handover document should be a well-structured report with the employee’s daily tasks, project details, and stakeholders’ contact information.

Although the exact format of the report depends upon whether your employee is leaving a role or transferring a project, here’s a step-by-step explanation for creating a project handover report from scratch.

1. Create an action plan for a smooth transition

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

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 at the start:

  • 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 for this plan? 

Here’s a project handover plan template to help you hit the ground running quickly. 

2. Define project goals, expectations & metrics 

While creating a detailed plan, clearly define the project's end goals in terms of the deadlines, measuring units and risks involved. Also, mention what you expect from the stakeholders regarding the tasks to be completed within a deadline.

Involve all key stakeholders in a meeting to discuss these crucial elements of the handover. This will help keep everyone on the same page when the handoff 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 the ones who'll be handling it once the project is transferred.

Here’s a part of the project handover template you can work with. 


4. Document the deliverables, milestones & timelines 

Explaining the detailed process of deliverables while also handing over the essential documents and resources is important. 

But communicating critical information like expected milestones and timelines verbally may not be a very effective technique. Besides, you must assign specific tasks and deliverables to the respective personnel.

That’s exactly why it’s important to document such details.

When you wish to prepare handoff documentation and templates, a tool like Scribe comes in handy. It's a process documentation tool that lets you record any process or task effortlessly. It then converts these tasks into fully customizable step-by-step guides so you can easily hand them off to your employees.

5. Mention potential risks & roadblocks beforehand

While adding the task details, it is necessary to add insights on potential risks of project management and roadblocks that might hinder the project completion process. Add your inputs in the comments section and suggestions on how employees can handle the situation. You can also add detailed notes in an additional section at the bottom.

6. Compile resources for training & guidance 

Once you have a project handover plan, compile all the resources you've prepared. One of the easiest ways to do this is by creating a how-to guide.

Use Scribe to create a walkthrough guide for your team. Include all the resources that will help your employees complete the project without any issues and add any guidance resources you may have prepared. 

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.

Here’s a complete knowledge handover template to compile and share all relevant resources with your team. 

Use this template

Make project transitions more seamless with handover documentation

Handover documentation holds immense importance in transferring projects, roles and responsibilities. If you forget to add even a small piece of information, it can derail the project. 

These reports help the successors understand crucial details, avoid confusion and eliminate the chances of errors. Moreover, it ensures no loss of knowledge during the transition.

Using tools like Scribe makes the documentation process a piece of cake. With our templates and a simple step-by-step guide, document the entire handing-over process easily to ensure frictionless information transfer.

Ready to try Scribe?

Scribe automatically generates how-to guides and serves them to your team when they need them most. Save time, stay focused, help others.