Study: Project Handover

How can we hand over projects better

How do we improve the transition of a project from the project team delivering in a project life cycle to the end users’ business-as-usual activities, to ensure the realisation of the benefits the project set out to achieve?

Why is it important?

Billions of pounds and huge amounts of working hours are spent on delivering projects.  Extensive work has been carried out by numerous organisations, including APM on how to best manage them.  Processes have been developed and refined and continue to be reviewed looking for continuous improvement and incremental efficiencies. In many instances there is an understanding of how a project or programme should be run and yet reports persist of project failure or underperformance.

Reports such as the Latham and Egan reports in construction, the National Audit Office’s reviews of major projects and initiatives such as Soft Landings and Government Soft Landings put forward recommendations of good practice but the adoption of these recommendations does not always occur consistently or sufficiently.

In short, projects are sometimes not delivered well.

To add further complexity, a project can be well delivered in of itself but that doesn’t necessarily mean it will deliver the benefits to the end users who commissioned it in the first place.

The importance of this research topic is therefore to look at and share good practice in passing the project from the project delivery team to the end users so they can get the benefits they set out to achieve in the first place.  Otherwise all the time and effort has been wasted.

Who is the intended audience?

 Anyone involved in commissioning, delivering or receiving the outputs of projects.

  • Construction project teams – there is an industry drive currently to better manage transitions and design and deliver buildings properly. Government Soft Landings will be mandated on all Central Government projects from April 2016 and the construction industry is increasingly being required at procurement stage to demonstrate commitment to improved knowledge transfer and handovers.
  • Senior project professionals, influencers and clients. The research is designed to provide guidance on how to improve outcomes.  This most benefits the recipients and commissioners of projects.
  • APM members – the output of the research will be advice and guidance for project managers.

How can I take part in the research or find out more?

Contact Owen Anthony on or 07850741543. Case studies, personal experience and anecdotal evidence of both good and bad practice will be invaluable to support the research programme. If you would prefer to remain anonymous when providing examples of successes (or more likely failures), that will not be a problem.

What are the benefits in taking part?

The outputs will be shared with all APM members whether you take part or not but the main benefit of contributing is that your voice will be heard and your examples of lessons learned can inform the output of the research project.  The more evidence and data on which we can base the findings of the report, the more useful and likely it will be that the findings will be correct and valuable for future projects. Ultimately, if the research contributes to better outcomes, it improves the reputation and perceived value of the profession as a whole.

Who is the research lead?

The research is led by Owen Anthony, an experienced project management practitioner, who as well as being a full member of APM is also a member of the Soft Landings User Group.

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