Process and the Art of Handoff

Posted on Mon 17 June 2019 in Analysis

With every task I do in the workplace, it’s crucial to think about the end state. If I’m taking this project on, and it does not have a defined end point, is this going to be something that will be my job forever? If not, eventually this task is going to be handed off to someone else. The question then becomes how is that task going to be successfully handed off.

The first thing to think about is that it’s going to be difficult - no one likes to take on new work, and they are not going to get it right the first time. That’s why it’s essential to have a process - by having a defined path, you’ll have an easier time handing that off, instead of a nebulous process inside your head. Additionally, this is why it benefits from automating as much as possible - the fewer steps in any process, the less there is to do overall.

The other thing that I recommend would be to increase the workload gradually. The first time a task happens, I would do it while having the other person watch me. The second time would be 50/50 - we do it together, and then check results after the fact. I would then have them lead, with me checking the output afterward. Finally, I would let them take over, after handing them a one-pager that they can refer to.

This idea should carry over to every action you have. Once a project has reached steady state, I’d recommend writing a one-pager, so that if you won the lottery, you’d be able to give the one-pager to an intern and have the process continue. Even if this job stays yours forever, writing should help clarify the task itself, to speed the process up if possible.