You know this: Some time ago you came to a project as an employee or consultant and for months you have been promised a successor. But it doesn’t come, and technically or from processes/relationships, you may also be in it to the point where learning a new employee simply takes too long for the company. In this article, I’ll help you get a project ready for handover and get ready for new tasks. Because only if you regularly receive new projects can you grow and advance professionally.

Step 1: Create Documentation

The first step is to make your project transferable at all. To do this, you should create meaningful documentation. Projects are often characterized by so-called “historical knowledge”. I noticed in my consulting time that a new employee usually took 6 months to know the language, vocabulary and processes in the project. It was always said: “Well, you just mean that with time”.

Incidentally, this is not just a technical documentary. Contacts and internal processes of the customer should also be documented in detail. Conversation logs should also be stored cleanly.

So make sure that the project is transferable and that someone can use the documentation to make sense of it. So you also take away new employees the fear of buying the cat in the bag. You can also show management that everything is well documented.

Step 2: Create pressure to act

You know this: we eat fast food, like to sit at the PC on weekends or treat ourselves to a shisha. All these things are harmful and we are rationally aware of this, but we do it anyway because we don’t see it emotionally. But why do many people still exercise or eat consciously? This is done out of emotional insight, which is often based on two factors:

  • Pressure of suffering
  • Positive perspective (hope)

Due to the numerous conversations you have been looking for, management understands that you want to change the project. This is a rational insight (yes I would have to do sports because my weight is too high). However, there still needs to be an emotional insight (yes I really go into fitness).

So you have to create pressure to suffer and see that your management also recognizes the perspective that you can also bring high and high performance in other projects or even build up new customers in a meaningful way. Creating the pressure of suffering is difficult and I often experience here that it means long questioning. Stand by!

Step 3: Handovers always hurt!

A transition is always associated with pain. Customers have loved you as a contact person and you know all “previously undocumented” processes. The customer notices that you understand him without words.

The new employee will not meet this expectation for the time being. Despite customer complaints, you must now be consistent and forward all inquiries to the new employee. Show it only what and how to do it. Also educate the customers that there is a new contact person.

Important:I often experience that many are not consistent enough at this stage. They then hang on with one leg in the project for years. Be helpful but consistent.


Changing an important project is not easy and it won’t be easy, but it’s important that you personally move forward. Document the project cleanly and create pressure for action. Subsequently, it is necessary to initiate the handover consistently. I often realize that over time you develop a certain self-evidentness in the project, that you are a kind of hero. This happens unconsciously. Be aware that in the new project you are no longer this hero, but start from scratch. It will be a lot new and different, but it will take you forward!

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Genderhinweis: Ich habe zur leichteren Lesbarkeit die männliche Form verwendet. Sofern keine explizite Unterscheidung getroffen wird, sind daher stets sowohl Frauen, Diverse als auch Männer sowie Menschen jeder Herkunft und Nation gemeint. Lesen Sie mehr dazu.

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I blog about the impact of digitalization on our working environment. For this purpose, I present content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday work. I am a manager in an SME myself and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the chair of IT Management.

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