Transitioning a Contract

woman using laptop

Work and contracts end for a variety of reasons. Sometimes you know, sometimes you don’t. But when you do, take the time to make sure any outstanding work and projects are handed off deliberately. I don’t know about you, but I was taught to treat others as I would like to be treated; or at the very least, not to burn any unnecessary bridges; and ensuring a smooth transition definitely fits in both categories.

Also, a note. This is about the work, not the contract and money details. That will have to be covered by another person, at a future time.

Start Here

Not always, but usually you know the transition is happening. If given that heads up, try to collect and document materials and details in advance. One of the simpler ways to do this is to keep a document open, and note each time you do something related to the project, big or small, and especially those little details that can cause big frustration.

This can really be done at any time, and is a good thing to do during the course of a contract to check efficiencies and process.

Checklist and Timelines

Update your checklist and timelines. If you haven’t already created a checklist and timeline, no better time than the present. The questions you need to ask to get this started: What needs to happen, and in what order? If you’re creating webinars – does the virtual room need to be created BEFORE invitations can be sent out? Is that noted?

(Also, for some additional Type-A razzle dazzle – are items simply listed as bullets or are their categories and sub categories to describe actions and deliverable type?)

Roles and Responsibilities

This is particularly helpful with big teams, or complicated processes. Let’s go back to the example of a webinar. Is it recorded? Who hits record? Does the recording need to be formatted and shared out or is it housed somewhere? Are there design elements added to the recording in post? By who? These are all details that need to be clearly defined and stated.

When in the midst of a project, it can become second nature to just do the work – however, as you transition, you need to slow down to ensure you are capturing the entire process, and not just individual actions.

Templates and Drafted Content

The best way to help a new team is not make them recreate the wheel. If there are standard documents, templates, or just overall content, include that in the final transition package. And this isn’t just for content. If you have internal materials (and they’re not proprietary) share that too.
That amazing excel sheet with all the formulas? Share it! The report document with tables and headers already formatted? Share it! Know a special way to set up a virtual meeting that has been instrumental to tracking the project’s data? Share it!

These all tend to be good exercises to do during the course of a long contract. It helps to identify any gaps, unnecessary processes, or duplicative work. But it should especially be done before transitioning a project.

Ultimately, a meeting should be planned to discuss this. A summary report is usually inadequate by itself.

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