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Transferring Ownership

Transferring Ownership

Author: Sophia Tutorial

This lesson provides an overview of transferring ownership

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What's Covered

In this lesson, we'll learn how to transfer ownership of a project into operations once it is complete. Specifically you will focus on:

  1. Transferring Ownership


Once a project is complete, a project manager will often not be involved in the operation of the project's deliverables, so the project will need to transfer to those who will be responsible for implementation.

Term to Know

Transfer of Ownership

The process of handing off formal control of project deliverables to an individual or group responsible for implementation

Transfer of ownership occurs when the project's deliverables are judged as ready to be during the readiness evaluation. This transfer process helps inform the individual responsible for implementing the deliverable about any details learned during the project development process that may assist them in their work.

It is best for a smooth transfer if, early in the project, the project manager knows the individual who will take over implementation of the deliverables. This person should be considered a key stakeholder, and the project manager should communicate with them throughout the project life cycle.

This communication gives the transfer individual considerable experience with and knowledge of the project. If possible, it also helps to transfer responsibility and accountability to a single individual. Even if a group or department takes over implementation, try to identify one person who will represent that group.

The project transfer should occur in a transfer meeting organized by the project manager, before which the project manager should compile the information and documentation necessary for the transfer. It's the project manager's responsibility to investigate how much the individual implementing the project deliverables knows about the project, then provide the information needed to fill any knowledge gaps.

During the transfer meeting the project manager should discuss the following:

Review of the project scope

  • Ensures understanding of all quality and performance details

Communication of stakeholders’ expectations

  • Stakeholders continue to determine project success during implementation of deliverables

History of the project

  • Only review if the transfer individual hasn’t been involved in the project
  • If individual was involved, share key decisions or issues he/she didn't experience directly

Final status of deliverables and any remaining issues

Formatted like a meeting checklist, the information would appear as below. This list should be customized based on the experience of the individual implementing the deliverables.

  1. project deliverables
  2. project requirements
  3. project stakeholders that were included in the project
  4. outstanding issues if any exist
  5. outstanding performance or quality issues if any exist, and
  6. contact information for team members who will support the product during implementation

Note that number 6 should be team members who were involved in the creation of the deliverables.

After the transfer meeting is complete and the official handoff has occurred, the project manager should continue to check in with the individual responsible for implementation. It is not only a courtesy; this check-in might be essential for a successful implementation since the project manager has intimate knowledge of how the deliverables were produced.

By establishing periodic communication, either in person, email, or by other means, the project manager shows that they are attentive and proactive. If questions then arise about the deliverables, the implementation individual will feel comfortable consulting the project manager if needed.

In most cases, this contact can end after an appropriate time and a period of smooth implementation has passed.

As a real world example, think about the process of developing a new car engine:

The design of the engine would be managed as a project. Once the design of the engine was complete and verified, the project manager would transfer the actual implementation and manufacturing of the engine to an operations individual.

With this project in mind, create a checklist of topics that the project manager should cover during the transfer meeting.


In this lesson, you learned about the transfer of project ownership. You now understand how the project manager cooperates with the individual receiving the transfer, why a transfer meeting is needed, and what should be covered at this meeting. You also know why it’s important for the project manager to follow up after the transferring project.

Good luck!

Source: This work adapted from Sophia Author Jeff Carroll.

Terms to Know
Transfer of Ownership

The process of handing off formal control of project deliverables to an individual or group responsible for implementation.