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From old to new: a guide to IT project handovers for businesses


Andriy Tsebak


Co-Founder & BDM

8 min read

8 min read

Article content:


it project handover


In software project development, sometimes, customers are forced to change vendors due to new challenges, opportunities, or other circumstances. This process is stressful for businesses because they have to face quite a few roadblocks on the way, from finding a new vendor to stocking together and sorting all the necessary information for an IT project handover.

Luckily, NERDZ LAB has earned the trust of our customers by having a track record of successfully completing quite a few projects taken over from previous vendors. As one of our customers said, “We had a bad experience with a previous vendor, but NERDZ LAB was able to restore our trust in outsourced software development.”

We’ve put together some practical advice to help businesses navigate IT project handovers. Today, we want to share this knowledge, so read on. We’ll walk you through the IT project handover process and give you a checklist of the essential information any new vendor will need you to provide.

But let’s start by discussing why you might transition an IT project to a new vendor.

From old to new: a guide to IT project handovers for businesses - Volodymyr Khmil

Watch our CEO, Volodymyr Khmil, sharing his tips on IT project handovers on our YouTube channel.

Reasons for handing an IT project over to a new vendor

Only in some cases IT project handover is specifically planned action, but more often you’re forced to change vendors. Whatever the reason, you have to think carefully about the specific benefits of switching to a new software development company. That said, let’s look at all the possible reasons for an IT project handover.

Poor service

Unfortunately, bad service happens far more often than anybody wants. At first, the vendor claims they’re the best company to develop your project, but it turns out they don’t have sufficient expertise, personnel, or technology to deliver the project within the agreed timeline and budget.

You’re mistaken if you think these situations are rare or can’t happen with big or well-known companies. In 2000, Electronic Data System (EDS) corporation promised to implement a CRM system for BSkyB in 18 months within a budget of £48 million. But BSkyB didn’t complete the project until 2006 after it took over part of the work. And the project’s final cost was £256 million. BSkyB eventually sued EDS for damages, and the lawsuit dragged on for four years, but BSkyB finally prevailed.

In our experience, these situations aren’t uncommon. So, if you face a similar problem, the best choice is to switch vendors instead of postponing deadlines and increasing the budget over and over again. BskyB finally completed their project, but not everyone might be so lucky.

Lack of support

A vendor can implement your project perfectly but doesn’t provide ongoing support or maintenance services. Without maintenance, any software becomes vulnerable to hacker attacks and bugs and obsolete over time. That’s why you have to find a vendor who regularly checks and updates your software. Otherwise, you’ve wasted time and money on its development.

Work stoppages

Businesses might stop or pause their operations for different reasons — financial difficulties, change of focus, or even political winds. In this case, if you want your project completed, you have no choice but to hand over the project to a new vendor.


If your company merges with another business, you must reconcile all your processes, transactions, suppliers, and vendors. If the other company insists on using the services of its preferred software vendor, it may be more beneficial for you to agree and prepare a project transferring plan.

Technological advances

Simple projects can become more ambitious and technologically complex as a business grows and develops. For example, a company may begin building a finance app and later decide to add AI-based assistance to the app. If your current vendor doesn’t have the expertise and tech stack to implement this solution, the only choice for your IT project is to hand it over to another development vendor.


Supporting or developing software requires a team of specialists, and, in most cases, outsourcing these tasks is more cost-effective than assigning them to an in-house team. This is especially true if you have to build an in-house team from scratch or expand an existing team. Why? Because IT specialists in top outsourcing countries have lower salary ranges than in the US or Western Europe and vast expertise, plus, you save on administrative and operational costs, such as employee benefits.

That’s why an IT project handover to an outsourced team is the right move even if you’ve already started the project with another vendor; you gain efficiency and reduce costs.

See also: How much does it cost to create an app? [7 calculation formulas with examples]

As you can see, in certain scenarios that force you to change vendors, like when poor service quality or reducing cost drives the change, putting off the decision too long wastes money. You should carefully monitor your project’s development and note any problematic issues so you can intervene and change vendors as soon as conditions warrant it.

Regardless of why or when you make the change, you need a step-by-step IT project handover plan to ensure a smooth transition to your new software vendor.

it it project handover process

Learn more about our it project handover services for businesses here.

Steps for a successful project handover process

When choosing a new vendor, you should pay attention to their handover process and IT project handover checklist as much as you do to their software development expertise, experience, and customer reviews. Your future collaboration depends on a correctly executed handover process because missing details can cause problems. You wouldn’t want the new vendor to overestimate their capabilities or choose the wrong technologies. Before signing a contract, always request an IT project handover document template and a checklist that will help you provide all the necessary information.

Of course, each company’s process may differ slightly in detail but the same in major points. Below, we present NERDZ LAB’s steps as a reference to evaluate other vendors’ processes.

A call with the client

When we meet a client for the first time, we want to know everything: the ins and outs of the project, your customers’ expectations, and most importantly, your reason for switching vendors. At this point, we want you to be transparent and honest about your expectations and issues with the previous vendor to ensure the problems don’t repeat.

A call with the previous vendor’s team

When possible, we always want to meet the previous vendor’s team for a knowledge-sharing session because no one knows the project’s ins and outs better. We strive to get a complete picture of the project and discuss all technical issues, emphasizing key technologies and features that should not be missed.

If we can’t meet with the prior vendor’s team, we talk through all the same issues with the client’s technical specialist.

Tech evaluation of the project

Our technical lead accesses the existing software code and evaluates the state of the project. After the assessment, we provide the client with detailed written feedback and recommendations for improvement.

A project plan and a team plan

After the client agrees to hand over the project, we request access to all the services and documentation to learn the company’s policies, business processes, operations, and project objectives and constraints.

Based on this information and the tech assessment, we provide a project development plan or roadmap for client approval, highlighting milestones, deadlines, and team composition.

To save time, we simultaneously recruit team members based on the customer’s needs and requirements. This way, specialists are ready to work as soon as the client approves the plan and the team.

Another mandatory step for us and the client is completing our checklist for handing over a project, ensuring we don’t miss anything essential. Let’s take a look at the checklist.

IT project-handover checklist

See also: 5 ways to eliminate security threats in iOS app development

An IT project-handover checklist

A checklist is a simple project-handover document with great significance — it ensures that we get all necessary details while the previous vendor still has them. You’d be surprised how quickly some vendors lose essential documentation or files when a project team stops working together. So, before starting a project, we always double-check that we have access to the following:

  • Codebase repositories, such as Github, Gitlab, and BitBucket.
  • UI/UX design files, including web preview files, layered RGB Photoshop files, Sketch files, Figma files, and Adobe XD files.
  • Access information to services like AWS, Firebase, and Apple Developer accounts.
  • Project documentation featuring the API platform (e.g., Postman), infrastructure details, all files, and more.
  • Guidelines for things like source code deployment and running the project on a new server.

This is the minimum checklist for a smooth handover of a software project. Sure, we can manage if you can’t provide access to some of this information. But the more we know, the more accurately we can assess and plan your project and avoid unnecessary delays, like restoring access to your services’ accounts.

Smooth handover of software project

How to ensure a smooth transition during knowledge-sharing with the previous vendor’s team if direct communication isn’t feasible?

If you’re transitioning from a previous vendor’s team and direct communication isn’t feasible, there are some steps you can take to ensure a smooth knowledge-sharing process.

First, it’s important to have access to all major project artefacts and documentation. Take thorough notes during your work with tech vendors, as they might be useful in the future.

If you’re thinking about changing vendors or notice communication beginning to break down, make sure you have all the necessary access data and materials before starting the project handover process. Otherwise, the handover process will be longer and more complicated.

If you’ve lost communication with the previous vendor, some project details can be restored or re-created, but others may need to be developed from scratch. For example, project documentation, test cases, user stories, and design can be re-created with a client if there’s a live project. However, if you don’t have access to a database or source code, you’ll have to redevelop it from scratch.

To ensure a smooth transition, you can use several strategies, such as:

1. Prioritize comprehensive documentation of the project’s current state, including its architecture, codebase, and any existing technical documentation.
2. Leverage any available project artefacts and materials to gain insights into the project’s history, challenges, and unique aspects.
3. Facilitate thorough discussions with the client or their technical specialists to extract critical information about the project’s intricacies.

By combining these approaches, you can gather as much knowledge as possible about the project from various sources, ensuring a robust understanding and facilitating a seamless transition to your new software development team.

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IT project handover is a common process that isn’t discussed enough. It’s a pity because the handover process defines the quality of the customer and the new vendor’s collaboration on the project. If you have to change your software development vendor for any reason, double-check the project transfer process of the new vendor before signing a contract and use a checklist to make sure you provide all critical details, files, and accounts. Or better yet, contact NERDZ LAB for a project consultation, as we’ve successfully completed project handovers for dozens of clients.