How to
March 17, 2024

‍How to Draft a Transition Plan or Handover Note in 10 steps

Minutes to read
Minutes to read

When the time comes to transition out of your current role, whether due to a job change, promotion, or departure, completing a comprehensive handover note is crucial. This document ensures continuity of work, minimizes disruptions, and facilitates a smooth handover to your successor. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to draft an effective transition plan or handover note and how to use this opportunity to reflect on your own development.

Want to skip straight to the template? Here's our free AI handover generator.

What is a transition plan?

A transition plan or handover note is a document or set of documents created to facilitate the process of transferring knowledge, responsibilities, and tasks from one person or team to another. These documents are essential to ensuring continuity and minimizing disruption in workflows, projects, or services.

So often when speaking about handovers, the person exiting promises they've left behind a "thoroughly detailed and comprehensive" guide and yet newcomers almost universally complain that it's "the worst they’ve ever received!"

Let's bridge that gap with a more considered approach.

Writing a transition plan for a smooth handover

It's important to take into consideration how your leaving will affect the work of those staying in the business. The task of writing a transition plan can be divided into 10 steps:

1. Detail Ongoing Projects and Teams

Start by defining teams in which you have a role, noting where they fit within the wider organization. Include stakeholder names – both internal and external – and provide links to documents that state core objectives or visualise team structure. All-hands presentations can be great for this.

For each project, provide a status update and detail key contacts, deadlines and next steps. Include any known risks and issues along with your suggested mitigating actions. This information will be invaluable in ensuring progress continues smoothly. Don't forget to point staff to relevant resources and shared folders for the project.

2. Outline Key Responsibilities

Start with a clear outline of your key responsibilities within each team and project. List down the critical tasks that you are currently handling, including daily duties and recurring deadlines. This will serve as a general scope for your successors new role.

Don’t forget to include reference to people, documents, deliverables, meetings and events relevant to each responsibility. This provides the context that aids true understanding. Also include any training requirements and risks you are tracking.

3. List your outstanding tasks and actions

You will naturally list out the tasks and actions that will remain incomplete by the time you depart. Also note down those which you do expect to finish, as this will help you plan your last few weeks and help your supervisor determine those which may need to delegation if you run out of time.

4. Document Processes and Procedures

Document detailed processes and procedures for complex tasks. Include step-by-step instructions, tips for troubleshooting and references to any guides or documents you’ve found helpful. This section is particularly important for tasks that are unique to your position or require specific knowledge.

5. Compile Key Contacts

Create a list of key contacts that includes internal and external stakeholders relevant to your role. Include names, positions, contact information, and a brief description of their relationship to your projects or responsibilities. This network will be essential for your successor to navigate relationships and collaborate successfully.

6. Share Access to Critical Tools and Documents

Ensure that you list all necessary software, databases and online tools that your successor will need access to. Ideally you can avoid password sharing by setting them up with their own user accounts ahead of time. Remember to follow your organization’s security policies when handling sensitive information.

7. Use imprend’s free AI handover generator

On the topic of critical software - If you're balking at the idea of covering all of this detail in a Word document, one alternative is to use our completely free handover generator. After being interviewed by our AI, you'll have captured the context behind your work activities and presented them in an interactive diagram for seamless knowledge transfer.

8. Offer Insights and Advice

Include any insights or hints that could help your successor hit the ground running. This might include information about team culture, stakeholder preferences or tips for managing specific meeting scenarios. This personal touch can make a significant difference in helping your successor settle in.

9. Schedule Knowledge Transfer Sessions

If possible, schedule one-on-one sessions with your successor to go through the transition plan together. This allows for real-time questions and answers, providing a deeper understanding of the role and responsibilities.

10. Review and Update

In the days immediately before your departure, review the document to ensure it remains up-to-date. It’s a good idea to have a colleague or supervisor review as they may identify gaps or areas needing clarification.


Whether you use imprend or not, taking the time to draft a detailed handover note is a thoughtful and professional way to conclude your tenure in a role. It demonstrates your commitment to the organization’s continued success and supports your successor in their new role. By following these steps you can ensure a smooth and effective transition for everyone involved.

Try imprend today and be the first person in company history to make the next guy remark "Wow. This is the greatest handover of all time."

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