A few weeks ago, Nick wrote about Product Management as a team sport. Nick was keen to explore better ways for Product Managers to “change the baton” between different parts of the business.
Most Product Managers would agree that months of workshops and discussion amongst the various teams during the Product Development process does not always equate to a smooth changeover once the requirements have been defined and signed off.
To avoid any misunderstanding between teams, it may be best to formalise the handover. A formal handover seems simple but the message it conveys is powerful. It clearly signifies the completion of one phase of the project and the begining of a new phase.
So what are some processes that can be used to guarantee a smooth handover.
Handover from Product Managers to Solution Architects and Developers
Conduct a short handover meeting. Use a checklist during the meeting.
Items on the checklist should include a list of stakeholders that have read and approved the requirements document. This should indicate to the team if any key stakeholder has not been informed. The project budget should be confirmed. Most importantly, the project timeline should be reviewed so that the next team understands the key milestones and any time constraints that they may have to work within.
Handover from Product Managers to Customer Service
Conduct an information session.
During the session distribute appropriate material to Customer Service staff members or Customer Service team leaders. Even if formal training is provided by trainers, Customer Service generally value face to face time with Product Management. Sending an email does not always guarantee that the right message is conveyed to your most important representative in the organisation.
Speaking to Customer Service is as close to speaking to your customer and informing them of the key features and benefits of the product or service.
Handover from Product Managers to Sales and Marketing
Deliver a presentation.
Whilst the Marketing team may have been involved at the initial Product Concept stage, marketers are usually not involved during the requirements definition phase. Rich product features emerges during this phase.
To ensure that the Marketing team has a good understanding of the new product or service, Product Managers should deliver a presentation to the Marketing team identifying the key product features and benefits.
In general though, passing on the baton smoothly is as simple as keeping teams informed and disseminating appropriate information to different teams. For Product Managers, the handover process may extend beyond the formal sessions.