First time posting here, so please bear with me.

My team had a project from one of our OEM customers which aged for a few years. Nothing special so far, project kept growing and more and more tasks were assigned to us. Up to a point where more software and IT knowledge was required.

So I started as a support in that project and took over the coding part as well as doing project management and coordination stuff. Since the project was in the customers infrastructure and we, as a service provider, do not have privilege or access to their resources we were quite dependent of the client's IT Team. And things could take an eternity to be pushed forward. But overall the Team was very satisfied with the work.

Some folks of the upper management thought it would be a nice idea to shift the project to another department, which should have more competences in that field. Despite my warning that the time for a shift is a bad idea, my opinion was unheard. The follow up guy, PhD. Engineer (unfortunately with absolutely no competences in IT), messed up quite a lot and couldn't meet up with the requirements. He joined my company recently and got the project assigned directly (in my eyes, a big chance for him to start as project leader). He quit his job after 2 months during his probation. A colleague of him took over the project (again, not that much competences) and she was overwhelmed.

So my boss came to me and asked me to take over the project again and finish it as soon as possible, and optimally before the contract ends this month. There is no chance for me to finish it. Not only that, due to some IT Hardware we temporarily provided to keep production running until the client's IT Team worked for the solution, production will fail after we remove our hardware. And now I need to instruct the next follow up guy (from our competitor, again with no IT knowledge) how to use our programs and infrastructure we managed.

Theres a side in me, to completely forget about the project since it would just ruin my mood. But on the otherside, I really dont want the next guy to have the terrible experiences that I had.

Of course, I will be transparent as possible and explain him in detail what needs to be done and what consequences he will face if we quit the project.

  • 3
    A lot of detail here, it basically boils down to: "I was not able to finish a project, and now I need to hand it off to... another organisation"? How do you not feel guilty? Some things are outside your control. You shouldn't feel guilty for them. Jan 16, 2022 at 23:31
  • It is not that I wasnt able it but more that I can not finish 3 months workload in a few weeks. Tasks were piling up of course when I wasnt there.
    – V.Hunon
    Jan 16, 2022 at 23:35
  • 3
    As I said, you should not feel guilty for things outside your control. Jan 16, 2022 at 23:54
  • It is easier said than done. I feel responsible for the assigned tasks and passing them over without finishing them stressed me out...
    – V.Hunon
    Jan 17, 2022 at 0:19
  • Maybe you should refocus your question to ask the things you can do to make this is good as possible for the new person who is picking up the project. Jan 17, 2022 at 1:29

1 Answer 1


Stop any new development on the project immediately. Start documenting it, including (for each major aspect) the current situation - what works, what doesn't, what needs handholding, and what hardware is required. Note any issues that you can for see - e.g requiring new hardware at the customers.

When you're writing this document, there will be a tendency to think "OK, I can finish that little bit this afternoon". Don't. Carry on with the document.

If you do get the documentation complete before the end date, contact the new person who will be taking it over. Give them the document, and answer any of their questions. That's the point where you can start doing those 'quick fixes' which you identified when writing it. If you do complete those, update the documentation.

You will never complete the project in the timescale given, but you should have time to put a professional handover in place.

  • 6
    It's better to have 70% of a program done with great documentation about bugs/to dos/problems/tech specs than 80% of a program done with none of that documentation. Jan 17, 2022 at 4:40
  • 3
    If you think you can compensate for a multi-month deficit in one month, you're only setting yourself up for failure. If upper management respects your expertise, they'll let you do this so the handover will go well. If they apply pressure, ask for a mega raise and headcount. You'll probably need half a million dollar budget to get the project done in a month, if you can get 3 super-star coders the next 2 days.
    – Nelson
    Jan 17, 2022 at 7:09

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