Handoffs occur when you need to pass the work from one area to the next. They are usually necessary due to the division of roles and responsibilities.
A couple of examples on handoffs. The customer support group passes information on a client to data entry for them to key the information into a database. Another sample is an insurance adjuster passes a claim to an expert for advice.
In evaluating a handoff, there are three things you want to look at. They relate to the task involved, the information to be transferred and the mechanism you use for the handoff.
First, on the task involved. You want to evaluate the complexity and value of the task.
For the data entry task, the complexity is low but the value is high. It’s got to be done. So you want to see if there is a way to mechanize the gathering of information which would allow you to eliminate the handoff altogether.
Second, on the information you need to pass on. It is important to make sure that the information is complete to avoid any iterations because iterations will consume additional time and effort.
For the insurance adjuster, she won’t want to involve the expert until all the information is ready to go. Otherwise, the back-and-forth is unproductive. Here, you want to evaluate and monitor the iterations.
Third, the mechanism used for the handoff. Do you use a physical file? Do you use an email which you embed all the information you need? Or do you refer that person who will be taking on the task to a central archive for the information?
Physical files and emails are limiting in terms of how quickly you could access and cascade the information. Here, you want to monitor the elapse time of the handoff.
As businesses adjust their operations to incorporate health and safety measures to control the spread of the coronavirus, some handoffs could become quite tricky. So it might be a good time to take a look and evaluate how those handoffs are done and make improvements.