Product Team Handoff’s: Which Are Most Likely to be Problematic?

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Product Team Handoffs Can Be Landmines

Over the last several years survey respondents have told us that handoffs between product team members are a significant issue. In 2013 product team handoffs were the second most frequently cited reason for breakdowns.

Actuation Consulting, The Study of Product Team Performance, 2013, All rights reserved.

Handoffs Are A Significant Issue











In this years survey we drilled down a bit further to learn which roles encounter the most frequent trouble.

Q. If your team has communication, handoff or transition issues that impacted team performance, are they between which of the following roles?

Actuation Consulting, The Study of Product Team Performance, 2014, All rights reserved.

The Most Likely Sources of Poor Product Team Handoffs













Approximately one fifth of the responses to this question (20.26%) point toward issues between product managers and developers. The other double-digit responses indicating potential problem areas were between:

• Product managers and project managers (13.40%)
• Developers and QA (13.08%)
• Product managers and ops (11.21%)
• Product managers and business analysts (10.90%)

Although not double digit response rates, the handoffs between developers and ops (9.03%) and project managers and developers (8.41%) were not far behind. No team members are immune from communication, handoff and transition issues. The remaining responses were also nearly equally distributed between three answers: project managers and ops (5.30%), project managers and QA (4.67%) and QA and ops (3.74%).


Interestingly, 56% of the handoff issues involve product managers and roughly a third project managers. In many ways this makes sense as these roles have the most cross-functional responsibility. Regardless, there is clearly significant room for improvement to ensure smoother handoffs and ultimately improved execution.

At the end of the day that’s what matters most.


  1. In recent projects of mine, there has been a project manager assigned from kick-off until market launch. No hand-off issues at all in these cases.

  2. Pingback: New Product Management Track at Code Camp Silicon Valley - Actuation Consulting

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