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Pattern: Define Hand-Over Points

By Michael Jastram posted 03-07-2019 02:54



Ensure that there is clarity with respect to ownership and responsibilities.


A lot of problems happen when handing over information, no matter whether manually or automatically. By defining hand-over points, you ensure that nobody "drops the ball". This concerns responsibility (e.g. who owns the data when), but also data storage (where is the "master" stored?)


Use the pattern when:

  • You have more than one person work on the same artifacts
  • The same artifact may reside in more than one place


  • A simple way for ensuring responsibility is to assign every work item exactly one owner all the time
  • Ownership does not mean exclusive access to this item. It simply means that the owner is responsible for overseeing the item during the current phase.
  • Ideally, ownership is combined with workflows that transition ownership in a controlled manner
Things can get tricky when working with multiple storage locations. For instance, as soon as you send a document for review via email, you have it in many places (the original and multiple inboxes). Needless to say, avoiding this scenario can create your efficiency significantly (e.g. by using Jama's review center).

Yet, sometimes information needs to cross repositories, e.g. from your requirements repository to your ALM system. In that case, minimize the interface between the systems. For instance, do not integrate Epics and User Stories, but just one. The following figure shows how Jama and Jira could be integrated, using User Stories as the hand-over point:
Needless to say, it is recommended to reduce the number of hand-over-points as much as possible.


The pattern has the following benefits and liabilities:

  • Benefits:
    • Clear responsibilities
    • No accidental "dropping the ball"
    • No accidental duplicate work
  • Liabilities:
    • Can potential create a holding pattern, as team members wait for ownership


  • The pattern can be realized with any system that manages ownership. In the most simple scenario, a properly managed Sharepoint can do the job.
  • Efficiency can be raised significantly if the tool supports ownership transfer and workflows
  • For hand-over between repositories, the tools in use must support compatible file formats or APIs for integration. For the example above, integrating Jama and Jira, this can be achieved with an Integration Hub.

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