Today's businesses have plenty of options when it comes to completing their projects. They can assign internal employees, outsource to a service provider, or hire a freelancer to do the work. However, despite careful planning, sometimes it's necessary to change directions midway. There can be a variety of reasons for that, from budget changes to input from upper management. In many cases, the transition happens toward the end of a project's completion, when internal teams need to begin managing things for consistency's sake. Whatever the reason, though, it leaves managers wondering how they can make such a transition as smooth as possible.

With plenty of careful planning, an internal team can pick up a project and begin working without putting the final deadline at risk. Here are a few things you can do to make your project transitions smoother.

Coordinate Project Managers.

Project managers pull all of a business's projects together, often serving as the primary liaison between managers and employees. Many businesses will have a project manager work with outside providers or freelancers for certain projects, while working with internal teams for other assignments.

When you're transitioning between an external and internal team, make sure there's consistency with who is running the show. If an internal project manager was overseeing the freelancers' work, that's likely the ideal person to transition the project in-house. If not, ensure the project manager for your internal team works directly with the other project manager to transfer as much information as possible about the project to date.

Compare Time Estimates.

When businesses work with freelancers, they usually place deep emphasis on getting information on how long the project will take. Often this information is outlined in project documents and includes various milestones and deliverables for each stage of the project. Gather this information and use it to work with your internal team to develop a timeline. If you expect your internal team to complete the project in the same timeframe, you should also be willing to commit to the project scope as outlined. It can be tempting with internal teams to make adjustments and add new items to the project as the weeks progress, but that makes it more difficult to stick to the original timeline.

Plan Carefully.

Before you approach your internal team with details of the project, first take extra time to plan your approach. If possible, make sure you time your transition appropriately. Often the official hand-off takes place once all of the tasks to create the project have been completed. The internal team then takes on the duty of setting things up and ensuring the introduction to customers flows seamlessly. If you can bring in the freelance team to help your internal team in the initial days of the transition, you may find you have fewer issues during that time.

Check in Regularly.

Even after your internal team is on the job, it's important to regularly check in to ensure everything is on track. This is especially true if you have a significant amount of work remaining before your project will be complete. Your project manager should be able to provide regular status updates on your project, as well as advance warning if some part of the project is taking longer than expected. Experts recommend not letting ten days go by without communication if you want to avoid an unexpected delay. If the project is being completed for one of your clients, make sure you clarify that any requests that go outside of the original scope may cost more or cause a delay.

Transitioning a project from an external to an internal team isn't always an easy process. But when businesses plan well in advance, they can take measures to prevent items from slipping through the cracks when work moves from one person to another. In addition to assigning a project manager to oversee everything, businesses should also plan in advance and ask for regular progress updates to keep projects on track.