I'm in a situation at work where I have to transfer responsibility of a large code base that I inherited, re-factored and enhanced to another developer. This is the first time that I have to do such a thing and although I always thought it would be trivial the actual steps I have to follow seem vague.

The code base I maintain is a module that includes a lot of stuff such as

  • A persistence layer
  • A service layer
  • A presentation layer which sadly has a lots of business code in it
  • An interface for module interaction

I also have very good knowledge of the business assumptions made when it was developed as well as its technical foundation.

I know that I can go with my mind's flow and give it my best but I prefer to do it in the most professional manner I can. So, I would like to ask you for advice on how I should approach this situation. Are there any standard procedures and good practices that I could follow?

  • 1
    When you say "the actual steps I have to do seem vague" are you referring to something specific? I didn't see actual steps listed in the question. Or do you mean you only have a vague idea yourself of what to do. It's not entirely clear from the question. Clarification will probably improve answers. – Michael Durrant Jul 2 '14 at 12:28

Transferring responsibility for a code base is not that different from getting another developer assigned to your team, working together for some time and then leaving the team yourself. The biggest difference would be in the time that you work together, which is likely to be very short to non-existent when talking about a transfer.

When preparing the code base (and everything around it) for the transfer, picture in your mind how you would like to find the project if you come fresh to it and try to put the project in that state. That typically means:

  • The design is documented, if possible with reasons why the design is as it is and why the alternatives don't work
  • The business assumptions are documented
  • If there are any project accounts, their login details are available

Depending on the reasons for the code transfer, it might be expected or create goodwill to be available after the transfer to answer questions from the new guy.

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