Transition Timeline and Guide

Transition teams need tools and techniques to manage a seamless presidential hand-off. The Center conducted extensive interviews with former transition leaders, analyzed decades of academic research, collected hundreds of documents from prior transitions and assessed the effects of new legislation to create a comprehensive transition timeline, process map and guide. The updated Presidential Transition Guide includes lessons learned from the 2016 transition, new documents, graphics and templates, as well as a new chapter on planning for second term transitions.

We segmented the timeline into specific workstreams—for the incoming administration, the outgoing administration and current federal agency staff. We organized the work by month with specific recommendations and related tools and resources, so transition stakeholders can jumpstart their work.

Pick your workstream below and get started, or download the complete guide for an in-depth view of the entire presidential transition process.

Presidential Transition Guide

Comprehensive guide to the activities required during the transition.

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Transition Workstreams



Incoming Administration

Agency Review

The agency review team is responsible for collecting information about the unique roles and responsibilities of each major department and agency of the federal government, and providing information that is relevant, useful and important to the new administration.

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Appointments

The goal of a presidential transition team is not only to help the president-elect prepare to take office, but to fill roughly 4,000 politically appointed positions, including more than 1,000 jobs requiring Senate confirmation.

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Operations

The operations and support functions of the transition team must provide the backbone for a fast moving, rapidly growing and changing office from spring of the election year through the inauguration.

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Policy

It is the job of the presidential transition policy team to prioritize the major issues and campaign promises that a candidate ran on and lay the groundwork for these policies to be implemented once the president-elect takes office.

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Outgoing Administration

A successful presidential transition requires planning and preparation not only on the part of the incoming transition team, but also on the part of the outgoing president and administration.

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Federal Agencies

The various departments and agencies in the executive branch must be prepared for the significant policy and personnel changes that will occur with the election of a new president.

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