Delegating project activities is a delicate task, but most often necessary in the management of complex projects.
By working alone you can only do a limited amount of work. Indeed, the hours in a day are limited.
Often, however, especially in the case of the project manager, it will be required to do much more.
This can lead to a real sense of pressure and overload, leading to situations of stress and unhappiness, if not to a real burn out.
One of the most common ways to overcome this limitation is to learn how to delegate the work to other.
If it is done correctly, you can quickly build a group of strong and successful people.
This is why delegation is such an important skill in project management.
In fact, delegation is the main key to maximizing the productivity of a single person.
The problem is that many managers do not know how to delegate effectively, or are not willing to do so unless it is absolutely necessary.
But do not worry, the delegation of the project activities is a skill that, like any other, can be learned and improved over time.
Here are then 7 key suggestions to effectively delegate the project activities.
Delegating project activities : Learn to let go
For the project manager, this is probably the most difficult thing to put into practice.
The biggest problem faced by most managers is, in fact, the inability to abandon part of their work in favor of third parties.
Sometimes you feel so involved in the project and in meeting the deadlines that one can refuse the help of other people.
At other times, it is feared that no one else has the skills or abilities necessary to perform the job effectively. In both cases, we end up overloading ourselves and, paradoxically, moving away from the positive outcome of the project itself.
This is why learning to “let go” becomes fundamental for the success of the project.
But as in all things, the beginning may seem so complicated that is postponed.
“This project is too important … for this time I complete it, next time maybe I will delegate …” (And next time never comes.)
Then a suggestion in order to begin with the process is to start with small steps, thus delegating only the smallest and most basic activities, and then progress.
Delegating project activities : Establish a priority system
Obviously, this system will vary based on experience, sector and types of activities that are normally managed.
Generally speaking, however, it can be helpful to create categories, based on the degree of effort required by a task and the degree of skill.
The category with the highest skills should contain activities that the project manager will have to perform in the first person, while those in the less specialized categories can be delegated.
The degree of commitment is a good reference point in order to understand which are the most important activities to delegate: for example, delegating responsibility for a task of high intensity and low skill will save a lot of time for the project manager.
In order to define the right approach the matrix that Eisenhower, or Covey Matrix, is very interesting and we will discuss about it in a future article.
What we wanted to create in TWproject (in line with this aspect) is the possibility to plan the right priority for each assignment.
Thanks to this the PM can see the assignments for the week, change the priority or remove the points of change: and can do it for every resource involved in the workgroup.
And not only that: Twproject shows the priority assignments wherever possible, even for the individual participant. In this way each component of the project is able to display and monitor the priorities of his assignments.
Delegating project activities : Evaluate the strengths of the team and employees
A project manager should know each team member’s strengths and weaknesses, including his current and potential range of skills.
When delegating, you need to evaluate your team and assign tasks to anyone with the skills most relevant to that activity.
It would seem obvious, but the mistake in which many fall is to delegate to those with the lightest workload or where is most convenient.
Furthermore, it is also important to be consistent. For example, delegating the same type of task to the same team member will increase that individual’s attitude to perform those tasks.
Delegating project activities : Always include instructions
Although the process in the eyes of a project manager seems obvious, you need to make sure to include the instructions for each activity that will be delegated.
If you have specific preferences about how the task should be carried out, this information must be included. If there is a deadline or strict targets, this need to be clear.
Including simple details and instructions from the beginning will avoid much of the communication gap and will allow the colleague to perform the tasks effectively.
Here, then, inserting a specific document, visible only to the operator with the indications of the activity takes only a short time with Twproject, but its benefit is lasting.
This proactive strategic action will definitely be appreciated by the collaborators.
Delegating project activities : Teach new skills
The lack of someone in the team who can perform a certain activity does not mean that work can not be delegated.
Have you ever thought about it?
Most skills can be learned, so do not be afraid to teach these skills as part of the delegation process.
Even if the initial assignment of the first tasks will take more time than is actually saved, this must be seen as an investment.
By transferring these skills, it will be possible to assign all similar activities to that individual in the future, thus saving more time in the long run.
Delegating project activities : Trusting is good, communicating is better
Once a task has been delegated, it is right to trust the collaborator.
This will allow the person to do the job in a serene way.
However, do not be afraid to intervene from time to time and verify that the activity moves as planned.
For example, if the delegation has been done a week ago, it is fair to trust that the team member is working on the task, but activating direct communication is not a wrong step.
This encourages trust and respect within the team and helps to prevent interruptions in communication or understanding.
Delegating project activities : Use feedback
Feedback is the most important part of the delegation process and works in both directions.
If the collaborators have done well a task, it is good to thank them; if the work was not done in the best way, it is good to criticize them constructively in order to avoid the same mistakes in the future.
Likewise, team members must also share their feedbacks and opinions on how the delegation process is working.
This is a fundamental moment in order to determine if the project manager is providing enough information and if the right activities are assigned to the right people.
Delegation is not always easy, but the sooner you start, the sooner you will develop the skills to do it effectively.
At first glance, delegation may seem more problematic than it actually is, but by effectively delegating it is possible to vastly expand the amount of work that can be offered.
Do you regularly delegate in your work? How do you manage the delegation process? Tell us about your experience.