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Next Actions for Delegating

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  • Next Actions for Delegating

    As an individual contributor, I am accustomed to identifying next actions for myself.

    As a project lead, I need to 'farm out' a lot of those next actions.

    Rather than identify such next actions on a project-by-project, day-by-day basis, I am thinking that it might be useful to brainstorm a complete list of recurring delegatable tasks that make up my work days (and maybe the rest of my days too).

    Am thinking this may open up my mind to possibilities, identify what I really like and want to keep for myself, identify what I am willing to accept help with, and free up some cycles for myself.

    What do you think? Do you have a best practice for making such a migration?


  • #2
    Are you delegating next actions or projects?

    This is a challenge I face. Clarifying to the next action level produces a very clear task that can be delegated, but unless you want to micromanage your delegatees, sometimes you will be delegating projects. In this case you will need to be very specific about the outcome you expect, but leave the next action planning to the individual.

    For example:
    Project: Identify new software supplier
    Outcome: Costed proposal for new supplier to meet requirement x
    Next actions might include:
    - Interview business stakeholders to identify requirements
    - Create list of must have and nice to have requirements
    - R&D Google search for suppliers covering this area
    - Shortlist 3 appropriate suppliers
    - Call Supplier 1, 2, 3 to setup demonstration

    Obviously your life will be easier if some of your delegatees use GTD, but if not, some gentle nudges/coaching may help.


    • #3
      You are right on the money -- I want to be delegating projects.

      A thought -- do you think it is micromanaging if I ask the new owner of the project what their next actions will be?



      • #4
        I would say it depends a lot on your past experience with that person and the work that they do. I know if I was delegating something to Person A, they might get something quite different from me than Person B. It could also potentially depend on the project and how much time you've invested in planning before them, if even informally. If the project was given to you and you're going to delegate it straight-away, you may not have given a lot of thought to the steps to get from A to Z. But if you've done some thinking and planning and feel that they need to go down the same path you've envisioned, then you may want to give them some bullet points or ask them for theirs to make sure they're in sync with you.


        • #5
          Remember that you will sometimes (often hopefully?) delegate to people who know more about the project area than you do, so their plan might be better than yours.

          I agree it depends on the amount of thinking you have done to date, the person you are delegating to, your past experience or expectations of their performance and how 'critical' the project is. Some people may need guidance and checking their plan is appropriate, while you can rely on others to get it done.


          • #6
            A good tip for delegating too is to delegate with enough information so it doesn't come back to you with questions.

            And be sure the person you are delegating it to understands the desired outcome. That way you're both pointed in the same direction.


            • #7
              Thanks for the thoughts -- they are helpful.

              An added detail: I know the process, and the people I am delegating to know the content. That is, I am a course developer for software tools -- and I have people who know those tools who are doing some of the development with me. Each of us are expert in our own domains: me course development, them the software tools. And, we do not work at the same site -- so, we do not communicate every day.

              My thought is that I can delegate a project, and I do NOT want to make the decisions on next actions for them -- but I am thinking that I certainly can ASK what their next actions are and identify a date for a 'sanity-check' or 'sync-up' on progress. And, if their next actions do not seem appropriate, we can discuss them.

              So, I am trying to give them as much freedom as possible while not letting them flounder.

              Thanks for your tips.