How to manage delegation efficiently

Mateusz

Registered
I am a COO in a middle size company. My everyday job is to deal with other people including delegation a lot of tasks.

And here is the case:
Let's say it's Sunday evening. I am doing my GTD weekly review, so I am checking my inbox.
I check the next item, think about it and figure out that I should delegate it to someone else. So basically I should delegate it and put it on my "waiting for" list.
Sounds easy but it's not. I can't delegate a task without previous information to that person. Sometimes a little explanation to that person is also needed. What I do is I always put that task on my "Next actions" list with context dedicated to that person (agenda). I do "physical" delegation and then I put the task on my "waiting for" list. Eventually, when I decide to delegate something to someone else I have to plan a two steps process. Of course, I do these steps in my GTD software. I did this in Nozbe and now I do the same in Nirvana.

How do you manage these things? Is there a more efficient way?
I thought about something like this: I can put a task that I want to delegate on my "waiting for" list instantly but with an additional tag like @agenda which means I want to talk to that person too. And remove the tag after the talk. Nonetheless, in this solution, I am afraid that I can't truly trust my "waiting for" list if I put there items that aren't delegated ultimately.
 

Popp2018

Registered
Assuming that delegating the item will take more than one step, then I’d have thought you could create a project ie ‘Delegate X to Y’, and then identify the relevant next actions. Eg ‘collate background info on X’, ‘Call Y and see if they have capacity’, ‘Send background info to Y’, ‘Email Y to confirm handover and agree dates for deliverables’.

Then it would go on your Waiting For list.
 

RS356

Practicing GTD since 2005
I track items delegated to my direct reports on agenda lists, with regular 1-on-1 meetings. My waiting for list is for items delegated to those with whom I work less frequently.
 

Geeko

GTD since 2017
I would handle my items to delegate just the way you do: Put the item on my agenda list and after I really delegated it (which means that I have no further actions on that item except waiting and maybe nudging the person I delegated it to) it goes on my waiting for list. That way I make sure that I do not wait for something that still needs any action from my side.

Cheers,
Tristan
 

Rostane

Registered
What about having a 'buffer' of tasks to delegate and let anyone who can do it to take care of it. Of course, it depends on your organization and tools you use but it's really the spirit of 'first there will take care of it.'
What do you think ?
 

Mateusz

Registered
What about having a 'buffer' of tasks to delegate and let anyone who can do it to take care of it. Of course, it depends on your organization and tools you use but it's really the spirit of 'first there will take care of it.'
What do you think ?
It would be nice but unfortunately it’s not possible.
For now I keep two steps approach.
 

Loukas

Registered
@Mateusz , I know this thread is almost 2yrs old, but are you still using the same method for delegating?

A solution I am thinking of implementing personally is the typical Agile or Kanban workflow, using task boards for team delegation & follow-up.

For example, you can use Trello, where tasks move from left to right columns based on status:
- Backlog
- To discuss with xxx
(name of your colleague) -> the items you need to delegate
- Work In Progress -> tagged with the name of the person working on it
- For review -> task is moved here when finished & ready for your review
- Done

You can use this board for your regular update meetings (15' every morning & longer status update weekly, etc) to keep things getting completed.

There are a number of benefits in such an approach:
1) You know how much workload everyone has
2) It is clear what everyone is working on
3) You have a common place to use for the regular update meetings
4) There is inherent prioritization, if you limit the number of tasks under column Work In Progress
etc

The disadvantage is that this is another location you need to check for tasks - duplication.

Your comments?
 
Last edited:

mcogilvie

Registered
@Mateusz , I know this thread is almost 2yrs old, but are you still using the same method for delegating?

A solution I am thinking of implementing personally is the typical Agile or Kanban workflow, using task boards for team delegation & follow-up.

For example, you can use Trello, where tasks move from left to right columns based on status:
- Backlog
- To discuss with xxx
(name of your colleague) -> the items you need to delegate
- Work In Progress -> tagged with the name of the person working on it
- For review -> task is moved here when finished & ready for your review
- Done

You can use this board for your regular update meetings (15' every morning & longer status update weekly, etc) to keep things getting completed.

There are a number of benefits in such an approach:
1) You know how much workload everyone has
2) It is clear what everyone is working on
3) You have a common place to use for the regular update meetings
4) There is inherent prioritization, if you limit the number of tasks under column Work In Progress
etc

The disadvantage is that this is another location you need to check for tasks - duplication.

Your comments?
Using a less Kanban-type approach, I tend to duplicate next actions, mostly going between “agenda” and “waiting for”, with some things for me to do. However, the people I interact with are motivated self-starters, and are generally accountable for results rather than process.
 

John Ismyname

Registered
Thanks to Loukas for reviving this thread. In this day and age where people are working more remotely, it is timely to re-visit. A key thing @Mateusz wrote was "I can't delegate a task without previous information to that person. Sometimes a little explanation to that person is also needed." He is trying to avoid what I call a "drive by delegation"! (Kinda like a drive by shooting!) What does the delgatee need to complete the asssignment you are delgating? In GTD, this is the next action. In this example, he states "tag like @agenda which means I want to talk to that person". As it's Sunday night in his example, he'd want to create an appointment to telephone or drop-by to give this employee the new task. If he needs to set an appointment by email, he could do that now (in keeping with the two minute rule). Is there info that the delgatee needs before this meeting that can be emailed out? This should be included.

Thus, I see the meeting/call to delegate as a task or appointment in-and-of-itself for me, as the delgator and for the delgatee.

 
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