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Project Management: Tips for Delegating to Achieve Results

Project managers know that the purpose of delegating isn't to lighten anyone's workload; rather, it's to achieve results. Delegation always involves some risk because you have to live with the consequences of someone else’s decisions. However, when you're managing a project, you won’t get it completed without delegating.

You must reinforce and support your delegations of authority, or you can find yourself doing the task you thought you had assigned to someone else.

Follow these steps to improve your team member’s chances for successful performance:

  • Clarify what you want to delegate: Describe in unambiguous terms the activity you want the other person to perform and the results you want her to achieve. If necessary, also explain what you don’t want the person to do.

  • Choose the right person: Determine the skills and knowledge you feel a person must have to perform the task successfully, and don’t delegate the task to a person who lacks these skills and knowledge.

  • Make the delegation correctly: Explain the activity to be performed, the effort you expect the person to expend, and the date she should have the activity completed. Put this information in writing for clarity and future reference.

  • Be available to answer questions: Maintaining contact while the person performs the task allows you to ensure that any ambiguities and unexpected situations encountered are resolved promptly and to your satisfaction. It also conveys to the person that the task is important to you.

  • Monitor performance: Set up frequent, well-defined checkpoints at which you can monitor the person’s performance. Then keep that schedule.

  • *Promptly address problems that arise: If you feel the person’s performance isn’t satisfactory, discuss your concerns and develop steps to bring it back on track.

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