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Delegation of Projects: A Guide to Successful Delegation

written by: Cayden Conor • edited by: Donna Cosmato • updated: 10/2/2011

Delegation is important to the success of a business, and if done correctly, ensures that you, co-workers and your employees all work together as a team to get large jobs done smoothly.

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    As a project manager, your tasks are many and often complicated. You also have to contend with deadlines. It may look like the job is Project Management Meeting - Wikimedia - US Army - PD impossible to complete on deadline, but if you’ve mastered the art of delegation, you can easily complete the job on or before the deadline.

    Before you start a project, outline the tasks it takes to complete the job. You should already know your co-workers and employees and their strengths and weaknesses. If not, this is a good time to learn. Hold a meeting to determine which person best fits certain tasks.

    Draft a chart with the tasks at the top. Assign each task to an employee or co-worker by writing their names under the respective tasks. If you do not have documentation in place regarding how each co-worker or employee should report to you, set this up so that each employee or co-worker knows whether to complete a task and bring the finished product to you or whether each person should check in with you throughout the process.

    You may also require meetings throughout the project so that each person may give you a status update on his or her progress. Meetings also help everyone involved in the project to know where others stand on their tasks, which could be important of one task needs to be completed before it can be integrated with another task or if the tasks overlap each other.

    When using delegation to complete a complex project, you must also be careful not to micromanage each person, as that could take more time than actually doing the entire project yourself.

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    Delegation is the best way to get large projects done quickly. Done properly and without micromanagement, it allows extra time for additional projects. This results in an increase in business production and profits.

    Delegation of projects also leads to management experience for you, and if done properly with a minimum of micromanagement and issues, shows your boss you can handle larger and larger projects, which could eventually lead into a supervisory or other management position.

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    Tracking the Progress of the Team

    Once you’ve delegated tasks in a project, you need to track the progress of the team. Even with meetings, you should, at a minimum,Project Management Knowledge Areas  track the progress using a spreadsheet. You can also purchase or download free tracking programs to help you keep track of where each person is on his or her project.

    If you are going to track the progress of the team manually, your spreadsheet should have the project name, start and finish dates, manager name, the names of the team members, the project description, the project budget and milestones and deadlines.

    Keeping track of all the delegated tasks ensures that you know where each person is progress-wise on his or her task so you do not have any surprises when it is time to put all the pieces of the project together. It also allows you to offer your help to those who are falling behind in their part of the projects.

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    Avoiding Micromanagement

    Micromanaging is when you constantly have to input yourself into your team’s tasks. It comes from not being able to trust your team to complete its share of the project. Once you assign a task as part of a project, give your team room to work and to come up with its own ideas and solutions.

    Part of allowing your team to work on its own is to have an open door policy. This allows individual members of the team to come to you as soon as a problem arises. This serves two functions: you do not have to micromanage, because you know your team members will come to you with a problem, and it tells your team members that you are interested in their ideas and solutions. It also tells them that you are willing to help them when they come up against a problem or issue with the project task or another team member.

    Hold weekly meetings so that your team members may update the entire team on the status of their individual tasks. This allows others to give input, if needed, on a task that another team member may be “stuck" on.

    Offer suggestions in team meetings and ask for ideas from other team members if one of the team members needs help with a solution. You do not have to be the only one to make suggestions.

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    Delegation and Leadership Skills

    In order to be able to delegate tasks in a project, you must have leadership skills. Leadership skills include communication skills especially if your team is a virtual team and spread out across the city, state or country.

    Being a strong person with a Type A personality does not make you a leader. This type of person would rather do it him- or herself, thinking that he or she can get it done better and faster. This is not necessarily true, especially on large projects. If you do not have the proper leadership skills, even though you may delegate, you could end up micromanaging your team, which could lead to missed deadlines.

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    Once you plan and delegate the tasks for the project, let your team work on their own, unless they come to you for advice on finding a solution. Keep the entire team updated on each member’s progress, but do not micromanage the team. If you feel like you need to be in the thick of things, ask your team members to shoot you an email with a status update at the end of the work day.

    Feedback from team members is important. It helps keep the project manager from micromanaging the team.

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