Project Management

6 Tips for Mastering the Art of Delegation

Andy Jordan is President of Roffensian Consulting S.A., a Roatan, Honduras-based management consulting firm with a comprehensive project management practice. Andy always appreciates feedback and discussion on the issues raised in his articles and can be reached at [email protected]. Andy's new book Risk Management for Project Driven Organizations is now available.

Even for experienced PMs, delegation can be tricky. I have come across many PMs who don’t delegate enough, many who delegate too much, and many who delegate about the right amount—but not the right things. So, for new PMs, effective delegation can be a real minefield. But it’s also an important skill to develop.

Delegation has a number of benefits. It helps team members to take on additional responsibilities and allows them to explore whether they might be interested in another role in the organization. A PM delegating some of their work to people on the team is the most common example, but delegation can also be enabled among team members.

Projects benefit from delegation because it provides an opportunity to temporarily equalize workloads to help keep things on track—hence the idea of delegating across people in the team.

Project managers always have a lot of things to juggle, so delegation by the PM is the most commonly considered solution. With new PMs likely to take a little longer on some tasks as they become familiar with them, delegation is even more attractive as a way to help prevent things from falling behind. But it’s not quite that simple.

Delegation involves assigning someone else responsibility for completing a task, but the original owner—the project manager in this case—retains accountability. Delegation …

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"The power of accurate observation is often called cynicism by those who don't have it."

- George Bernard Shaw