Don’t violate the delegation

PM:     I am a business analyst and also playing a role of project manager for some time now. The plan was to completely move to project manager’s role and therefore we identified a good business analyst BA whom I wanted to takeover business analyst role completely. We initially planned for 2 months but it is now 4 months and I still do not see he is taking ownership.

VP:      Why do you think, he is not taking ownership?

PM:     I still take decisions for him. Some time back we took a project and told him that he was responsible for requirements completely. During the course, we found that the work is more than 1 person, so we added another resource RS and told him that she would work with him. I don’t see him coordinating with RS and trying to understand overall progress, I only have to do it.

VP:      Did you ask BA before adding RS to project?

PM:     No, the work was lagging. We needed one more person.

VP:      That’s right but don’t you think BA is owner of the module and should be consulted moreover allowed to take decision if additional resource was required?

PM:     Hmmm!

This is one of the biggest hidden trap in delegation. As we saw in above example, PM himself took the decision of taking additional resource instead of talking to BA and helping him to think over slow progress. We never know how many times we take such decisions and violate the delegation. This especially happens when delivery is time bound and progress is slow. The pressure starts building up, we become desperate to take action and if we do so, we violate the delegation.

Once we have delegated the work, we lose the right to take decisions. If we have planned regular follow ups, we will identify well in time that a decision is required but the person is not feeling the need of the same. In such situations we need to facilitate the decision. We should highlight the issues or problems to the team member and listen to his opinion. We can ask similar investigative questions to sensitize and make him feel the need of a decision. There is a fare possibility that the person has some alternative approach to deal with the situation. So be ready to accept, we mean business not the method.

We should remember that we can only facilitate, we cannot take the decision our self. If we take the decision, we take the ownership and violate the delegation. Then ownership stays with us, not with the team member and we should not expect him to behave as owner.

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