Do it or Delegate it?
Do you feel like you are the one who is taking care of everything? Do you feel like you never have enough time to do everything on your list and are falling farther behind every day?
Sometimes, even if we are way too busy, we still feel like it takes less time for us to just handle something than to have someone else - who may or may not know how to do it - take care of it. But, the investment of time to delegate a task has a future payoff in saving you time, allowing you to focus on other work, and providing a development opportunity to the person you've delegated to.
It is important, once you decide to delegate a task, to do some planning about what you delegate to whom you delegate, and how you delegate that task. Answering a few questions can set you up for success in your delegation.
How urgent is this task? If the task has to be done quickly, will you have time to explain it to someone else, and do they have the skills to complete the task quickly? If the answer is "no", then you may have to do the task yourself. But do yourself a favor and have someone shadow you so that they can do the task next time.
What is the risk if this task isn't done perfectly? Is this task associated with a key client who doesn't tolerate mistakes? Are there major implications if something goes wrong? If the answer is "yes", then you may have to do the task yourself or make sure that you delegate to a very experienced person.
Is this task a development opportunity for someone else in the team? If the answer is "yes", then give your team members a chance to learn!
How much experience does this person have with the task? The answer to this question will determine how much guidance and follow-up you will need to provide in delegating the task.
Are there resources available to support the person as they handle the task? Make sure you or another experienced person are available as resources.
Once you've answered these questions then:
Select the team member appropriate for the task
Delegate the task and set expectations for timeline and quality as appropriate
Follow-up appropriately per the experience of the person to ensure they are on track to complete the task
Use the time you gain to focus on other priorities!
Let me know if you have other thoughts and experiences with delegation!