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Finding the boundary between my 'stuff' and other people's 'stuff'

I'm in the very early phases (just started this morning :) ) of re-evaluating my GTD knowledge and developing a new system for myself. Essentially I am a long time believer (first read in Nov 2002) but have never implemented a system that I followed for more than a few days. I am like most of us here. Easily distracted, too much to do, in love with pr0n and all the other reasons we have a tough time actuallying "doing" GTD.

Reading David Hallowell's book, "Crazy Busy", one sentence really stuck in my brain. ?Just get well enough organized so that disorganization doesn?t keep you from reaching your goals.? That catalyzed my desire to really do it this time and follow through.

So fare I have generated a few lists of questions and statements to catalyze my thinking and creativity and I ran into an inrteresting point I thought would be good for this group to weigh in on as I am sure it affects more than just me.

A little context to help frame this. I am a middle-level manager in a large (5,000+ people globally) IT shop with four engineers reporting to me and a lot projects in motion at any time, typically around 40. I am directly/personally "doing" things for about 15% of the total number of projects. The rest are delegated and I need to keep an eye on them. Our department has a rudimentary project tracking mechanism via a glorified Excel spreadhseet that the management team uses across all teams to provide a cohesive view for our boss.

The question I asked myself is, "Do I need to put everyone's projects in my system?"

I think this is one of several things that has sabotaged my previous attempts to set up a working system because with 40 or so projects among 4 people and around 200 possible NAs I get flustered and terrified of how much that really is to keep on top of and I run for the hills. I have not made up my mind but I think if I keep a list of projects that are delegated along with who has them, when I need the next update and some text for the latest update I may be able to reduce the fear factor by making them a smaller part of the population in my system. I need to be detailed on the projects an NAs that are mine and that's what I want the focus on.

Anyone have something to say? Have you tried this and succeeded or failed?

I will chronicle my trials and tribulations of the whole process at http://insidethebox.wordpress.com for anyone interested. I figure it adds pressure of putting out for the public to read so I don't want to give up so easy.

jethro.'s picture

My challenge is not with...

randellt;5701 wrote:
My challenge is not with trust and letting go. My challenge is keeping on top of all the projects my staff is working on because it's part of my responsibilities.

No offense intended, Terrence, but those two statements are contradictory. If you delegate a project to a subordinate, it is not your responsibility, it is HER responsibility. To avoid micromanagement, you just need to check in on a regular basis.

I delegate more than 90 percent of my work to my project managers. In a sense, they are an integral part of my trusted system. Those tasks are not on my radar unless 1) someone has a question about them, or 2) we're holding our biweekly status meeting. Depending on the nature of your projects, that biweekly check-in might be weekly or even more frequent. Meet enough to ensure progress, but not so much that you're being pushy. (How's that for specificity? :) ) Those regular meetings become part of the hard landscape, and generally have few next actions associated with them.

Again, I apologize if this post comes across as strident. I have extensive experience in delegating poorly, and it's just in the last couple of years that delegation has clicked on all cylinders for me, so I look forward to sharing what I've learned. Best of luck!




An Oblique Strategy:
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