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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.

randellt's picture

No offense taken. Delegating is...

No offense taken. Delegating is my weakest professional area. This thread is good for me (hopefully others too) because it is making me think more deeply by you all challenging me on what I write. Keep it coming!

I likely have sub-concious trust issues. I definitely have toxic worry (David Hallowell term) about this because I am always worrying that work is progressing and deadlines are met because we have an extremely demanding schedule here that does not jive well with the time we need to do truly good engineering work. That's a concern of my staff too.

I do not outwardly micro manage where I am on top of my staff asking for updates every minute and making them think I do not trust them. I use weekly review meetings with the team to keep track of their projects so I can adequately report back up the chain of command and to see if they need help un-sticking anything.

Clearly I am inwardly micro managing because I am asking the questions and making the statements here that have prompted the feedback from people.

Just this morning on the commute to work I asked myself, "What if you just completely let go of a project once you are confident the other person understands what needs to be delivered and the date it is needed?" My answer is that I would feel a whole lot lighter and the probability of the project delivering just fine are high because I work with excellent people.

Conclusion: Stop the toxic worry. Trust the people to do the right thing. Rely on the tracking mechanisms we all use to stay informed without getting too involved. Keep other people's "stuff" out my system.




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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