Why Delegation in Project Management Is So Critical
Project management is so unique and essential because it crosses all organizational boundaries to encompass every department.
Projects don’t succeed or fail solely on the backs of managers. Results rely heavily on an organization’s ability to provide project managers with the support, collaboration, and insights they need to do the assigned job. Project management is often only as strong as its weakest link; any gap in the process can send a whole project out of control.
That’s why it’s so crucial that a project manager has the support of designated roles and can delegate to them in a smooth and integrated process. Delegation in project management is an integral part of a company’s delivery because when it’s done correctly, teams can keep projects under control and execute them flawlessly.
When project managers have the authority to exercise leadership in project management, they’re better set up to optimize internal systems and create changes as they see fit.
The Roles to Delegate in Project Management
Project management involves six roles that combine to provide the basis of control. If any of them fall short or misalign with the others, everyone suffers. Delegation in project management allows you to spread work among teams so that every aspect of planning and delivery is covered, which allows for better control of your project portfolio.
Here are those six roles, grouped into three complementary pairs to show how they all play off one another:
1. Leadership and Expertise
Leadership is what it sounds like. Does a project manager have the ability to oversee the big picture? And do they have support from stakeholders to handle any escalating circumstances?
Escalation can include seeking out expertise because project managers aren’t always subject matter experts. They’ll need the freedom to collect knowledge from experts on technical aspects of the project to determine the next steps. While project managers having some level of expertise on the scope and functions of projects is nice, what they need most is the support to seek answers from specific experts.
Will a project need marketing know-how to cross the finish line? Are engineering-related issues arising? That’s where a subject matter expert can give the situation its proper context and help the project manager resolve it.
2. Analysis and Scheduling
The very definition of project management is re-syncing the plan with reality. Data analysis and scheduling provide the information on how projects are actually going so that teams can update the plan throughout execution.
One barrier to these roles is that many project managers don’t have the necessary analysis and scheduling skills to perform optimally. Another is that the right technologies aren’t always in place. Without the right skills and tools, project managers can’t discern whether their project is in control. In turn, they can’t assemble the expertise and leadership necessary to get the job done.
3. Coordination and Administration
Without every “i” dotted and “t” crossed, the project is out of control on some level.
Mix-ups as simple as communication lapses, cadence delays, or lack of documentation can derail a project. You can have all the soft skills and leadership in the world, but if no one is on the same page, misfires proliferate, and everything becomes uncontrollable.
When managers have top-level support and the ability to delegate mission-critical responsibilities, they can maximize the project portfolio return. But when they lack any of the six supportive elements above, they can get bogged down in the details below their pay grades and out of their wheelhouses. Or worse, tasks can go unfulfilled altogether, and the crucial initiatives — the success of which everyone is relying on — can be lost at sea with no captain.