The Ask: A Management Tool to Expedite Tasks

Project Manager's AskFrom various engagements, consultants get to see the best practices of top organizations worldwide. A good tool or technique usually becomes part of the consultant’s repertoire of best practices.

In the last few months, I have learned the concept of “the ask”. In a project, you need to have a clear understanding of the “project sponsor’s ask”. What is it that s/he is asking you to deliver?

When delegating tasks to team members, be explicit on what you are “asking” them to do. Do you want them to review the documents and provide feedback, or do you want them to edit and finalize the documents?

Instead of simply forwarding an e-mail with an FYI tell them what to do with it—“no action is needed” or “add a calendar reminder”.

A clear “ask” can expedite the completion of tasks.

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Distinguishing Delegation from Dumping

DelegationI received a direct message from one of my Twitter followers. He posited that I learn how to effectively delegate tasks. He even had a matching URL along the lines of “delegate what you hate to do.”

Do you see a paradox here?

Delegation is not just about “getting stuff off your plate” so that you can do bigger and greater things. If done properly, delegation is an excellent management tool for succession planning, skills development and staff motivation. Getting rid of unpleasant tasks should not be the primary reason for delegation.

Proper delegation provides the persons or teams who will do the work with opportunities to try something different, perhaps even stretch their limits. If there is no challenge, growth and/or motivation that can be gained from the delegated task, chances are, it is closer to dumping than delegating.

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