You don’t have to do it all yourself

Hand tasks off to someone who can keep things moving for youWhen you constantly find yourself with more demands than you have time to satisfy, the best solution is to delegate some of those projects to a trusted partner. Ideally, you want to hand stuff off to someone who can keep things moving and make the kind of decisions you would make, without coming back to you with questions every fifteen minutes.

But how do you decide what to delegate to a contracted project manager, and what to keep in-house? Here are five signs it’s time to let go and trust someone else to get the project done:

1.     you keep hearing yourself say, “I don’t have enough time”

If a project looks like it will take a while but doesn’t require your hands-on expertise, delegate it. It’s quite possible your time (which has a price tag of its own, by the way) could generate more value for your organization by spending it on things that only you can do. You’ll accomplish more, and potentially save money in the process.

2.     you are procrastinating because the project is too daunting

If a project has a lot of details you don’t want to deal with, delegate it.

I was recently hired by a city that was building a park. They needed to track down the names and gifts of everyone who had donated money to the project over a ten-year period. This involved going through boxes and boxes of hard copy records, reconciling and consolidating multiple sets of electronic files, attempting to reach every donor personally, and ensuring the gift records were as complete and accurate as possible. I took care of the details so the city’s staff could focus on building the park.

3.     you’ve been known to secretly wish for a mini-me

Maybe you’ve hired an outside team for a special project, but that team still requires a considerable amount of your time for direction and feedback. Having a project manager who thinks like you do, and makes the same decisions you would make, instantly frees your time to focus on other things. All the while, your special project is moving forward as though you were directing it yourself.

I’m in the process of working with a contracted video production team on a project for a long term economic development client. My background in marketing and a long-standing relationship with the client–understanding their culture and how they think, as well as being acquainted with many of the staff–make me a natural fit as a liaison on the project. As a result, the client’s time commitment has been reduced to a fraction of what otherwise would have been required to complete the project.

4.     you’re buried with too much information

Too much information can make it difficult to make important decisions. An outside project manager can help narrow the focus.

I’m working with an education client that needs to make big decisions on a couple of important issues. Much data had already been collected for a variety of purposes–both related and unrelated­–but wasn’t consolidated. I brought the relevant points together, and we outlined what we knew, and what more we needed to find out. Then I solicited bids for and helped select a market research firm to find answers to the remaining questions we have. I serve as the primary contact on the project, so the client is brought in only when there is a question I cannot answer. When the project is complete, we’ll have current, reliable data that will inform major decisions related to future communications and funding.

5.     you want a second opinion

No matter how well you know your organization and what it does, your view is still that of an insider. An outsider’s perspective can be valuable in terms of validating your hunches, and bringing new insights that may be difficult to spot from where you stand.

need someone who can get stuff done, and get it done right? let’s talk.

Project management is as much about tending to the tiny details as it is seeing through the lens of the big picture. The PM who can do both is a rare breed, and I am one of them. Call or email for a no-obligation consultation: 503.325.4485 or [email protected].


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