I received several emails this week in response to my recent Podcast on delegated tasks. One of the interesting messages was from Adrian Trenholm, a web development consultant in the UK. (Be sure to check out Adrian's work here.) Adrian's comments and suggestions could be applied to most any of us who blog or podcast on technical subjects. With Adrian's permission, I've posted the email here: [URLs added]
Just finished listening to your Podcast (over the speakers on my PC - I don't own an iPod - in case you are collecting user data). Congratulations. You asked for feedback, so:
1. I enjoyed the clarity and precision of your presentation - I am in Toastmasters so that kind of thing matters to me.
2. You used the "tell 'em what you going to tell 'em; tell 'em; tell em what you have told 'em" technique, but I think you could have been even more explicit in the way that you divided up the parts of your presentation, in fact I wonder if there is a way of saying: "in the first two minutes I will deal with x, at two minutes I will deal with y and at four minutes I will tackle z." This would enable users to shuffle through your presentation to relevant material.
3. Content-wise, "people first, then processes, then technology" is always the right message and bears repeating at every possible opportunity, so well done on that.
4. The four point plan for implementing delegated tasks seemed a bit generic at first listen, but on reflection, I think you pitched it right, because you want the team to discuss between themselves the mechanics of how they are going to use the technology and that discussion becomes an important part of setting up the right process. A prescriptive "press button a, then button b" approach will likely discourage that discussion of process and protocols.
5. Didn't like the jingle - it's a personal thing.
For future material on this subject, you might consider reading To Do, Doing, Done by Snead and Wycoff. They offer some excellent thoughts on delegation: their model is ARC - authority, responsibility and commitment. The book is from Franklin Covey, but the best bits works within GTD, which I am using at the moment (or rather getting back on the wagon with).
The other thing that you didn't mention (outside the scope, I guess) is that increasingly teams include freelancers, and people from different companies, so not everyone is on the same technology anyway, eg I use LifeBalance to track projects, next actions and calendar, I still use Outlook for email, with a system of dated flags and a filtered in-box, to tickle appropriate mails to future dates. I regularly work with people who use Gmail, Thunderbird and Barca, and who use Mac and PC. It would be interesting to hear your thoughts on that and also on Web based project management applications like Basecamp from 37 signals.
You have certainly got me thinking that a discussion between team members and the establishment of protocols for delegation is an essential action at the start of any project, regardless of the technology used. Yes, the people and the process are the most important things. The technology is secondary.
Well done, looking forward to hearing more.
Thanks, Adrian, for the helpful feedback! Suggestions noted and added to my checklist for future Podcasts.
I will look for your comments (and suggestions) on future posts.
Glad to know I've got at least one fan outside of the family. :-)
PS. Was the intro music really that bad? I tried for something short and energetic.