How to Handle New Projects With Your Team

In an ideal world, you and your team will put together a quarterly action plan every quarter and then blissfully work on the tasks within that plan making great progress along the way. There will be no surprises, no hurdles, and no obstacles to overcome. But that isn’t how the business world works. There are always going to be last minute presentations, rush orders, and fire drills that pop up that get in the way of our scheduled projects and tasks. The key to making the most of these last-minute opportunities lies in how you delegate and prioritize these new projects within your team.

Ensure a Clean Handoff

A large client calls and asks for a proposal to be made by the end of the week. You are already short staffed, and your to-do list is packed, so you know that getting everything ready by the end of the week is going to be a challenge. It would be easy at this point to write up a jumbled email to your VP of sales asking for the deliverable, and then move on to the next thing on your to-do list. But if done incorrectly, it could cost your business a large contract, so it’s imperative that you give a clean handoff to give your team members the best possible chance for success right out of the gate.

  • You want to make sure to convey the following:
  • Who should do the task?
  • What is needed?
  • When is it needed?
  • To what standard should the work be done?
  • And how are they to close the loop?

Remain Transparent

Once you have the handoff completed, you want to make it as easy as possible to keep everyone in the loop. You can use a project planner like Asana, Basecamp, Zoho Projects, Monday or your preferred planner but you want to make sure that the list of steps and due dates are there for everyone to see, and then part of their responsibility is to round on their projects on the tool every single day. Every single day. If they’ve touched it, they’ve put a comment, changed a percent done, something so that you know where the things stand. And it’s not just you; it’s everybody that’s involved.

Train Your Team to Be Gap Catchers

Now, if you just do the first two items in this article, you are going to start to see success in task delegation. But if you really want to grow and develop as a team, start training those on your team to be gap catchers.

A gap catcher is the person who’s responsible for doing the thing that doesn’t cleanly fall into any one person’s responsibilities.  You know, in the past, when you just handed off tasks versus delegating functional ownership of an area of the business, what that meant was if there was something that didn’t fit cleanly into an area, you were responsible for being the gap catcher and making sure it got handed off or doing it yourself.  As you grow your people and you want to have this advanced delegation part, help them to become the gap catcher in areas of functional responsibility in the business.

In the example of the sales presentation from before, perhaps the presentation needed custom charts and graphics developed to really make an impression on the client. Or maybe some data analytics to help win over the account. The person you delegated the project should be able to identify these pieces that aren’t in their comfort zone and work with others on your team to get the necessary pieces pulled together. Thus, freeing you up to do more high-level tasks.