What makes this situation even more frustrating is the fact that you knew you did your part properly, but the delay was caused by an external factor. It’s no wonder that you are getting mad when this situation occurs. Yet, you have to make a reality check and step in the front of the mirror.
When you work on your own and there are no interactions or dependencies on other people, things are pretty simple: you are just responsible to answer to yourself if you miss the deadline you set for finishing your project.
However, it’s a completely different ballgame when your project has dependencies on other people. Then it’s not just about you and if you manage to do your work on time – the contribution of others is also affecting the project and whether it is or not finished in time to meet the specific deadline.
The major cause for frustration in this situation is that agreed contribution is not delivered on time. Or, if they get back to you, they are not respecting the original agreed-upon deadlines. This might have severe consequences to your project’s progress. In the worst case scenario your project might even halt completely, until the external contribution is done.
Ultimately these kinds of problems are caused by inefficient delegation and communication. And no matter how much you would like to blame others for slowing down the project, also you have to take a look at yourself at the mirror.
Ask yourself: Did you delegate efficiently? Was the delegated work prioritized properly? Was your communication clear? When did you expect others to get back to you? Did you follow-up the progress?
So although others may be doing part of the work, ultimately it’s you who is responsible for being in charge and preventing potential delays as much as possible.
To understand your project dependencies better, sit down for a moment and go through all possible scenarios where an outsider’s help is needed: Is it graphic design? Is it proofreading? Is it setting up your WordPress site?
Gather all the dependencies in a list and gain better understanding of what is needed by when, so that the project keeps rolling nicely along.
Next, prioritize your delegations. Getting the delegated work done as early as it’s possible prevents most unexpected delays in your project.
When you start delegating, communication is also a key. Expressing clearly what you want and by when cuts down all the unnecessary assumptions and everyone is on the same line when it comes to assignments and deadlines.
Also, try to work with reliable partners. Sometimes you may have to work with someone who you didn’t know before. However, if it’s possible, choose someone who you are already familiar with and who you trust. This reduces the potential situations where work is not done within agreed timeframe.
Finally, have a backup plan for your work if everything is not going as expected. This way you can focus on doing something else, until the external contribution is done.
Here are the steps to avoid delays in your project and delegate the workload properly. The goal here is to minimize lost time and delegate as effectively as possible.
As you can see, sometimes the delays of your work are related to other parties working on your project alongside you. Most of these delays can be prevented by doing some planning in advance, and prioritizing tasks and with clear articulation. Even though others may have caused the delays, it’s ultimately your job to minimize those delays as much as possible.
It’s your turn now: How do you handle dependencies to other people working on your project? How do you make sure that the tasks others are doing are done in time?
Share your comments and tips below.
(Photo credit: Computer Sabotage with Grenade via Shutterstock)
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