Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Trust but verify

Derek Sivers on the management technique of "Trust but verify".

The door to the walk-in vault in the Winona Sa...Image via Wikipedia
Trust but verify: "
a few devastating times, I found out that I had tried too hard not to micro-manage. I hadn’t managed at all. I had said something once, thought it was understood and agreed, and assumed the best.
But things had gone horribly wrong. Months of orders had not been processed. Money had disappeared from the bank. Projects I thought were underway had never been started.
In all of the cases, a simple one-minute verification along the way would have prevented everything.
I could get mad at them, but really it was my fault for not building that verification step into the plan.
Not micro-managing, it can be as simple as:
  • asking them to email you when done with each step
  • or a “dashboard” style monitor showing the progress of projects
  • or a simple note-to-self system to check in with someone a few days after you’ve assigned them something, to make sure it’s going OK
  • or anything! - but don't ignore it.
So here I am sharing one of my hardest delegation lessons learned, in hindsight.

National Copper Bank, Salt Lake City 1911Image via Wikipedia
Trust but verify.

The "Dashboard" style project monitor, or a progress bar that shows actual against projected - good ideas.

Very nice comment, here:
comment - Kamran Salehi (2009-11-24)

To take this concept one step further: Delegate the verification !

This is a method I resorted to as my teams were growing. Name the effort a project and assign a project manager to it. This can be a rotating role. So at the same time “Jim” can be the project manager for one project where “Julie” has tasks, and “Julie” can be the project manager of another project in which “Jim” has tasks. You still need to check with your project managers periodically. But it gets you even one more step away from doing everything yourself and micromanaging.

Very smart! Good one. -- Derek

Very interesting idea - a rotating job of "verifying" project manager.
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