Project Management Concepts – Only Assigned Work

I’ve been giving some thought recently as to what lies behind the work we do as project managers. Too often we get caught up in the tools and techniques, the how of what we do, without looking at the concepts and ideas behind it, the why of what we do.

Today, I want to look at one of the fundamental ways we maintain control on a project. As we already know, control is impossible without awareness. So we’ll also look at one of the ways that we can gain that awareness. The concept I am looking at today is: Only work a project team member is doing on something assigned by the project manager is project work.

We know we need both awareness and control of the project. One of the clearest and simplest ways for us to gain awareness is to make sure that only we assign work that project team members do on the project. Indeed, this is one of the purposes of the our role – to allocate the work sensibly, without having to do it all him- or herself.

But by assigning the work, we are also taking control. By doing this, we are demonstrating to the project team that only work assigned like this is work that should be being done on the project. Thus, assigning work gives us more than just awareness, it is also giving us control.

That means that making sure you, as the manager of the project, are the only one handing out the work, and the one making sure that that work is being done, is vital. Only the work that you have assigned should be being done by your team members.

And that gives us our project management concept: Only work a project team member is doing on something assigned by the project manager is project work