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Professional WordPress – Part 2 : Delegating


This is the 2nd post in a series of posts titled “Professional WordPress”. The 1st post is about Client Training.

I’ve never been an expert at Delegating. The biggest fear I always have is if the person will be able to do the task with the same quality & in the same time as I can.

Being a developer, a few months back I used to fear giving the admin details of my live wordpress website to my colleagues. I used to fear if they will mess up something on the live site. So whenever we had to do any edit on the live site, even as small as adding a testimonial, I had to do it myself. If I had to look up a license key for one of our clients, I had to do it myself.

These are little things that may not take more than 5 minutes, but if I have to do many of them, then it does take significant amount of time.

So initially I used to create user roles for my colleagues that would have limited access. But even after doing that, there was always something that I had to do, which I wish someone else could do it because I wanted to focus my time on something else.

Eventually I decided to trust them & gave them what was needed so I could delegate those tasks. Things have been a bit easier since then.

There are many such instances where I didn’t delegate because I didn’t trust the person that he or she will not mess up anything else while performing the task.

It requires giving training to the person to help ensure that they do not mess up. You have to spend that time in order to save your time in future on that task.

In a recent presentation at WordCamp Europe 2014, Chris Lema mentioned “If it took someone 9.5 times longer then you to do, it was still worth delegating”. He was quoting the results of an IBM study done about 20 years back. I couldn’t agree more.

You do not become an expert at something the first time you do it. It takes time.

Delegating = Training

Delegating is not just about delegating little things. It could be something like replying to your customer’s emails when you are away on a vacation.

In the last 6 months, I took 2 vacations, not 2 actually, 1 vacation of 10 days & 1 business trip of about 1.5 months.

On both occasions, I was a little worried that how would all the emails coming to our support email account be replied to. Those emails are sometimes about estimates, sometimes they are just questions about what a plugin can/cannot do, sometimes complaints & so on.

I was worried on delegating this because each email requires a different reply, a different tone. My colleagues were not trained to handle this. I hadn’t trained them.

Initially I used to ask them to get the emails approved from me before they reply. I used to point out what to change in the email & why it has to be written in a certain way. After a point of time, I didn’t need to approve their emails. Now, the only time I approve something is a cost estimate.

It’s not that they did not make mistakes. They did. But it was important to train them with every mistake & to ensure it didn’t get repeated.

There is no alternative to delegating. When you delegate, you are actually only training. Unless they are trained, they cannot be an expert at something.

Trust them, train them & delegate.

Life is a lot easier when you know there is someone else who can take care of everything when you are not available.

The video for the presentation on Professional WordPress by Chris Lema is available here on Youtube.

Browse more in: Personal reflections, WordPress
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