What should PM Delegate ?

Delegation is not covered well in the PMBOK. However I would like to know what can PM Delegate and what cannot be delegated.

admin's picture

If there is a question in exam around delegation, try to watch for the options as follows

  •  Technical stuff - All technical stuff can be delegated
  • WBS and similar items - Remember that WBS  , estimation etc is best done by project team rather than PM
  • Working with customers on Technical details. PM need not be involved. He can just be informed.

PM Should not delegate value added stuff which are mainly responsibilities like

  • Motivating team members
  • Giving out rewards. You can invite senior managers but not delegate
  • Watchout for things in PMBOK where it says this is PM;s responsibility. 

If you have access to PMI.org you can read a chapter on Delgation by Vijay Verma. It is a small chapter and should be quick. My thought are:

 Delegation is needed otherwise a manager will kill him self and would be like Theory X manager.  You should delgate stuff which also helps 'Team building' it is like training next generation of Managers. Some managers are reluctant to delegate b/c they don't trust the team member or the can do it quickly b/c of their experience.  Or there is a fear in their mind that someone will do better job (job security) or that they will loose power in the future. But delegation should be consider an opportunity to grow yourself to the next higher level in the organization. Technical stuff, routine stuff or stuff needed to train the whole team or make the work different and exciting should be delegated. Work that require strategic planning or councelling rewarding (like fatherly figure) should not be delegated.

The process of Delegation has 4D (Drop, Delay, Delegate and Do) also the book talks about 2 ETFPs

Entrust/Enlist, Teach/Trust, Familiarize/Follow up and Praise/Participate.

 I hope I won't be killed by this topic in the exam next week.

Save me God!



I took the test today and had a question about delegation.  I picked the technical option for delegation.  The other ones were obvious things that a good leader could not delegate.  The other post had it exactly right.

I post a relatively simple question that I think is related to DELEGATION:

If customer has requested you a change,what will u do as a pm ?
a) see how if affects tripple constraints
b) discuss it with team
c) Contact the senior management.

Answer is a) but according to DELEGATION it could be b) justified FIRST to  discuss it with the team (b) in order to analyze the triple contraint (a).

Please comment.

Thanks for any replies,



admin's picture

You should first check if there is an impact to triple constraint then you would discuss with the team. If you are not sure if there is an impact then you can take team's help to do impact analysis.

This is related to change management .

Delegation would occur when as a PM you have to manage tasks that you can be done by others or you want to create backups. 

I actually count many dates of PMP prep, but situational questions on delegation, change etc. keep confusing me...I realize it's not my strong point!!

Is there not a magic pill but some let's say flow chart on what is suggested to check FIRST in order to derive the right answer?

Thanks for the reply...



Can you please send the link to pmi.org for the chapter referred to delegation by Verma? I could not locate it, instead site search engine gave many (paid) articles and books referred to delegation!

Thanks and Bye



Delagation is a delicated matter. The PM should take a LOT of care in delegating, cause it may lead to another problem: people in the team struggling and fighting for possition.

 A PM must MANAGE the project with team's HELP, and not delegate a lot of management activies and step up the high degree and keep watching things happen.

 Besides that, team should spend time DOING the project and not worried about MANAGEMENT.

Why you should ALWAYS assess the impact of a change or decision BEFORE you involve the team? Because your team's time is GOLD. You should not bother them all the time to help you analyze something and make decisions. If your team is managing the project, who is working?

Remember team's work is like a pit stop. You loose time stopping and accelerating. Imagine stopping at all laps...

You should delegate things related to their work, involve them where they can help, AT THE RIGHT MOMENT.

A PM should be at the bottom of the pyramid, serving (and not being a servant) others. Protect you team's work is one of the most important thing to do.

To be sure if you should delegate something, think: It's worth changing my team member priorities? Is there a benefit? Is it going to generate any kind of conflict or am I going to loose team cohesiveness?

That's why rewards like "employee of the month" are NOT good choices. It can hurt team cohesiveness. Prefer things that everyone can achieve depending on their own.  This is very similar to delegating...