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Delegating to Junior Business Analysts

We’ve been talking about delegation around Seilevel recently. We’ve added some really bright junior members to our team, and want to be sure we utilize them to the utmost. But, we find a lot of people are having a tough time delegating work to them. Why?

 If you research “Delegation” you’ll find some pretty consistent themes:
  1. Explain the task.
  2. Make sure the person receiving the task has the training they need to do the task.
  3. Empower the person receiving the task to make decisions.
  4. Set a deadline.
  5. Set and perform checkpoints.
Pretty straight forward, huh? Yet, with all of the consistency, why is this still hard? Why is so much written on this topic?

In my opinion, when delegating to a junior business analyst, it’s #2—making sure the person has the training they need—that is the hardest. In a former life, I was a dev manager. I’d hire programmers straight out of college and put them to work. The thing is, they already had a skill set. I just had to layer information on top of that skill set. While we screen for people with aptitude, a lot of time junior BAs don’t yet have a skill set, just the aptitude—they’re analytical and can clearly express concepts using the written word.

My tip for delegating to junior BAs is to really pay attention to that training piece. Don’t just estimate how long it will take to do the task; remember to estimate how long it will take to learn to do the task. When first giving a junior person a task, you might have to invest more time teaching them how to do it than if you do it yourself. In this rapid turn-around world, it can be tough to keep your eye on the longer-term payoff for the time investment. Yet, with bright people, the payoff comes pretty fast. And it is worth it. 

The corollary tip for keeping yourself motivated while doing this is just to remind yourself—“Once I teach them, I won’t have to do it again myself.”

What delegation insights do you have? What have been your biggest challenges in delegation on software requirements?

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