Delegation template

A draft template of things to include when delegating something:

The job in a sentence:

(So that the delegatee immediately knows what’s going on)

When it must be done by:

(Good to know now, likely that they’ll refer back for this so it’s nice to have it at the top)

Relevant background:

As much context as is helpful – it may help the delegatee to prioritise, get a sense of tone, be aware of any pitfalls or tricky history that they might need to negotiate.

Delegator’s intention (what you’re trying to achieve):

This provides a framework for navigating unforeseen issues without asking you every time. If the delegatee is expert, it may also enable them to advise you on a better path for achieving your goal.

Motivating sentence:

Explaining why this task is important. Who does it help? What difference will it make?

The Spec:

What’s the end product? Any standards (i.e. minimum quality or compulsory qualities) that cannot safely be taken for granted (e.g. from an established working relationship or clear industry standards) should be listed here.

Process Guidance and Resources:

What expectations do you have about how the task will be done? List steps along the way. What resources are necessary or available to help?
Which people are should be consulted?

In an established relationship, or when working with an expert, this may be unnecessary.


  • Confirm receipt of task by:
  • Deadline for asking questions of clarification:
  • Progress review:
  • Completion date:

Questions for the delegatee to answer before starting the task (and certainly before the deadline for clarifying questions):

  • Is the task clear? If not, it is your responsibility to ask questions until it is.
  • Do you have any problems with it or better ideas?
  • Do you have what you need? If not, what else do you need?
  • Is the timing realistic? State any additional conditions (e.g. I can do this as long as you don’t suddenly ask me to do X on Friday morning).
  • Will you commit to getting it done?

What have I missed?

I'd love to hear your thoughts and recommended resources...