Delegation continuum by Schwarz and Johnstad

On discussion about tasks and goals it is important to define the work and expectations, but it is also very important to define the present decision scope. In my daily business a have already experienced several situations which ended up in a conflict because the decision scope was not communicated. At the end, a task was executed in a proper way, but the result was not useable for the client because an important boundary condition was not satisfied. This may happen if the person which delegates a task already made some decisions and forget or don’t want to communicate these decisions to the task executor.

An effective and clear discussion about tasks and goals should therefore include the decision scope. The following pattern shows the delegation continuum by Schwarz and Johnstad. If you delegate a task you should classify it according to this schema and communicate you expectations and the given decision scope. On the other hand, if you have to execute a task and the client does not define the decision scope you may use this scheme to ask for the according information.

Level I have decided… …and invited you to…
1 nothing to clarify whether something has to be done
2 that something should be done to clarify what should be done
3 what should be done to clarify when, how and who should do it
4 when, how and who should do it to clarify the reasons for my decision
5 everything inform you


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