Task Management Tool: 6 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Task

There's a famous saying, "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing well."  In today's workplace, this can equate to...This task needs to be done, and it is being assigned to you; we expect you to bring your best effort and strive for a successful result.

The first (and possibly most important) step in getting something done correctly is to gain clarity on what it is you're agreeing to do.  That's the purpose of this worksheet!

Use these questions to set the stage for success -- whether you are the one assigning a task, or the one receiving a task assignment.  

6 Questions to Ask Before You Start a Task

The following questions can help you (or someone to whom you assign tasks) explore and understand the scope and requirements for a project.They provide a great guideline for making sure misunderstandings and missteps are avoided.


1. What is the task’s goal or outcome?

Capture in clear, concise terms what it is you are agreeing to deliver. Ask as many questions as needed to make sure you understand what others are expecting.


2. What actions, assistance or resources are required?

Identify upfront the specific actions or steps that will be involved in completing the task.  As you list these actions/steps, think about where you might need help or additional resources.

3. When is it due, overall? Are there due dates for various steps?

Seek clarification on the final deadline and make sure you’re comfortable committing to it.  Breaking the project into steps and assigning each step a due date can help you stay on track.

4. How will it affect my other work/projects?

Make sure you are not taking on too much at once.  If need be, consult with your boss or team to reprioritize other projects so you can meet this task’s deadline without compromising the quality of your work or your health.

5. What obstacles might occur that I should plan for?

Think back on recent projects.  What types of things come up that cause delays or problems? How might these things be prevented this time?  What else might cause a setback?  How will you handle it?


6. What authority do I have to complete this task?

Ensure that you know what you are and are not authorized to do in terms of spending money, assigning work to other employees/departments, using company resources, etc.

This task management training worksheet has been excerpted from the Leader’s Guide for A Leader’s Guide to Delegating.To help people understand why getting things done right is so important, see Media Partners' popular meeting opener video, Is Good Enough?