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It is a hackneyed piece of advice but, clear communication in outsourcing is key. It is probably the most important part of taking on a Virtual Assistant in your business as it sets outsourcing up for failure if not done correctly. In this blog post, we are going to dissect one of the key areas of outsourcing – task allocation.

You’re probably familiar with the SMART goal-setting model which can be applied to task allocation too. Adding to your arsenal of effective communication, structuring task allocation will foster a productive working arrangement. Applying this model to task allocation will help you convey your expectations and the preferred outcome you wish to achieve.

Specific:

Vagueness in task allocation is the enemy. Your VA should know what is expected of her to deliver work in line with the standard you require. Task allocation should include clear instructions regarding the scope of work. The complexity or detail will depend on the size of the task; however, any information should be specific.

Measurable:

Peter Drucker has been quoted saying “what’s measured improves”. This is true for all aspects of a business. You wouldn’t eyeball your desired profit margins – you will do the math. The same goes for task allocation. Set measurable outcomes or deliverables in place to track the progress, completion, success or failure of a task. If it is a larger task, set a few smaller measurable increments.

Accurate:

Ask yourself: is the task scope or description an accurate reflection of your expectations and what you’d like to achieve? Accurately conveying task information not only helps the VA to understand exactly what the required outcome is, but it also minimises mistakes along the way that cause work to be redone or delayed.

Realistic:

Many factors play a role when it comes to realistic task allocation – you need to determine their relevance and spare them some thought. Weigh up how achievable or realistic the task is given certain applicable constraints such as location, deadline, available resources or budget.

Time-based:

Make sure that your task has a definite deadline or time-based milestones that the VA can work toward. Not only will she be more productive, but considering time constraints allows for effective scheduling and planning on both sides.

At its core, SMART task allocation once again boils down to open and effective communication. By structuring tasks the SMART way, you are freeing up more time for doing what you love while having to deal with fewer mistakes and less miscommunication.