Start delegating the moment you have the resources. Don’t hang on to tasks that someone else can do. You need to be driving the strategy and direction of your company and not getting bogged down in the detail.

I coded the original Clear Books accounting engine and it took me three and a half years to relinquish my development duties. Mistake.

I totally micromanaged the code base. Why? I was scared other developers would get things wrong, I didn’t believe others could get things fixed if things did go wrong and I believed I could ship changes faster than anyone else.

Micromanagement manifested itself in giving new developers side or non-core projects to work on. i.e. developing things that were not a priority.

I was hanging on to ownership of core functionality like VAT (sales tax) returns as I didn’t want cock ups with customers’ data on important issues. Then I had an epiphany. When we reach 100 employees I can’t still be coding the VAT return. At some stage another developer is going to have to learn how this works.

So I stopped. I said, “I’m not coding any more”. I will help guide and explain where needed, but you lot are going to have to learn what is going on here.

And guess what? Developers at Clear Books are smart. They learned quickly and now take care of the entire code base.

Delegation is about having faith in your team to step up to new challenges.

Posted by Tim Fouracre

Tim founded Clear Books in 2008. Like many small business owners he worked from home for 15 months to get his startup off the ground. Today Tim enjoys helping Clear Books, its customers and its growing team innovate and achieve. Tim did his GCE O Levels in Ghana.