This guidance explains the One-Third Planning Rule: when assessing and assigning work to your team, never take more than 1/3 of the available time to do so.

Mark's brother once sent him a joke memo, about all the ways managers DON'T motivate their teams. One of the items was, "always wait until 5 o'clock to give me important stuff to do - I like surprises right before I go home." "In all humor, truth," unfortunately. Lots of bosses are inconsiderate when thinking about how much time they need to think about something versus how much time their directs need to actually DO something.

Your team wants to know NOW when you get a requirement or job or project or new tasking that they're going to be involved in. They do NOT want you to wait one second longer than you have to. Surely not until they're about to go home!

But wait. You want some time to think things through, right? You don't want to assign something and discover an hour's worth of your thought would have saved 50 of their man-hours. So, it makes sense to spend time to get things right, think through the issues, risks, etc.

Who's right?

Both are ... and the way to manage your responsibility is to follow the One-Third Planning Rule.

This Cast Answers These Questions

  • What is the 1/3 planning rule?
  • Can I use my entire 1/3rd?
  • How do I use warning orders?

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