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9 Examples of Commitment Management

 , May 03, 2020
Commitment management is the practice of committing to high value work while avoiding overcommitting or committing to low value work. The following are the basics of commitment management.

Saying No

The clearest way to reject low value work is to directly say no. This often isn't possible when dealing with people who have authority to assign you work. Directly saying "no" can also be problematic in a culture where everyone is expected to take a positive approach to communication.

Sidelining

Sidelining is the process of reducing the relevance of something. For example, if someone comes up with an unintelligent idea for work that you should do, arguing about it may give the idea validity. In some cases, it is possible to dismiss the idea by ignoring it.

Backlog

In practice, most commitments are managed with a system of prioritization whereby a large number of requests are accepted in a backlog. Only those items that are prioritized become projects, requirements and action items. This requires careful communication of current priorities. If someone is pushing you to do something, put it on the backlog but make clear that it isn't a current work item. In practice, things may stay on this list forever or until people lose interest and it can be dropped. This is perfectly healthy as it doesn't require debate about rejecting ideas but allows you to always be working on your best opportunities. Never put a date to a backlog item that isn't a current priority.

Progress Report

Carefully report your current commitments and their status on a weekly basis. This report can explicitly state what you're not doing with sections titled "Out of Scope" and "Backlog."

Political Capital

Building relationships and delivering value to the leaders of an organization can create political capital that can be spent to sideline low value work.

Self-Direction

Self-direction is the process of shaping your own goals, objectives and action items. This often requires managing up. The best way to avoid commitment to pointless action items is to be working on high-visibility goals that are critical to your organization.

Productivity

Those who gain a reputation for productivity and high quality work will not be questioned for pushing off action items. If you are perceived as lazy or incompetent, people will push action items on you more aggressively.

Creative Tension

Creative tension is disagreement that remains civil. It is often necessary to challenge ideas and assumptions in order to avoid poorly considered action items. This requires personal resilience, influencing skills and critical thinking.

Managing Expectations

Managing expectations is the process of communicating to avoid the expectation that you are doing things that you have never committed to do. It is very common for stakeholders to simply assume that you are working on something that they have casually mentioned. It is also common for stakeholders to imagine that your action items include things that they do not include. Managing expectations is a process of communication whereby you regularly state what is currently out-of-scope.

Commitment Management

This is the complete list of articles we have written about commitment management.
Action Items
Backlog
Creative Tension
Influencing
Managing Up
Out Of Scope
Personal Resilience
Prioritization
Productivity
Self Direction
Sidelining
Stakeholders
Time Management
Work Quality
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Managing Expectations

Managing the risk of inaccurate assumptions.

Time Management

A comprehensive guide to time management techniques.

Attention Span

The definition of attention span with examples.

Intrinsic Motivation

The definition of motivation with examples.

Effort

The definition of effort with examples.

Proactive

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Busy Work

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Persistence

The definition of persistence with examples.

Procrastination

The common causes of procrastination.

Influencing

An overview of influencing with a bunch of examples.

Political Polarization

The definition of political polarization with a list of its basic characteristics.

Explanation

An overview of different types of explanation with examples.

Weaknesses Interview

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Audience

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Interpersonal Skills

A list of common interpersonal skills.

Informal Authority

The definition of informal authority with examples.

Dumbing Down

The definition of dumbing down with examples.

Flattery

The definition of flattery with examples.

Mood

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