Activities must have owners who are responsible for completing them. The ResultsManager Edit dialogue lets you assign owners to an activity, so that when a Dashboard map is generated, activities can be listed against their owners.
The Owners text box in the Edit dialogue works in a very similar way to the Contexts box:
Working with Owners
ResultsManager handles owners of activities in two very different ways, selected by an option in the Dashboard Options. First, let's have a little discussion about responsibilities.
Most project management and scheduling tools allow you to assign more than one owner to a task, and will schedule the project assuming that multiple people are working on these shared tasks together. However, this is only sometimes practical in the real world. In many day-to-day cases, shared ownership of a task means that nobody feels they own it, and as a consequence, it just doesn't get done.
An alternative way to manage ownership of tasks is to make a rule that only one person at a time can actually own a task. If they delegate it to someone else, then ownership is temporarily transferred, until it is returned. But at any point in time, there is only one current owner, who is responsible for the task.
ResultsManager can cope with both Shared Ownership and Delegated Ownership scenarios.
If you are comfortable with the idea of multiple owners of an activity, then ResultsManager can interpret a list of activity owners as "all the people responsible" for it. This activity will appear against all their names when displayed in a dashboard. For example, if the activity owners list is "Adam; Bill; Christine", then Adam, Bill and Christine have joint responsibility. To use Shared Ownership, you should disable the "Automatic Delegation" option in the Dashboard Options.
Alternatively, ResultsManager can interpret a list of activity owners as a delegation list, where the first name is the ultimate owner. So the same list ("Adam; Bill; Christine") means that Adam is the original activity owner, and has delegated it to Bill. Bill has then delegated it to Christine. Christine is the current owner of this activity, and Bill is waiting for her to complete it. In turn, Adam is waiting for Bill to complete his part.
Let's take a typical example; during a meeting, Peter's manager (John) asks him to find out when the next shareholder's report is due. He does not know himself, but he knows that Jill (the CFO's secretary) will know. So even from this simple example, we have two levels of delegation and a network of interactions:
So somewhere in his project maps, Peter adds a "Next Action" and selects the Owners as
John; Peter; Jill
When he runs his Daily Actions Dashboard (Power User version), he can see that he is waiting for something from Jill, and he owes a reply to John. If John also runs his dashboard linked to Peter's project map, he will see that he is waiting for a response from Peter, but he won't necessarily see that Peter has sub-delegated it.
To support Delegated Ownership in ResultsManager, the List Picker dialogue allows you to move Owners up and down the list when assigning Owners to an Activity. The Owner at the top is the ultimate recipient, and the name at the bottom is the current owner.
Assigning owners and sorting the Delegation order
The Owners list is the only list in ResultsManager where the order matters - the others are automatically sorted alphabetically.
To use Automatic Delegation in ResultsManager, enable the "Automatic Delegation" option in the Dashboard Options. This enables special inheriting of owners of tasks in your maps. ResultsManager keeps track of activity ownership as it "drills down" through a project, and when a new owner is encountered, they are added as a delegated owner.
For example, if "James" is the owner of a project, then by default all activities in the project will be his responsibility. Somewhere in the project, the owner for task "C" is set to "Charles". ResultsManager derives the owner list "James; Charles" when building the dashboard for this project, so that the current owner is Charles, but James is waiting for him to complete it. There are filters in the Dashboard that will display who is waiting for what from whom.
Working with other kinds of participant
Sometimes, you need to reference other people who are connected with an action, but don't have any direct responsibility for completing it. For example, you might need to call someone about something you are doing, or you might want to mention something to someone the next time you meet with them. But you are not delegating anything to them, nor they to you, nor do you expect them to take any action.
There are two solutions: use their name as a Context, or use their name as a Partner.
Using their name in the Context field will mean that activities associated with this person will appear listed with the other Contexts you may be using, such as "@Office" or "@Phone". A context of "@Kim" is useful for collecting together things for your next call with Kim.
The disadvantage with using a person's name as a Context is that this does not automatically group together everything that may connect you with this person. If they also owed you a couple of actions, you would not see these under the same Context (unless you took the trouble to also assign their name as a Context in activities where they owed it to you).
The alternative way to reference people who are indirectly involved is to identify them as a Partner in this activity. This is done by including a "@" character in their name (either at the start or end) when using it in the Owners list. For example, in the list of Owners "Jim; @Pete; Jane", Pete is referenced as a Partner, and Jim and Jane have responsibilities for this activity (Jim has delegated it to Jane). Several things happen when you identify someone as a Partner:
Summary of roles
How ResultsManager defines people's roles
People with executive responsibility for completing actions are the Activity Manager (who delegates it to an Activity Provider), the Activity Provider (who is responsible for delivering it to their Activity Manager), and the Activity Owner, who is the person currently responsible for completing it.
There is only ever one Activity Owner. If the activity has not been delegated, then there are no managers or providers.
In many cases, the Activity Provider and the Activity Owner are the same person, if the activity has only been delegated once. If it has been delegated several times, there may be further managers & providers in the chain.
Grouped together, the Manager, Provider and Activity Owner are known as Owners. By contrast, a Partner is someone who does not have any executive responsibilities with this activity.
Grouped together, Owners and Partners are known as Parties to this activity. You will only need to know this term if you create your own Dashboard templates and use the filters to find certain kinds of people in your dashboard maps.
Valid names for parties to an activity
The texts "Y" and "N" cannot be used for owner or partner names, as these are reserved for filtering in ResultsManager dashboards.