Project Smart ~ Exploring trends and developments in project management today

Calendar icon
Adobe PDF icon

Ensuring Accountability on Your Projects - Part 1

~ By Brad Egeland

Team communication concept

As project manager, we have many hats to wear. I don't think anyone will dispute that fact. We are decision makers, deadline enforcers, meeting facilitators, status reporters, cat herders (at least it feels like it sometimes), conflict resolvers, resource managers, customer service representatives, negotiators, mentors, and then one final hat that says "everything else!"

What I'd like to discuss in this article is the way we must serve the project and everyone working on it well, by ensuring that everyone remains accountable for their responsibilities to us and to the project. There are several different roles and/or groups of individuals who are included in those that are responsible for the project's overall success - and it's these individuals who we must ensure accountability from. I'd like to look at each of these groups separately and discuss how we work to ensure their accountability both for their responsibilities and for the overall success of the project. I also look forward to our readers' feedback on any other areas of accountability they deem critical that I may have missed…as well as our readers' own strategies for ensuring accountability from these important project resources and stakeholders.

The Project Team

The most common enforcement of accountability for any project manager will always be among his own project team members. That's usually where more than 90% of the project schedule tasks are assigned as these talented individuals are the ones tasked with truly getting the project solution ready for deployment. But often these individuals are assigned to your project in a matrix environment and may be assigned to two or three other projects at the same time. How do you keep them focused on your project and keep them accountable to your tasks? The key for me is two things…

Conduct weekly team meetings. By scheduling weekly internal team meetings with your project team, you are serving two very important purposes. First, you are getting up to date information every week for your project status report and project schedule that you then revise and give to the project customer in advance of the formal project status call. Second, you are forcing your team members to be ready and accountable to you every week for the tasks that they have been assigned. Every week they know you're expecting an accurate update on task statuses…there's really no way for them to avoid that accountability.

Rely on team members to present during customer status calls. Nothing keeps a project team member focused, on task and up to date like forcing them to give their latest and greatest status on their big tasks straight to the project customer during a formal weekly status call. I've always found this to be one of the best ways to keep my team moving forward, making progress on their assigned tasks, and staying accountable and up to date for the success of the project.

The Customer

I realise that the dream of many project managers and project teams is less oversight and involvement from the project customer. And when you're dealing with a customer who is questioning everything you do, and micro-managing you and your team that is probably true. I've had my share of customers who I wish would just go hide under a rock for a while so that my team and I could get some real work done. However, in general, the most success on projects is realised when the customer is fully engaged and involved on at least a weekly - if not day-to-day - basis. Why? Because they are needed for quick information, decision-making, requirements clarification, and information dissemination.

How do you keep the customer engaged? For me, it's two-fold - always schedule weekly status meetings with them and never cancel so they don't get in the habit of giving that time away to something else AND keep assigning some project tasks to them - even if you have to make up some small tasks to give them. That way they are always accountable to you to report progress on the weekly status call. Make their input a regular discussion point on the status report and agenda so as you're running through the topics they know they'll be expected to report. Works every time.

So far we've examined the need to keep our project team and customer engaged and accountable for their tasks and time…as well as ways to help ensure that accountability. In Part 2, we will discuss two more entities: the end users and other stakeholders, and our own executive management team members.


Comments (1)

Topic: Ensuring Accountability on Your Projects - Part 1
5/5 (1)
Gravatar
Full StarFull StarFull StarFull StarFull Star
27th May 2014 8:52pm
Duncan Haughey (London) says...
Thanks Brad, great article.

I like your idea of asking team members to present at customer status calls. It certainly does focus the mind if you've got to go in front of the customer. Sometimes team members can become a little detached and lose momentum, so this will help.

Add a comment



(never displayed)



 
2000
Enter the fifth word of this sentence.
Notify me of new comments via email.
Remember my form inputs on this computer.

Top 10 Qualities of an Excellent Manager

The word excellent on a virtual interface with a businessman standing behind it

What are the most important qualities of an excellent manager that allows them to tap into talents and resources in order to support and bring out the best in others.

The Mythical 50% Resource

Red blocks with the percent sign on a white background

Most managers of software development projects have had an encounter with a resource who is committed to their project some percentage of the time.

Break Your PMP Studies Into Small Pieces

A mature student concentrating on her studies

Taking the PMP exam is one of the biggest steps you'll take in your career as a Project Manager. With careful planning you can pass with a minimum of stress.

But What is Best for the Customer?

Four business people's hands holding puzzle pieces

Ideally our project management methodology in a box process works perfectly for everyone. But clients come in all types and sizes and one size doesn't fit all.

PROJECT SMART is the project management resource that helps managers at all levels improve their performance. We provide an important knowledge base for those involved in managing projects of all kinds. With weekly exclusive updates, we keep you in touch with the latest project management thinking.

WE ARE CONNECTED ~ Follow us on social media to get regular updates and opinion on what's happening in the world of project management.


Latest Comments

Christee commented on…
The Role of the Project Manager
- Wed 6 June 7:33am

Jennifer commented on…
Introduction to Project Management
- Tue 22 May 3:51pm

Kelsey commented on…
How to Create a Gantt Chart Using Microsoft Excel
- Wed 9 May 3:41pm

Latest tweets

General Project Management • Project Management Software/Program https://t.co/P0i0pHFnK4 about 1 month ago

General Project Management • Re: Identification System for Project Management Methodology https://t.co/NFpZ4re9ix about 1 month ago

General Project Management • Re: Project Management Interview With Presentation https://t.co/UEmX0YxHLq about 1 month ago