Project team member accountability

In Project management on September 18, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Okay, so you are a project manager. This means that you rely on achieving outcomes through others. Some project managers including me at times, have slipped into the dark hole of stepping in to be the knight in shining armour to complete a piece of work, and save the day. This is the wrong thing to do on so many fronts.

Let us talk about accountability – if you save the day once the expectation is that you will always be there to save the day and the people on your project team do not really need to do the work for which they are responsible.

It grates me to no end when we go through a planning session and we come to an agreement with project team members that they will complete a piece of work within a set timeframe. With some team members a pattern forms over time – not only do they miss the delivery date, they do not let any one know about this. Sometimes they do not even start the piece of work before the due date.

Some could say that it is the role of the project manager to follow up with all project team members to make sure that they know what they need to do and to ensure that they are on track (or not) with delivery. In small teams, this is possible although I am not sure how this works when you are working on team that are greater than 30 in size. Also, what ever happened to personal responsibility and accountability?

So what to do? I have three initial thoughts:

  • Planning: Send more time planning tasks so that project team members better understand their work both in the context of the project and in relation to their ‘business as usual’ demands.
  • Communication: Allocate more time each week to talk with project team members that are due to complete deliverables within the next two weeks.
  • Visibility: Record and publish project team member performance; that is, make it visible for the project and the relevant managers who is performing and who is not. I am not sure how to ‘publish’ this information for the appropriate people to see just yet, but I am working on it.

Let me know if you have done anything similar or have alternate approaches to ensure accountability.


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