Implementing Project Management to Foster Effective Accountability
Accountability is an essential virtue for both managers overseeing projects and their team members for the successful completion of a project. The focus however remains on team players so that each of them takes ownership of their tasks, whereas the project manager is accountable for the overall completion of the task. In fact, accountability is more than just completing an assignment; it’s ensuring the completeness of a given task/project both in terms of scope and quality of the end result.
Accountability in the workspace, in its most basic sense, means a willingness to accept one’s responsibility . In its true sense, effective accountability should not be forced upon others; it must be a voluntary action.
Accountability in Project Completion
Successful completion of a project involves a great deal of planning, executing, controlling and monitoring. But all these efforts will be in vain if no one in the team is accountable. The question now arises: How to ensure accountability on your project?
There are many ways to implement accountability. And structuring or organizing your project delivery process is one of them. But would you do that? The answer for many is implementing a project management application that not only streamlines the process but also helps managers and leaders get a proper understanding of the available resources and delegate tasks properly.
Managers often overcommit in meetings without verifying if they have the necessary resources to support and accomplish the task. Such practices are dangerous for both the organization and the team, as the latter especially is often held accountable for a commitment on which they had no input in the first place. It is bad for organizations and managers because they can hardly deliver the project on schedule and will find it difficult to keep their team members focused.
With an agile project management tool, organizations and managers can better manage their resources with the correct information and also let team assign tasks to team members, for which the respective members would be accountable. This is the key to improve credibility within the team and among peers as a whole.
In addition, the flow of information is crucial to completing a project successfully. But how to ensure that? Meeting too often will affect the task time and productivity of your team whereas not meeting frequently enough is likely to take accountability away from team leaders/managers and will affect reporting. Project management tools are your saviors here as well.
Most project management tools today allow collaboration where users can chat with team members and clients and share feedback, ideas and documents right from the project dashboard. Using these tools you can schedule project status meetings frequently enough without affecting the productivity of your team members. This also helps to mitigate problems as things are brought to notice in real-time, allowing team members and management to solve issues and bugs as quickly as possible.
Accountability Rules You Need to Follow for Successful Project Management
Just like effective accountability depends largely upon the proper implementation of project management, there are certain accountability rules you need to follow. Typically, there are three rules to follow. These include:
- A Strong Leadership: As a leader you need to clearly establish why you are undertaking the project as well as outline the expectations. Without this, your team members will not be able to see the importance or priority of a task/project. When a leader outlines the purpose and benefits of a specific project, the business value of each feature, as well as the expectations from each member, it helps them establish a commitment to the project, which is key to project success.
- Communicating and Measuring Results: A collaborative environment is a must for communicating and measuring the progress of a project, which is again essential for increasing accountability. It motivates people by recognizing those who are performing at an optimum level. In addition, it helps identifying members who are not performing at the required level and the issues they are facing, so that proper measures can be taken to help them refocus and get back on the right track. The team will have the ability to inspect and adapt which is key to improvement
- Fostering the Culture of Accountability: The third and final rule is to foster a work culture where every member is accountable to the team for his/her action. To achieve this you need to ensure that your team understands the meaning and value of individual and team accountability. You need to make them understand that just meeting timelines and completing tasks is not enough. They are personally obliged to deliver the highest level of quality to ensure the success of the project in the true sense.
Implementing Proper Project Management
As mentioned, you cannot make people accountable for their actions or force them to take ownership. However, you can foster an environment of accountability, leaving no choice for your team members but ensure that your projects run smoothly and profitably.
The following are a few tips to implement proper project management to foster effective accountability:
- Define Roles & Responsibilities
You need to define the team as well as each member’s responsibilities. Everyone must be clear of the role he/she plays towards the successful completion of the given task/project. Give them detailed information about the project scope and deadlines as well as your expectations about the end results.
- Delegate Tasks
Even the most basic project management tools allow you to assign tasks to team members or let the team members organizing themselves. And make sure it is visible to other members of the team. It is not about micro-management; rather such practices motivate a person’s ego by creating general awareness. Everyone knows who is responsible for which task and therefore they will take the initiative and ownership to accomplish them in the best possible way.
- Documentation and Communication
A defined documentation and communication mechanism is essential where the people within the team can communicate freely regarding current project status, updates and issues. Make sure your system updates others automatically so that everyone within the team is notified when someone posts an update.
- Engage Your Client
Make your clients a part of the team and include them in the entire project management process. Of course you can control what information they see if you don’t want them to know everything. But at least allow your clients to see the status and progress of the project, job completion and issue management so that they can share their feedback and demand changes, if required, before things get too late.
Accountability is the best way to eliminate excuses, and project management helps you to achieve that. From assigning tasks to communication, everything is documented by the project management tool you are using. Every team member is notified in real time if someone posts an update or makes changes, leaving no room for them to come up with excuses like they didn’t get the message. However, implementing the right project management tool is critical to fostering accountability, which is the foundation of your overall project success.
About Author: Sebastien Boyer is the product manager of Nutcache, a smart and simple project management tool for all size of businesses with time tracking, invoicing and expenses.