Isn't it amazing when a project is executed flawlessly - everything is delivered on-time and on-budget, project team members collaborate and provide senior leadership with the visibility they need when they want it? Oh wait, this never happens. At the heart of the problem is the lack of accountability.
According to Henry Browning at the Center for Creative Leadership, "accountability is having a sense of ownership for the task and the willingness to face the consequences that come with success or failure." Many believe accountability is inherited, but in reality, it is something learned. Accountability is created when the environment is designed for accountability. When accountability is not present, you'll only get a few who do great work, at least until they decide not to. You'll also get sub-par results, and the herding cats mentality takes effect where someone has to chase people down for status updates.
In order to prevent a lack of accountability in your projects, you’ll want to create purposeful accountability across your project or organization, which can be extremely difficult. However, TrueNxus ensures that accountability flourishes in project management throughout your entire organization. Here's how TrueNxus helps create a project management environment where accountability flourishes, resulting in increased productivity, transparency, and collaboration across your organization.
1. Initiate a project
Begin to ensure accountability by identifying the project owners, including the business owner and project manager, and the executive sponsor at the very start of the project. Additionally, add any teams, and individual members or guests that will be needed to plan and execute the project successfully.
2. Define a project charter
Next, in order to prevent a lack of accountability, you should define the project charter. Do this right away so that you can align all stakeholders at the very beginning. You can do an initial draft yourself and review with the project team, or build it together through a working session. Either way, collaborate from the very beginning and incorporate feedback from the whole team. If you've never done a project charter before, it is a short document that outlines the following:
- Cadence: how often regularly scheduled project meetings will occur (daily, bi-weekly, weekly, semi-weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.).
- Objectives: are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely project goals.
- Benefits: is the intended value or outcomes the project plans to achieve.
- Risks: are any uncertain events or conditions that, if they occur, would affect the project objectives.
3. Create a project plan
After the project has been created and the charter has been defined, you can further prevent a lack of accountability by creating a project plan. However, don't worry if you and your team don't have full foresight into how the layout should look. The project plan becomes living and breathing and is continually updated throughout the life of the project.
Like the charter, you can either start this yourself and then get feedback from the whole project team or conduct a working session to build it out together. Either way, make sure you incorporate feedback and get buy-in from every stakeholder. A project plan is essential to ensure accountability and collaboration. Below are some additional ways you and your team can ensure your project prevents a lack of accountability problem.
- Create groups for the project’s tasks. While tasks are the basic building blocks for any project plan, it is typically an efficiency booster to create logical groupings for sets of tasks. Groups can be workstreams, sprints, or any consistent way to categorize a set of tasks.
- Create tasks, assign owners, and estimate start dates and due dates. Work directly with the project team to create tasks and assign the right person for the job. Alternatively, what works even better is to empower your project team to build out their respective duties. Whether you or the project team build out the tasks, the timing, start date, and due date should be documented. If you or your project team do not know the start date, leave it blank. The idea is to build out an initial plan of all tasks with task owners and timing. Then, the team will need to step back and see how the project has evolved and adjust accordingly.
- Break work up into sub-tasks. Sometimes a task is large enough that it makes more sense to break it down into smaller, more manageable activities. Breaking tasks down into sub-tasks also allows the project team to distribute work more effectively. For example, if a task requires multiple work efforts from numerous stakeholders, it's better to break the task down into sub-tasks.
- Identify and document dependencies. Almost always, project plans have tasks that have dependencies on other tasks. A dependency is when a task cannot be completed before another task being completed. Typically, the dependent task can be started, but it cannot be fully completed until the dependency is completed. By identifying these linkages, full visibility into both downstream and upstream impacts is provided, resulting in real accountability. Project team members can now hold one another accountable as they can be notified when a dependent task due date or status changes.
4. Monitor progress with project status reports
Finally, once the project plan is created, leverage the cadence defined in the charter and stand up a recurring status update meeting where you and the entire team will review the project status report. We at TrueNxus advise a weekly schedule at a minimum, if not a short daily stand-up. The cadence depends on the type of project. In these meetings, the entire project team comes together to review progress to-date, solution roadblocks, and understand the plan.
Establishing a recurring meeting to monitor and report progress instills accountability amongst each project team member by creating transparency and ensuring the team is collaborating to move the needle.
By leveraging TrueNxus's automated reporting, your organization can monitor and review progress at any time. The automation removes the frustration felt by project owners and project managers of herding cats to get a consolidated status report. Additionally, it removes the distractions felt by project team members continually being asked for status updates by multiple stakeholders. Instead, it allows the project team to truly collaborate and be accountable to one another and focus on what's most important - doing actual work.
Preventing a lack of accountability in projects
In order to prevent a lack of accountability, you’ll want to establish a standard process for initiating, and monitoring and controlling your project. By doing so, you’ll create a project management environment where accountability flourishes. TrueNxus can help. Reach out to our sales team today.