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That's Life

As a career professional, volunteer, mom, wife, and friend, I focus on the positive aspects of life, even when the road is rough getting there. Life is funny. How you treat others, how you handle situations, and how you live each day is your responsibility ... so are the outcomes.

Project Management - Holding The Team Accountable

No matter what project team you lead, it is imperative to hold all team members accountable for their actions and non-actions. Whether they are under your management or are the subordinates of others, their role responsibilities are equally important in guaranteeing the successful and on time deliverables for a project. My career has exposed me to a variety of accountability tools. I continue to use those producing the most positive, effective results not just for the project, yet also for my team. In addition to using these methods, I do not allow “slacking off” or getting someone to do the work for them. I consider a project commitment an agreed upon contract to perform to the communicated expectations.

With any assignment, there needs to be an established agreement between the project manager and the individual targeted to carry out the task. It will eliminate the, “I did not sign up for that” mentality. When a person has a different manager, it is a courtesy to acquire their buy-in before asking one of their employees to be on a project. Having them involved provides an additional level of accountability and allocates visibility of additional workflow to consider. Once the team is established and before the project begins, an expectations meeting should be held to introduce the team, define each person’s role, provide key milestones, and specify deliverable dates for internal and customer use. When discussing these points, it is also beneficial to incorporate the skills associated with the tasks, which subliminally classifies the efforts involved to finish each part. Using this tactic will not lead on to who you feel the experts are, yet sets precedence to all for the necessary work ethic. The meeting should also include open discussions whereby responsibility and due date clarifications can be received. When the team leaves the meeting, they should feel confident in their appointment, be ready to move forward, and have a well-defined contact list for further questions and change management needs.

As a project manager’s follow up to these kick-offs, meeting minutes should be drawn up, reviewed for accuracy, and emailed to the project team with their managers copied. Inclusive should be a clause stating, “After review of the attached project kick-off meeting minutes, please acknowledge (with reply to all) you have read, understand your role, are committed to the date specified deliverables, and are clear who the project contact persons are.” The reply provides substance to the continuous follow up, which will take place throughout the project. Project managers exceling in performance follow up portray themselves confidently and as an authority, yet do not smother the team with micro-management. Accountability means something when individuals are allowed to own the process they have been assigned. Leveraging it stems from giving them the solid instructions on how, how often, and to whom they should provide their status updates. Feedback on the reports is a crucial part for all status updates. Acknowledging the good and the needs improvement (not bad) will help further promote collaboration.

No PM wants their project and / or team to fail. Winning teams are built through properly communicated expectations with realistic goals and boundaries. There must be consistency in performance and status follow-ups giving commendations for a job well-done. In turn, recommendations for improvement with constructive criticism should be offered and discussed in person. Remember to involve the individual’s manager. Lastly, do not be a micro-manager. The employees selected for the project are experts and / or have proven abilities for completing their work as expected. Allow them to do their job and provide guidance needed to keep them focused, on time, on track, and a team player.

Resources
Phillips, Joseph. (2010). IT Project Management, On Track From Start to Finish. United States
of America: The McGraw Hill Companies.

JD. (2010). Ten Ways to Hold People Accountable. Retrieved from
http://sourcesofinsight.com/10-ways-to-hold-people-accountable/

Retrieved from http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/holding-people-accountable-
when-they-dont-report-t.seriesId-246653.html

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